Plenty happening at the allotment today

Plenty happening at the allotment today – sometimes I have to remind myself that it’s only 16 square metres. If it was any bigger the excitement might be too much!

The weather was beautiful this morning.  It was a bit cool when I arrived at the allotment but the sun soon warmed up, it’s good to be able to garden in a T shirt again. It’s easy to forget that it’s still winter in Brisbane. Sorry to go on about the weather again – but I love the sun on my back.

My first job was to plant out some seedlings of Fordhook Giant Swiss Chard which I have raised from seed on my balcony at home.

Silver beet is one of my favourite vegetables and I don’t like to be without it but I have really struggled with it this season. It might be the heavy rain we have had this winter. Only one of my plants has grown vigorously, the others have been puny, snapped off at ground level or they just got fed up with the struggle, lay down and died.

The only decent silver beet plant showing signs of life

However, I have been told that Fordbook Giant is much hardier so I have great hopes. I gave the seedlings a nice soak in Seasol liquid seaweed to get them over the shock of being transplanted. All we can do now is wait.

Another favourite vegetable (I have a lot of them!) is red cabbage which I like to pickle.  My daughter-in-law gave me a couple of red cabbage plants some weeks ago and they are growing nicely thanks to lots of attention from me. It’s a challenge to beat the caterpillars to the cabbages but I’ve draped the plants over with a fine net. This morning I gave them a nice liquid feed. They had better perform!!

In fact I gave all my veggies a little treat this morning. I spent some time with the watering can giving them a boost with liquid fertiliser.

The next job was in the small potato bed. It is small. I think four potato plants is a small bed anyway.  The tops were dying down so once again it was a job for “The Big Fork”. I dug the plants out in no time at all and I was pleased with the crop. I havn’t weighted the harvest, but I did take a photo. Nigel, this one’s for you.

My crop of Nicola potatoes. Not huge, but then I only had a few plants. Nigel this is for you – my bucket is half full!

Tatiana, one of the plants was grown from one of your spuds, it did really well.

Much like the silver beet, the baby beets have struggled too, but today I harvested two small specimens. This is just the tops, all show but not much underneath!

I was at the allotment all morning and finished my visit, as usual, with the camera.

These young cos lettuces are really growing strong

I picked a few cos leaves for lunch, went nicely in an egg and lettuce sandwich.

Today’s harvest, Italian kale, Nicola potatoes, flat leafed parsley and (see if you can spot them) a couple of tiny baby beets.

And because I am so pleased with my potatoes – here is a close up – they are going to be delicious boiled up and coated with butter.  And they’re MINE!

Nicola potatoes

The colour in the last two photos look so different – that’s because one photo was taken in full sun and I didn’t know if it would come out ok, so I took the other one in the shade.

Happy gardening.

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17 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Janine King
    Aug 01, 2012 @ 16:58:38

    What a great harvest Jean – well done. I too love silverbeet and spinach. My mother-in-law gave me this recipe. Cook silverbeet in milk. While cooking, finely dice lots of fresh garlic. Drain silverbeet and saute garlic in a generous helping of butter then return silverbeet to the pot and stir through the garlic. Yummy……

    Reply

    • Fairy
      Aug 01, 2012 @ 17:24:24

      Unfortunately, I cannot share your enthusiasm for silverbeet – I used to grow it for the chickens when we lived in South Australia. Baby spinach leaves are my ‘green’ of choice.

      I have been lucky enough to be at home today doing some paid work but I took time out this afternoon to weed my very neglected garden. The broccoli are going well but I can’t say the same for the cauliflower and cabbage. I guess it was expecting too much to have success 2 years in a row!

      My potatoes are yet to die down so I have added more soil – up to the top of the cut-down water tank that I am growing them in and then heaped on more straw. In the last few days the chickens have stripped all of the leaves off the plants whereas they had not touched them previously. Suffice to say, they are now enclosed with star pickets and bird netting.

