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Archive for March, 2009

Asparagus shoots

Asparagus is one of those plants that it is worth having an allotment for. It is very expensive to buy, and better as fresh as possible. There are two ways to start yourself off with a row. Firstly you can plant the crowns, or it is a little known fact that you can plant the seed as well. I read a tip somewhere that said seed will produce as quickly as crowns, because they are the more vigorous F1 hybrid varieties. Always eager to put a theory to the test, we bought some asparagus seeds.

Two weeks later, hey presto:

Sucess!

Sucess!

I have also created a list of all my seeds, and when they need sowing etc.

flower-seed-plan

vegetable-seeds-plan

Herb and salad sowing plan

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Jamie has been at the allotments all weekend. A pattern is emerging where I tend to look after the girls while he does the hard graft in the cold/rain/wind, but he is keeping me up to date on progress – photos to follow.

Stanley Road – he has uprooted most of the raspberry canes, which were too close together through overenthusiastic planting last year. These have been transplanted to the Warren which will have most of the perennial fruit. This leaves blackcurrants and the Christmas tree in the back bed at Stanley Road. Stanley Road will have the crops that need more maintenance, and strawberries are the main fruit on the patch.

The Warren – the row of raspberry canes has been planted in much more space, and in honour of this, our first fruit support structure – I will have to wait and see this next weekend. There are already three or four well established damson/plum trees on the plot (we will wait and see exactly what they are), along with a gooseberry.

Seed planting: We need to get going on the seed planting. The coldframe at the Warren will be really helpful to get things started. I am waiting for this latest cold snap to pass, just in case we get a repeat of the severe frosts that have been commonplace this year.

Coming soon:
A plan of the whole two plots, with crop rotation diagram.

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Jamie checked the rhubarb that he had been forcing, and decided to pick it. “Forcing” is achieved by putting a cover over the plant, which keeps light out. This convinces the plant that it is still underground, so it doesn’t make chlorophyll – which results in the characteristic blanched pink colour and delicate texture. But only once a year. Forcing puts a strain on the plant, so each one can only be cropped once a year. Knowing this just makes the whole experience even more exciting.

Fresh pink stalks from the allotment

Fresh pink stalks from the allotment

Jamie makes a lot of recipes, but the best one has to be rhubarb creme brulee, below:

The best creme brulee in the world

The best creme brulee in the world

There is nothing quite like the taste of forced rhubarb in early spring, and it goes really well with the creamy, custardy taste of creme brulee.

I will try to get him to put the recipe in later on.

And look what we found on the new allotment! So there should be many more where that came from.

Imagine how thrilled Jamie was to uncover this?

Imagine how thrilled Jamie was to uncover this?

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