Rain was forecast here on Saturday, but thankfully it didn't really arrive until after dark. It was a bit damp and drizzly before that but not so bad that it stopped us getting over to the allotment to check on the turnips. I've been looking forward to picking these and pairing them with some lovely pork chops. As we'd bought pork chops in the butchers, we headed off to see if we had turnips to pick.
And we did. I pulled up four to take home with us - as well as our second cauliflower, which you can see in the top left below - and counted at least another ten to follow. Some won't be very far behind these, and then hopefully the row that I sowed direct on the plot will follow after those. Ideally I should have pulled these sooner, but with busy weekends yet again this was our first visit since the start of November.
And that cauliflower, well it's already a soup with cream cheese and cheddar, yum. And very easy to do. Chop an onion and a clove of garlic and soften these in oil and butter. Add the cauliflower and almost cover in chicken stock and cook for twenty or so minutes until the cauliflower is tender. Blitz this and add half a tub of cream cheese, some milk if it needs it and then some grated cheddar (or blue cheese if you have it). It's a soupy cauliflower cheese, and lovely.
If we can pick something every time we visit, especially in winter, then we'll have been doing something right, I think. That might be restricted to turnips for a little while, but hopefully the brassicas won't be too much longer. The weeds, I showed you last month are still there - no weed fairy on our allotment! - and it isn't until I looked back at those pictures, that I've realised how much our cabbages have grown, so that's heartening.
The cavolo nero especially has grown and while it still has some more growing to do, it looks like cavolo nero should with its knobbly leaves. I'm very much looking forward to picking our own, and as well as the weeds still being there no one's planted out my extra brassicas or composted my sweetcorn and tomatoes. Shocking hey?
I'm hoping that the weather is good enough to get over there again next weekend and in the time between Christmas and New Year, although with everything I'm putting on the list for those few days, it's going to be busy!
Elsewhere on the plot
The celeriac is still there, and alongside the brassicas full of weeds, I need to check when to dig these up. I think it's probably about now, but I have no indication of how big they could be. I guess that's part of the fun. As I thought of it I've just checked on the RHS website, and they say celeriac can be harvested between October and March, so I've some time yet. The picture on their page shows the celeriac almost out of the ground, like the turnip above. Mine aren't like that yet, so I'll leave them there for a while I think. The website also says to cover with straw or bracken incase the ground freezes, if the weather turns again I'll be off to find some straw from somewhere...
It was noticeable how bare the crab apple tree was. All the leaves - and any remaining crab apples - were down. The crab apples littering the floor around the tree, so that's another job to do next time I'm there. It's a fun one though as I use this opportunity as shot practice, throwing the crab apples to the compost from where they've dropped, with apologies in advance to the nearby plot owners when I get a bit enthusiastic. It would obviously be much more effective to pick them up, put them into a trug and carry them over. But nowhere near as much fun!
With the crab apple tree bare, the climbing artichokes are once again visible - they're not climbing ones at all, but normal artichokes which grow under the tree, so I think they grow taller to get the light, we'll see next year won't I? They are pretty much dead now, but the flowers (fruits?) have now turned fluffy. The stems are rotten and I suspect it could be a good time to move the plant to where I want it. If the tomatoes had gone, that would be a relatively simple job...
So once again I've a list of jobs from this visit, but it amazes me that each time we visit we're enthused by what needs to happen, and one of these months we'll find time to actually start on that list.
To save me time for my next visit the list of jobs is currently:
- Target practice with crab apples
- Take a black sack to pick up the rubbish the foxes have brought onto the plot (including a couple of nappies... not so nice)
- Compost the tomatoes and sweetcorn remains
- Consider moving the leeks (the ones that have survived MOH trampling on them)
- Compost the beans, sweetcorn and any remaining squash plants
- Pot out my extra brassicas, currently in the back garden: Kale, PSB and some more cabbages I think
- Prepare the leaf mulch compost bin for the new additions from the garden
- Weed the cabbages
- Move the climbing artichoke
- And as usual, do some more digging!
Let's hope the weather stays good, and I find some more hours to put into the day...