Category Archives: Allotment 2015

New Balls Please!

After some ferocious winds, I have had to take yet more steps to protect the winter crops at the new allotment. We are due to experience ‘Abigail’, apparently the worst storm for over seventy years. I don’t believe everything, or infact anything the weathermen say, but either way we are certainly in for some strong winds.

Purchasing over twenty metres of windbreak, I have secured this down the fence line, which is actually the direction of most prevailing winds. I then have placed a couple of smaller breaks at right angles in order to break up the force of the wind as it whips across the allotment.

It now bears some resemblance to a tennis court. Hopefully we can hold serve against mother nature – time will tell.

Guido

After some success growing hot chillies this year “These three Kings” are making their way into a red hot chilli sauce.

Following a dedicated recipe for hot sauce, I collected:

One can of peaches, four cloves of fresh garlic, grated horseradish “my own”, half a cup of treacle, quarter cup of brown sugar, half a cup of white vinegar, half a cup of balsamic vinegar, two tablespoons of Dijon mustard, two tablespoons of olive oil, two tablespoons of salt, two tablespoons of paprika, one tablespoon of black pepper, half a tablespoon of cumin, half a tablespoon of ground ginger, half a tablespoon of all spice, half tablespoon of mustard powder.

Placing all the ingredients, except the chillies into a blender, I then blitzed for one minute.

I thought I may have a little taste before I add any chillies and keep testing as I added. Wow! even before I put in any chilli’s, the sauce had quite a kick from my horseradish.

I added one Carolina Reaper and blitzed for thirty seconds, had a quick taste and already this was at maximum of any hot sauce that I had ever had, and my mouth was on fire.

I then added all the Ghost chillies, Scorpion Butch T’s and all the Carolina Reapers that can be seen in the illustration, oh, and six Cayenne chillies for good measure. Blitzed this for around one minute.

I  carefully poured this mixture into a pan and heated through until simmering. I did this for two reasons; one to be able to bottle it hot as this provides a better seal and would make the sauce last longer, and two, I wanted to thicken the sauce.

Before I poured the completed sauce into the sterilized and hot bottles waiting, I had the slightest taste just to see how hot it was. Blimey! I thought, it is approaching Guy Fawkes night and this certainly does go off like fireworks, so I shall name this sauce “Guido”.

New Home

I have finally got round to splitting the strawberry plants this year. If left as they were, the plant would grow well, but not produce a good crop of fruit and would soon outgrow their current plot. This splitting of the plants is carried out at the end of the season to keep the plants fresh.

Splitting these plants has enabled me to build another strawberry bed at the new allotment. Adding a couple of bags of compost and very generous handfuls of manure pellets as feed. I also had enough plants to be able to give some away this year, which was nice.

Devastation!

As usual, I visited my allotment today, but to my amazement I found a chicken in the cabbages! Unfortunately, some allotmenteers are inconsiderate and let their livestock run loose causing damage to my, and am sure others crops. I had wondered over the past few days what was happening too the cabbages? and now I know. More seriously, all the Black Kale plants have either been lifted out, or have been attacked. Pretty much a totally destroyed crop.

I have now netted as much as I can.  I contacted all the nurseries and garden centres in the area that I know, but no one has any winter crop plants left for this year, so I cannot replace any of these damaged crops.

Needless to say, if and when I catch the chicken, it will be making new friends with carrots, peas and gravy.

Butter

We have been meaning to try and make our own butter for some time. Following a trip to our local shop, we bought some thick cream and gave it a go.

The branded crackers are optional. After hand whisking the cream for some time, I got out the electric mixer and the cream split after a few minutes. Washing as much butter milk out in a bowl of iced water, it was then shaped into a block and tasted. Jolly nice it is too.

Final Chilli Update

Its been some time since I wrote an update on the chillies I bought back in the spring this year.

It certainly has been worth while changing supplier as I have managed to  bring on the three kings with different levels of success.

Although non of the fruits are particularly big I have given a couple of Butch T and Carolina reaper away to ‘chilli nuts’ who said they were very impressive.

The Ghost chilli has always been the smallest plant and in consequence has only produced pea sized fruits.

I am going to leave the fruits on the plants as long as possible now in hope that they will grow a little larger.

Chutney 2015

Looking back through my gardening diary, it seems this is the earliest in the season that I have made my chutney. Not a problem, it just gives it even more time to mature.

The first jar won’t be opened until Christmas day, and the last, as usual, will be saved as part of a gourmet celebration on the final day of the fishing season in March 2016.

Starting to prepare this concoction around 20:30, chopping and peeling, boiling then simmering until it reduced by over 2 thirds concentrating all the flavours. It did not go into its jars until around 03:30.

I will have to wait months now to see how it matures and more importantly see what it tastes like.