      Reply

    • Allotment adventures with Jean
      Aug 01, 2012 @ 19:55:25

      Hi Janine. Thanks for the silver beet recipe. Never heard of it cooking in milk before, but I’m going to try it.

      Reply

  2. Heidi @ lightlycrunchy
    Aug 01, 2012 @ 21:59:16

    I might try cooking some beets in milk too – we have a bumper crop of beets, but I can’t remember why we planted them. Nobody likes them all that much. I don’t mind borscht, but one bowl of it is good for me for the entire season.

    Reply

  3. Jules
    Aug 02, 2012 @ 05:08:38

    Hi Jean,

    Thanks for the reminder, I will get out with my watering can and seaweed solution tomorrow!

    How do you usually cook your silverbeet? I tend to use it instead of spinach, cabbage or wombok in recipes. I am also growing mustard greens for the first time this year and am using them in a similar manner.

    Have a wonderful day gardening,
    Jules

    Reply

    • Allotment adventures with Jean
      Aug 02, 2012 @ 06:46:42

      Hi Jules. I am usually pretty boring with my silver beet, I steam for a minute or two over the boiling potatoes and then add freshly grated black pepper and a small nob of butter. But I have been known to eat it just steamed with nothing added. I just love the flavour, must be the minerals in it. Gives it some ‘bite’.
      I also enjoy using those green leaf veggies you mention and have grown them all at different times.
      I have been promising myself to make spinach pie at some stage, they always look so good in the recipe books.

      Reply

  4. Tatiana
    Aug 02, 2012 @ 10:04:54

    Hi Jean, Well done with the spuds-mine are still growing, in fact like Topsy-just hope I get more than 2 very small ones and 4 minis this time 😉.
    Re beetroot-you could try making Russian beetroot salad ( a memory from my childhood) has just about everything in it but as I remember very tasty. Sorry I don’t have the receipe but there is always Google. Or baked, delicious!!!!
    Hope to see you for the no-dig talk on Saturday 11am.
    Congrats on Pandora 😃

    Reply

    • Allotment adventures with Jean
      Aug 03, 2012 @ 00:11:54

      Hi Tatiana, hope you are feeling much better. Well done with the spuds growing like Topsy. (My, did that girl grow!). Lets hope you get a good crop, it’s like digging for gold when you dig out the potato plants. Never know what will turn up.
      Thanks for your Russian beetroot salad idea, and baked beetroot too, my only problem is of course that I have two puny little things which won’t cover my palm, but Heidi has plenty so she may take up your idea.
      I don’t know what has happened with my silver beet and beetroot this season. I’ve said it before, us gardeners should start a new group – maybe we could do it at NF library “Optimists Anonymous”
      Sorry that I’ll miss the no-dig talk on Saturday. They are always so informative but I’m already committed.

      Reply

  5. narf77
    Aug 02, 2012 @ 20:33:37

    I am with you on the spuds Jean…hard to share them with anyone because freshly dug spuds are better than truffles! Lots of melted salty butter and pepper and served in a large bowl with a fork (only a fork!) and eaten with a blissful look on your face with your eyes closed. Reverance for the humble spud is entirely deserved.

    Reply

  6. Jode
    Aug 02, 2012 @ 21:46:24

    I’ve had trouble with our silverbeet too this season…normally it is a guaranteed winner so perhaps all the rain? loved reading through everyone’s suggestions and i never thought of beetroot with white suace…i really have to try that one!!
    What a great harvest Jean…well done on keeping those caterpillars at bay…they are munching my cabbages at the moment!

    Reply

    • Allotment adventures with Jean
      Aug 03, 2012 @ 00:30:38

      Hi Jode. I have a feeling it must be the sodden ground that has deterred the silverbeet, and my Cavolo Nero Italian kale is only half the size it was last year, but I find the kale still keeps growing as long I give it liquid feeds so I can’t complain.
      What has interested me with this post is the recipe ideas that have popped up for beetroot. We are an inventive lot.
      My DIL has done well with keeping the caterpillars at bay, but it has meant an awful lot of netting. We do try (sigh).

      Reply

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