On trend

Today I realised…

It’s not that I prepared poorly, made the wrong decisions, and paid the price with bad harvests. 

It’s that I decided to come bang up to date. Grow like it’s 2015. And join the micro-veg movement!

And indeed, they may not fill you up, but the carrots are super-sweet morsels and the roasted beets (the two that didn’t turn into charcoal) were tiny mouthfuls of joy. 

… if I can scale up and find a local posh restaurant to supply …this time next year I’ll be a millionaire!!!



Pick of the Week

Last week my favourite pick was a fridge essential – spring onions.

Like lemons, and feta cheese, I like to have these in stock at all times. Not only are they essential for the thai and stir-fry dishes we often knock-up for tea, they’re also a useful staple for salads, sandwiches, and fish dishes of various kinds. They look fresh and lovely chopped small  and sprinkled over almost any meal (maybe not porridge or cornflakes), and they’re much quicker and easier to prepare than the faff of peeling, chopping and crying over brown or red onions.

So, why I only sowed a small patch of spring onions (White Lisbon) is hard to explain! I cordoned off a little spare square at the allotment and sprinkled seed around. A few days later I noticed the characteristic indentations of a cat having walked/rolled around on the freshly raked soil (though no poos, thankfully), and a few weeks later I had just a handful of young spring onions growing away. I never got the time to sow more.

Sigh. Yet more poor judgement on the plot this year.

I identified our Friday night Thai dinner – celebrating the start of an extended holiday for Mr MBaF –  as the perfect use for the precious few bulbs, and raced up to the plot to collect them.

They were few, they were perfect, and now they’re gone.

What was your Pick of the Week? Tell us about your best harvest in the comments, or join me and blog your own PotW post.

Hap(pea) travellers

It was inevitable that, at some point, my peas in their pipelines had to find their way from the guttering in our front garden several hundred yards up the road and into the allotment earth.

They’ve done pretty well in the gutters, germination was very high and the mangetout in particular (I think, I forgot which was which) were looking really healthy and shooting up quickly. The [probable] peas started well, but had begun to lose colour and look a little bit sad.

And now the time had come for their exciting adventure! Mr MBaF helped me manoeuvre both 2.5m dirt-filled gutters into the open boot, over the back seat, between the front seats and onto the dashboard (lucky I don’t have a nice, or clean, car!).

My trug provided an anti-wobble wedge, and we were off!


Mr MBaF was busy with DIY at the house, so once the legumes were loaded, I was flying solo. But it was surprisingly straightforward to extract the pipes from the car and carry them to the plot.

I used a bit of the allotment’s new muck pile, and dug over the area destined for the seedlings – before creating two shallow ditches.

I had thought that the rows of peas would be easiest to transfer if the soil was damp. But transfer of the first row (mangetout, I think) was a very messy affair, where I had to separate the row into smaller sections (breaking roots as I did) and push them along the pipeline. So I took a different approach with the second gutter, leaving it dry, and literally letting the row slide out into the prepared plot. This worked really well and was quick and clean.

I firmed the rows in, gave them a good soaking and stuck the pea sticks in along both rows for support. Then made some anti-pigeon foil ‘sails’ to blow around in the wind.

I know what you’re all thinking: it’s really a bit late to be planting peas. Yes yes, I know, and I’m not really expecting them to produce a crop. But it’s been a useful experiment for next year – a way to get my peas established without the bloody weevils having their wicked way with them.

And you never know, maybe we’ll have a late summer pea bonanza!

Pick of the Week

My Pick of the Week is something lots of veg gardeners will be utterly bored with by now – but I haven’t even had the chance to get excited about.

We returned from a lovely couple of days in South Devon today – gate-crashing my big brother’s holiday to help him celebrate turning the big 5-0.

Heading off to this mini-jaunt in the sunshine of Saturday morning, we stopped in on the allotment to give everything a good drink, particularly the newly planted peas.

