Saturday, 12 May 2012

reaping the rewards

This has to be one of the most infuriating growing seasons ever. Rain, wind, and sheer cold has meant that so many vegetables I'm growing are so very far behind.

There's nothing worse in life than those awful heart stopping moments when you're really late for an event or work.It puts me out of kilter for the rest of the day.....playing catch up. It makes me feel anxious.

 And I feel like that this year about my vegetable growing. I'm already worrying that this year won't be a good one produce wise - especially when this year it means so much. I'm taking my food challenge very seriously and am relying on what I grow to help me achieve my target this year -that 80 per cent of what I eat has to come from Leicestershire and Rutland.

The good news is that Leicestershire is now officially out of drought measures. I'm pleased...I  really am, but the lashing down of rain virtually every day in April has put the kibosh on my potato planting schedule down on the allotment.

Digging in claggy, bog like conditions is not high on my list of all time pleasures...and my language! Still,  swearing like a trooper at the rain, the ground and anything within a 100 yard exclusion zone did make me feel better!

So no new potatoes in late June for me....oh no, and the first sowings of peas aren't going to be ready  until at least six weeks after last years. This time last year, a huge crop of Alderman peas were standing tall (six foot high) and proud and almost ready to be picked.

At the moment, they're still sitting snugly in my cold frame along with beans, beans and more beans, plus sweetcorn, pumpkins and next years purple sprouting broccoli in the little plastic greenhouse.

But it's not all doom and gloom. May I introduce the stars of the allotment at the moment which are the pounds  of gorgeous purple sprouting broccoli - I picked two pounds worth today

 and pounds and pounds of rhubarb. Six pounds of the stuff in one picking....

There's something about those first bowls of stewed rhubarb with the addition of star anise, the promise of rhubarb jam next week and perhaps trying a new recipe which I haven't been given yet.It's from a friend of a friend, and allegedly it's the best rhubarb relish/chutney ever.

Can't wait......and can't wait to plant out all those beans.But frost is still being forecast so patience is a virtue.......

How do farmers and commercial growers cope with the vagaries of the English weather? Whoever you are, wherever you are, I take my hat off to you!

1 comment:

  1. I suspect the farmers cope by taking out another bank loan. It must be extremely worrying for them. We've eaten our way through our entire asparagus harvest - all seven spears! Now there's nothing else likely to be ready for some time yet. That sprouting broccoli looks delicious and so does the rhubarb. Enjoy.