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

Saturday, July 25, 2015

July Harvest

 The greenhouse tomatoes are quite a few weeks ahead of those planted outside.  These Sungold tomatoes are still my favourite.  The taste is the best of any tomato I have ever grown. That is the best reason of all to grow your own fruit and veg.
 My Joe's Long Cayenne chilli are coming along nicely.  I am growing them this year to try to compete in a Guinness World Record for growing the longest chilli.  As yet there is no record, so whoever wins this year gets in the record books!  Worth a try at least!
 Elsewhere on the patch, these Rouge Vif D'Etamps pumpkins are coming along too.  They will ripen to a lovely rich, golden colour just right for making pumpkin pies!
 I have never tried growing melons until this year.  This is a small variety which matures quickly.  This is a Minnesota Midget melon.  Fingers crossed if the weather stays warm that I will be harvesting my first ever melon!
 This is a brand new variety of courgette called Shooting Star.  It is supposed to be the first, ever yellow climbing courgette.  I am not that impressed actually.  The courgettes are thin and tasteless. Not nearly as prolific as my Black Forest climbing courgettes grown in the same conditions in previous years.  Worth trying new things from time to time, but not this one.
My perennial favourite bush courgette is Defender.  Always a good do-er, extremely prolific and goes on for ages!  Just what a girl needs!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Gourmet Delights

 Everything is going crazy on Matron's allotment at the moment. These lovely long days are making the fruit and veggies just grow and grow.  These Dalizia cucumbers in the greenhouse are lovely. Short, pale green cucumbers are delightful to snack on. Thin skinned and very refreshing.
 I am growing extra long varieties of Chilli this year to enter the Guinness Book of Records 'Longest Chilli' competition which is being organised by Sea Spring Seeds.  There is currently no existing record, so whoever grows the longest chilli this year will get the record.  I am growing two varieties; This one is Joe' Long Cayenne and the other one is called Spaghetti.
 The greenhouse tomatoes are a little bit ahead of the outdoor plants.  These Sungold tomatoes are ripening well now.  Definitely my favourite tomato variety.  The taste is wonderful.
 Pumpkins have started to trail now, I have put a wooden board under one of the developing pumpkins to keep it clean.  This variety is Rouge Vif D'Etamps.  A lovely, dark golden Cinderella type shape.
 This is the first year I have a crop from my Tayberry plant.  Tayberry is a cross between a raspberry and a blackberry. It fruits on the previous years' growth.  At the moment it is putting out great big shoots for next year.
I know that Matron does not do flowers... well times change and even though I still hold true to this ethos, I must do my bit to encourage pollinating insects into my veggie garden.  These Sunflowers are a variety called Giraffe.  The bees just love them, and I hope to keep them over Winter for the birds to eat the seeds too. (if those pesky Grey Squirrels don't get them first)

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

How to Make Felafel

 I should have picked these Broad Beans while they were small and tender.  Quite a few have grown fairly large, and if steamed and eaten the skins are tough and leathery and the beans have a bitter taste.
 But I have always wanted to make Felafel, a Middle Eastern or Southern Mediterranean dish usually made with chick peas, but in some places like Egypt, they also add Broad Beans.
 So after steaming them, they can be skinned easily. The green inside just pops out.  Try to get them as dry and firm as possible and the recipe recommends leaving them in a refrigerator overnight to harden.  These can be mashed or blended with finely chopped onions, garlic, a tin of drained chick peas.
 The spices I used were salt, cumin, coriander and chilli.  These are blended together with some self raising flour until the consistency holds together in a firm paste.
 The paste is moulded into shapes and a little more flour used to stop them sticking.  Some Felafel are shaped into golf ball sized  lumps and deep fried.
 I thought I would shape mine into little patties.  So again I am leaving them in the fridge to dry and firm up overnight.
They smell divine already!  I will let you know how they taste tomorrow!