End of season in the allotment

Another growing season draws to an end, well just about. I have been down the allotment this morning and I am still getting crops from beetroot, leeks, cauliflower, parsnips, chard, and turnip. The beetroot we have decided we like in a slightly different way, instead of cooking and pickling in jars we now roast in the oven as you would potato or parsnip. This produces a sweet and very tasty vegetable which we much prefer to the vinegar soaked method. In fact all of the above have been used today on the Sunday roast.

I have taken all the French and runner bean foliage down from the wigwam structures in a bit of a tidy up this morning, the wigwams are made from half inch steel bars 8’ long! These came to the company where I work as strengtheners in packing cases and were then thrown in the skip for scrap. They can stay in position all year round, will not rot, are too heavy to blow over and the best bit of all were completely free! Luckily my allotment is just across the road from the warehouse where I work.

I have been very impressed with the chard variety ‘Bright Lights’ which some of us were given to trial. I have cut some this morning and they are still cropping well, the coloured varieties seem much less prone to bolting or running to seed and both the leaves and succulent stems can be cooked and eaten. I am also looking forward to seeing if it does emerge again in the spring as promised to provide more fresh greens just when needed, this will have a well deserved row of its own in the allotment next year. Other vegetables which have also performed well this year are beetroot Boltardy, leek Musselburgh and onion Bedfordshire Champion.

End of season in the allotment

Chard Bright Lights

One topical crop as it gets towards the end of October is the pumpkin! I grew T&M variety Dill’s Atlantic Giant down the allotment this year. I prefer the large varieties as I try to grow a couple of big pumpkins to carve for Halloween, the grandkids enjoy seeing one lit up on the back and I always try to attempt the scariest face possible when carving with the obligatory pointy teeth and mean eyes! But this year I went for a completely different approach and tried a kids’ favourite cartoon character. The result? Well, the grandkids absolutely loved it.

End of season in the allotment

My carved pumpkin

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2 Comments

  1. Mark Frost says:

    What a great blog.

    I am also on the Notts/Derbys border (Ilkeston).

    I have been roasting our beets for many years now. I once saw it done by Jamie Oliver on Jamie cooks home programme and have since started using a splash of balsamic or cider vinegar to enhance the taste. Our chard seems to pop up in a different place each year and my favourite dish to use chard in is fish. I take a fillet of fish and wrap the chard around the fillet and gentle steam. I have found steaming better than roasting, but both are nice. When you cut through the chard you get a beautiful steaming piece of perfectly cooked fish, with the sweet taste of the chard.

    In 2006 I grew a 7 stone pumpkin using Dills Atlantic, but have struggled since and decided to change my variety in 2010. I changed to BIG MAX and have been impressed by the results. Whilst you do not grow pumpkins to the size of Dills Atlantic, the Big Max variety grow more consistently and produce more than one pumpkin per plant. One plant this year grew three pumpkins all over 3 stone in weight.

    Looking forward already to read your next blog

    • Steve Woodward says:

      Hi Mark, thanks for the kind comments, I too am from Ilkeston (Larklands area) and the allotment is down near Chatterleys (Cossall area) what we do with the veg when roasting especially those that don’t have a great deal of flavour is put them in one of the sealable roasting bags and sprinkle with roasting herbs and spices they come in a large pepper grinder type pot from BM up in the precinct, shake them up then seal and roast, this is great for potato, parsnip, beetroot, squash and turnip etc

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