Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Strawberry Teas Forever and a Minor Rant About Celery.

After dropping dd1 off at preschool we ventured to the allotment to try and get some ground clear enough to transplant some popcorn and pumpkin plants that had been sitting in the greenhouse far longer than they should have. The popcorn plants had been grown from just plain old popping corn from a supermarket, so I wasn't expecting them to grow as well as they did. In previous years when I've bought sweetcorn or popcorn - i.e. the seed packet stuff - the germination rate has often been poor. With the supermarket popping corn the germination was almost 100%, really impressive! I guess we'll see if they actually set seed, but if the experiment works I'll be chuffed.

I had a feeling that after the recent alternating warm and wet weather the weeds would be growing fast and I wasn't wrong!

Ha ha! Bet you can't spot the Dwarf French Beans under here! There are also supposedly some mangetout and some runner beans. Methinks the weeds may have grown {g}

Ok, so with a bit of weeding I finally found the dwarf beans again.

They look rather stunned at seeing daylight.

The weather has benefitted the fruit as well and it seems that suddenly everything is starting to ripen. As you can see below, we had our first strawberry cropping of the season and what a big crop it was! The piled up tyres that we made into 'raised beds' for the strawberries were only experimental, but by the look of it we'll be doing lots more for next year. There has only been minor slug/snail damage and with some protection from netting the crop has so far been protected from birds.Best of all because the tyres are on a weed suppressing material the only weeds I have to worry about are the few between the plants and these are easy to pull up.

Looks like the redcurrants and blackcurrants will be next. We don't have any of the new commercial varieties which have fruit that all ripens at the same time, so we'll be picking off the occasional ripe berries over the next month or so I guess. We've only just finished off the redcurrant jam we made last year, so I'm hoping for a good crop again this year.

This is probably the best cropping of strawberries we've ever had at the allotment, and we're are only at the start of the season. Guess what we're going to be eating every day for the next month??! Perhaps if we plant up more tyres next year we'll be able to go into business selling strawberries to the neighbours.

Ds2 with a crate of strawberries.

There are a few raspberries in the tub next to it - I think ds1 ate most of the raspberries he picked!

We also picked a whole heap of mangetout - once we could find them among the weeds - and some broad beans. Broad beans really aren't my favourite. In fact they are lowest on my list of edible vegetables, about one or two up from celery which is really yuk and a totally pointless vegetable (only good for dieters and rabbits in my opinion). And while on the subject of celery, why do they put it in pretty much ALL vegetarian meals?? What's that about??! I have to waste time picking out all those little 'horsehoe' slices of celery...grumble...

Anyway, celery rant over, last year we made the mistake of picking the broad beans rather too late when they had gone huge and chewy and urrrggghhh. Dh ate them, but then he eats absolutely ANYTHING, so that's not much of a comment. This year I've started picking them young and we had the first cropping tonight,parboiled and then fried in butter. Ok, so no matter what I do to them they're still not high on my list! Plan B is to try a recipe I've found for 'Broad Bean Puree'. If the beans keep cropping I'm gonna get desperate for ways to disguise them! You might think it would just be easier to grow things that I like, but gardening just isn't that simple. At least I don't bother growing celery.

Mucking about at preschool


Philippa said...

The hard work is worth it! Wow your strawberry crop is amazing. I am most jealous - trying not to be! I am sure your neighbours would love them. So the supermarket sells about 10 for £1.99.....

Big mamma frog said...

I must admit I was really impressed with the crop of strawberries. Definitely looking into more plants next year - my kids love selling things, so I'll get them into business!