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

Friday, October 31, 2014

Record Breakers!

 Now here's something you don't expect to see on a Halloween blog post!  There are still a few Gardeners Delight tomatoes ripening in my greenhouse. This very mild weather has kept some late crops growing. In London today it was a record breaking 23degrees!  (that's a whopping 73degrees in old money)
 My parsley is just amazing at the moment.  It should survive the Winter in some form or another, I will give it some protection.. but I am going to harvest lots of it and chop it for the freezer.
 Meanwhile these Oca plants are enjoying the long season.  I am going to keep these going as long as I can - I understand that it is this time of year when the tubers put on most growth.
 The most amazing surprise with this warm weather is that on 31st October, my courgettes are still producing more and more each day.
 I've kept them watered during this warm weather, so instead of having a Haloween pumpkin this year.........
I bring you the very first Halloween courgette!!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Keep on Picking!

The weather is still very mild here in Hillingdon, London.   I left my climbing courgette Black Forest only a few days since the last picking and there are still more!!!  Making the most of every one because soon it will all be over for another year!  Happy Picking!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Autumn Sunshine

 The warmest September on record this year in the UK and there are lots of lovely flowers (vegetable flowers!) out in the sunshine.  Jerusalem Artichokes are related to sunflowers and these lovely flowers put a smile on your face.
 Jerusalem Artichokes so called... from the Italian for sunflower.. Gira Soleil... turn towards the sun.
 My lovely climbing courgette Black Forest is having a great time too, pickings every day at the moment and the honey bees appreciate a late source of pollen and nectar to get them through the Winter.
 I've not grown Oca before, but these lovely little yellow flowers are adored by the bees.
 I'm growing these for as long as possible and apparently they are dug as late as possible until the frost knocks back the foliage.
 Bees also love my Garlic Chives, flowers now turning to seed pods.
and these lovely Sungold tomatoes in the greenhouse are reaching for the sky. If I keep them frost free and a little water they might go on for a while yet.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Late Summer produce

 This amazingly warm late Summer has meant that my courgettes are still producing.
 This time of year I am still watering and feeding the courgette because dry conditions can make the powdery mildew much worse.  Keeping it fed and watered regularly will keep this producing until the first frosts.
 This is a climbing or trailing variety Black Forest.  Always a brilliant do-er for me, but sometimes hard to source.  Well worth it if you can find it.
 I am very disappointed with this new variety of tomato Indigo Rose.  Yes it is really black... but even in full sunshine all day, leaves removed the tomato will not ripen.  Some in the greenhouse have ripened but they have black shoulders only and red bottoms.  Taste is not good either... like eating cotton wool.  Not good.. won't be growing this one again.
 This one is a star!  Golden Jubilee beefsteak tomato is a late season beefsteak and well worth the wait.
 Fantastic shape and colour and very prolific.
And the taste is fantastic too!  This one's a keeper!

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Horseradish Sauce

 I dug a few Horseradish roots yesterday.  Not an easy task, sometimes the roots can go down many feet and it is impossible to remove if you don't want it.  Like many root vegetables they don't do well in my hard London clay.. but all you need is a relatively small amount.
 Scrub and peel the root thoroughly
 Nowadays this is just so easy... my Mother tells me that in the 1930s she had to sit on the kitchen step with a hand grater... and grate the horseradish root.  The pain must have been awful.. think how you feel when you stand over onions when you chop them?  then multiply it by 10.. PHEW!
 We have it much easier now.. if you want to experience some of the pain, then just take a sniff after it is chopped when you take the lid off!
There is absolutely no comparison with the weedy, watery, mild horseradish sauce you buy in jars from the shop.   This is the real McCoy!!   Just add either cream or evaporated milk, a couple of spoons of vinegar and some salt and pepper.