Brandishing our watering cans, Mr MBaF, Miss MBaF and I took a quick look around the plot, and I was pleased to see a few things putting on a bit more growth and yield.

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll notice I’ve been getting pretty frustrated and downhearted with the season so far. Slow to start in the cold spring, my plot has never really caught up – and must be suffering from my failure to manure it this year.

So after the promising tour on Saturday, on our return from Devon today I was keen to head up there and harvest some veggies for my dinner tonight. Mr MBaF is on nightshifts this week so I knew I could get away with a vegtastic dinner!

Finally – FINALLY! – I had some decent-sized courgettes on both my yellow AND green courgette plants. I mean, really? Courgettes? Any muppet can grow bloody courgettes! But mine have been so very long in getting their act together.

So they’re my Pick of the Week – the long-awaited and much appreciated courgettes in my dinner tonight! Simply brushed with olive oil, seasoned and griddled – served with pasta, salad, green beans and feta cheese.

When I get my glut of courgettes like everyone else (!!), I’ll try making courgette spaghetti/noodles that’s all the rage right now.

What’s your Pick of the Week been? Tell me in the comments box, or blog about it if you’re that way inclined ;o)

Noisy b—–

Mr MBaF is in the midst of a major building project on in our garden (a workshop/potting shed/bike shed) so there’re piles of displaced shed contents on the decking, and building materials in the front garden.

Why am I telling you this? Because it’s my excuse for why the window boxes have been a bit overlooked – they struggle to shine bright enough to get noticed over the general scruffiness outside.

But as if demanding my attention, this morning at 6am I was woken by a very noisy diner at the floral breakfast buffet outside our open bedroom window. A bumble bee, bumbling his way between the fuschia blooms, with his deep, loud, and persistent buzzing.

It’s not the worst way to be woken – certainly beats the alarm clock, or a crying toddler, hands-down. So I lay awhile, watching the insect methodically disappearing into and reappearing from the skirt folds of the fuschias – before moving noisily on to the next one. After a few minutes I did shut the window, as I figured the snoring Mr MBaF would rather stay asleep.

It made me reflect on how well this north-facing box is doing this year. It’s a tricky position, but these fuschias seem pretty happy. Out of the three boxes on the front of the house, this one is by far the best so far. I think I must’ve have inadvertently put the later-flowering varieties in the planter outside Miss MBaF’s bedroom, but hopefully they’ll perform for her soon too.

The largest boxes, outside the living room, look green and healthy but it remains to be seen if they flower. Unlike the upstairs boxes, these are also shaded by the sticking-out porch on their east side, so miss out on the short slice of early morning sunshine that creeps around the house.

Big frilly blooms, like many of the fuschias I chose, aren’t my usual style. But I’m prepared to compromise to get some colour on the north wall, and they are looking pretty good from inside and out. It seems that the later-flowering types are going to be a bit ‘cleaner’ in form, so I think I’ll like them even better.

The bee’s blousy breakfast buffet

The latest variety to flower, more my style, and with distracting building materials visible in the front garden below

The south-facing kitchen window box is looking OK too, but that’s for another day…

Pick of the Week

Here we are again, on a Sunday, looking back at a week when I barely had time to get up to the plot at all. Sob sob. 

However I did manage to tempt Miss MBaF up there after picking her up from Nursery on Tuesday. She was persuaded by the prospect of taking the first pickings of carrots. 

I had no idea what we  would find, but given my general disappointment about this year’s performance I had pretty low expectations.  

We positioned ourselves next to a short row of feathery tops, took a firm hold, wiggled and jiggled the plant and ‘pop’! 

A lovely, slender, finger-sized carrot. Not chomped, not forked, just right for a sweet mouthful of two. 

Both Miss MBaF and I were delighted!

We continued until we had enough for tea. A few were almost non-existent, and some were forked, but the overall result wasn’t too shabby at all. 

Miss MBaF enjoyed a couple raw before bed, while Mr MBaF and I scoffed the rest with dinner. 

What was your pick of the week???