Sunday, 31 August 2008


I didn't mention this before, but a few months ago my greenhouse got vandalised.

My plot is on the very edge of a large allotment site, and although there's a strong metal fence which (mostly) keeps out intruders, it's open to view from the adjoining nature reserve/woods where kids build tree-houses and play at target-practice... well-aimed rocks were to be expected really. Overall I lost perhaps a quarter of the glass : (

I've considered the following plans for repair:

1. Replacing the broken panes with perspex (too expensive).

2. Replacing the broken panes with polythene (too flimsy on the sharp metal frame, no way of attaching it securely without letting too much air in).

3. Replacing the roof with clear corrugated PVC, and re-jiggling the glass to fill the gaps (this plan failed when I couldn't buy the PVC in the right lengths, and couldn't cut it either. It would also have worked out quite expensive).

4. Removing all glass from the North side of the greenhouse, using it to fill the gaps, then replacing the North side with wood (I liked this idea because it'd create a shady area next to the greenhouse where I could rest on hot days. But it'd be hard work).

5. As above, but replacing the North side with multi-coloured translucent sheets of plastic which I can buy from work (they are very thin, but rigid which should make them easy to fit. I can cut them to size with a stanley knife, and best of all they are cheap!)

As you might expect I've chosen the last option. If it works, my greenhouse will have an impressive faux stained-glass window which will look great from the outside when the sun shines through it!

Work commences tomorrow : )

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Dinner, and things...

I think I'm getting better at looking in the fridge to see what's there, and inventing a recipe to fit!

Tonight I had roast veg (potatoes, tomatoes, courgette) with vegetarian "meatballs". I added a crushed clove of garlic and a jalapeno pepper to the roasting tin (both of which I removed before eating - I just wanted a subtle hint of their flavours). On serving I added a dribble of Balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of black pepper. Simple, but most yummy! And I was extra pleased with myself when I realised I'd grown everything apart from the veggieballs : )

Whilst cooking this I dry roasted a few handfuls of foraged Hazelnuts (Claire, I think we're too late - the squirrels seem to have been busy this year), in an attempt to fill up the oven and be more economical with the electricity...

I also saved half a courgette for breadmaking later on. I've done experiments and now I'm sure that courgette helps bread to rise. Anyone know why that might be?

Monday, 25 August 2008


Growing by the River Thames, near Sonning, Berkshire.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Harvest 19/8/08

French beans, calabrese, foraged plums and damsons, tomatoes, courgette, potatoes.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Plastic bottle greenhouse

Instructions here!
: )

Allotment update

I visited the plot this morning after being away for 5 days. I made some quick notes on how everything's doing...

Successes so far: onions, garlic, peas, broad beans, leaf beet, kale, courgettes, french beans, calabrese, various herbs, cos lettuce, chillis, a bit of soft fruit (just establishing)... and 3 beautiful pink plums!

Looking promising: celeriac and parsnips (they like the rain, you see), leeks, Jerusalem artichokes, Beetroot (finally!), runner beans (lots of flowers at last), rhubarb (ready for next year).

Successful but now showing signs of blight: potatoes, tomatoes

Struggling: squash, cucumbers, carrots (because I messed up!)

Monday, 11 August 2008

Poppy seeds

These poppies invited themselves on to my allotment:

When the seed heads had dried, I collected them in a little pot along with a few others I found on some waste land near my flat. I shook the pot - and out from their cases came hundreds and hundreds of teeny black seeds.. They make a welcome addition to my breadmaking supply cupboard : )

Wednesday, 6 August 2008


I think I should post more photos of the food I harvest from my allotment. I normally drop by on the way home from work and collect just enough for my tea. This evening I decided to try digging up a few of my maincrop "King Edward" potatoes - they are huge!

I also collected a small basket of random goodies. The tomatoes are coming thick and fast now - luckily I really love tomatoes! I'm building up a stockpile of courgettes too...

There are loads of wild Blackberries around the edges of the allotment site, and I wasn't the only one picking them!

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Cannock Chase

I visited Cannock Chase with friends at the weekend. It was beautiful!

We saw lots of interesting animals and plants, including Lizards, Frog tadpoles, Deer, Dragonflies, various Butterflies, wild Raspberries, Strawberries, Bilberries and Cowberries (or possibly "Cannock Chase Berries" - a rare hybrid Bilberry/Cowberry, apparently!).



I'd never tasted Bilberries before, but they were really sweet and juicy. The Cowberries were more mealy and had less flavour, but were still nice. The wild Strawberries were absolutely gorgeous!