Thursday 22 September 2011

unexpected Hazelnuts!

At the back of our allotment is a small tree which is a good perch for the local birds. The other day, after a early autumn gale I noticed a hazelnut on the ground, just assumed it has been blown by the wind into the allotment. A day or two after I was in the allotment with one of my daughters, she found another one and we looked up and noticed that the tree had some hazelnuts! Now, having had the allotment over 5 years and the tree being there for all of that time it was quite a pleasant surprise! It will also be a time saver as I have been going up to a local wood (about a mile away) to forage for them.

Anyway, we roasted them in their shells and they are pretty good!
Hope next year we get lots as the tree matures!

apples and more apples....

Just stored away one minarette tree worth of apples - at least 70 in all - not bad for a 4 year old tree! We have three minarette apple trees, the allotments do not allow any large ones, although that doesn't seem to have stopped them growing in some allotments! I think it's the problem of removing them if someone gives up, but one allotment has been cleared recently and they left the two big apple trees, so maybe not.

Anyway, here's one of the trees, this one and the one next to it seem to be a bit later than the one by the fence, and so some of these aren't quite ready yet, but we've tried one which came off easily and it was alright.

So, I have just spent the evening stroring apples. I need to get some more boxes from the supermarket, I went in one in north Leeds the other day and the assistant looked at me a bit blank when I asked for apple trays and boxes, and went off to get someone else! Happily he did know what I was on about and so I got a big box and some of those dimply cardboard trays. Needs some more though.

We should have apples until Christmas all being well, I hope I am storing them correctly, I have left gaps for the air to flow round the apples and not packed them too tightly. They are in our porch where we also store the potatoes and so they should be ok, it's not too cold in that corner.

Tuesday 20 September 2011

potato packing

We have a lot of potatoes! Every year, assuming they don't get blight, we have our own potatoes until well into the New Year, sometimes until March. In fact this year we only bought one sack of potatoes (from a farm on the Yorkshire Wolds near Fridaythorpe) to last us until we had our own from July!

In order to keep our potatoes in store successfully, I take quite a bit of care with the packing.

First, I allow the potatoes to dry a bit on the soil as I dig them up.

 Then, when I get them back to the house I clean them up with a old teatowel, and sort out any that won't store (there's always one or two that end up chipped with the fork no matter how careful you are, and there's a few with holes in - red ones don't get as many holes as white ones in our allotment).

Then, as you can see below, I put them in cardboard boxes, and separate them from each other with cardboard dividers

Then of course cover them up with cardboard and store them in a cool dry place. And number the boxes so you know which to use first!

Saturday 10 September 2011

bird life in the allotment

The allotments are a very good area for bird life, you have the common species and a few different ones

Seen over past few days

2 Wrens - one juvenile - they make a lot of noise for such a small bird
A robin that thinks that I ought not be in his territory!
A chiffchaff somewhere - heard not seen, on migration
2 Long-tailed Tits,
Blue Tit
Coal Tit
Around also Woodpigeons, jackdaws, swallows, goldfinches

Over past few years we have had flyovers from a heron (used to be regular morning and night to and from feeding ground), red kite (one of a number released from Harewood a few years ago), cuckoo, curlew, sparrowhawk, ducks, lapwings among others. Linnets and thrushes visit at various times.

allotment report

Bit of a while since I reported on the allotment, that's mainly because it been a busy time there!

8 trays of potatoes harvested for storing, plus a whole box full of ones that won't be good for storing - the chipped ones and ones with holes in etc. Still over a third of the patch to go!

Far too many runner beans!

Far too many courgettes!

Apples not quite ready yet, but damsons all picked and frozen for later jam making

Beetroot really slow this yet - will stick to Boltardy next year rather than the italian striped ones - Chioggia I think they were or something sounding like that.

Peas - first lot dying off now, but next lot coming along fine.