Down on the Allotment

Matron grows vegetables and fruit in a Hampshire garden. I've been growing veggies since I was knee high to a grasshopper. Some traditional varieties and old favourites as well as new ideas. I share my garden with my allotment assistant Daisy the Labrador. On Twitter as @MatronsVeggies

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Happy Diamond Jubilee Weekend

 It is going to be an eventful weekend in Matron's environs.  It has started off very well with a little gift bought from Bettys in Harrogate.  If you are ever 'up North' you could do a lot worse than stop at Bettys tea rooms for a cup of tea and a 'fat rascal'
Just look at these tasty little hand made Corgis !!
I'm just putting the finishing touches to Leo's fancy dress outfit for our local street party this weekend!  Matron has also been invited to take part in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant on Sunday.  I am thrilled to have been asked to represent Battersea Dogs and Cats home by standing on Battersea Bridge to wave to the Queen as she sails past! 
Whatever you are doing, and wherever you are doing it... have fun!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Sunday Lunch

I had a leg of lamb in the oven for Sunday lunch yesterday, so I just popped down the end of the garden to pick the veggies.
 One of my favourite veggies is this Swiss Chard, Rainbow Lights.  A mixture of different coloured leaves, it stays good right over the coldest of Winters and then starts growing with a vengeance in Spring. I think I prefer it to spinach!
The stalks are tender and can be chopped up with the leaves, or eaten on their own cooked like celery.


And there was just one more Winter Squash left in storage.  I just adore this Squash Delicata. Also known as the Sweet Potato Squash, it has lovely firm, sweet flesh. What a fantastic keeper!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Welcome to Matron's Flower Show

 While the other flower show has started in London this week, I thought I'd give you a whirlwind tour of Matron's flowers.
 Often overlooked because the look downwards, these tomato flowers are smiling away in the greenhouse right now.
 Meanwhile the Purple Sprouting Broccoli is just starting to turn from purple to yellow.
 and the bees just adore these little yellow flowers. I always leave a couple of broccoli plants to go to flower for just a few weeks' more.
 Just close up, these Broad Bean flowers are amazing.
 These Crimson Flowered Broad beans could be grown for their flowers alone, they are stunning!
 My strawberries are just absolutely covered in flowers this year.  Looks like it will be a good crop.
These chive flowers are just simply beautiful. The bees adore these too! In fact, the bees seem to prefer vegetable flowers over those other ones at the other place, somewhere in London!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Springing Up

 After a brief weekend of sunshine, everything is back to rain and clouds today. Not that these Pot Leeks 'Cairngorm' mind one little bit.
 It is said that leeks can take any amount of food and water that you give them.  I've not grown pot leeks before, I'm looking to find out what they can do. Already you can see that the shafts are much thicker than you would expect from a blanch leek.
 I am planting my sweetcorn in small batches about a month at a time.  These are some of the new breed of ultra sweet and tender sweetcorn. I thought I'd try a variety Lapwing this year. Apparently you can eat them raw and they are as sweet as apples. I wonder?
 These beautiful little chilli plants are coming along nicely. Still in the greenhouse with some protection these Black Pearl Chilli are doing well.
 On the subject of Chilli plants, I managed to overwinter one of my Bishop's Kiss chilli plants from last year. Kept in a cool room with as much light as possible I managed to keep these alive. Chilli plants are apparently perennial if you can get them through the Winter. This will be a first for me if I manage some chillis this year!
 I potted up some of my tomato plants inside the greenhouse. Varieties this year are Golden Jubilee, Sungella, Sungold, Chocolate Cherry and a beefsteak tomato variety that I found in Quebec, Canada a couple of years ago. A cold climate beefsteak tomato! I just called it Quebec.
 Each year I try to grow an old or lesser known variety of beans.  I obtained these Dog Beans a few years ago from a fellow blogger. I grew them successfully and it is time to plant the remaining seeds and keep the variety going.  A dwarf (bush) bean which is green in colour.  If I have some spares at the end of the season I shall have another giveaway!
And even though I did not plant any Crimson Flowered Broad beans this year, a couple of overwintered seeds left in the soil from last year have germinated among my Aquadulce Claudia. What a stunning flower!

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Warmth and Wet

 Well the rain has eased a little bit, but the soil is still completely sodden.  I grow my veggies on London Clay, so any digging or even walking on soil is an extremely sticky and muddy affair.  Still, some of my veggies are just loving it.  (I've just discovered the photo size button on this new look Blogger!)

 These Broad Beans Aquadulce Claudia have been shooting up given all this warmth and rain in the last few weeks.  They certainly need tying up as soon as I can manage it, but treading all over this wet, London clay soil might do more damage than good.
 Meanwhile back to the Purple Sprouting Broccoli, this is in full production at the moment.  The stems are tender and lovely.  In a couple of weeks the stems might be a bit more woody and quite spindly.  When you pick the main stem, then smaller side shoots emerge from the plant and just get smaller and smaller.
 The pesky Wood Pigeons have been walking around my patch and nibbling the PSB leaves.  I wish Leo would do something about it, but until he has his stitches out I am loathe to send him out on a 'hunt to kill' mission.
 Anyway, it's not all bad out there.  Raindrops on fresh garden veggies are stunning.
 You don't get to see this if you buy your veggies in a sweaty plastic bag!
And even more excitement! I took a trip to Ealing Riding Stables yesterday where you can load up with as much hot, fresh horse manure as you like!  It has to mature and compost down for a while, but this stuff is steaming!  It goes like a rocket if you mix it with freshly mown grass clippings! Light the blue touchpaper and stand well back!