Beans’n’Berries: Courtyard Gardener’s Allotment #allotments #gardening @mishaherwin @Barrylillie1 @janeJohnsonBakr

After weeks of frantic work the allotment has reached that watering’n’weeding phase as the young plants lovingly raised in on the back bedroom sill are planted out and growing on toward harvest. Not that the sill was put to use for today’s croppers.

DSC_2429Today’s tasks were firstly to put straw around the young strawberry plants to keep the berries just beginning to form from laying on bare soil.

This not only keeps them clean but makes it harder for molluscs to burrow into them from beneath!

Just a thin layer to start with until the plants get a little larger, and well watered once down in an attempt at preventing straw from blowing all over the plot.

Last year’s crop was not good so we bit the bullet and bought in fresh bare-root plants, which appear to be doing well thus far.

Looking forward to those fresh, sun-ripened, strawberries that can’t be beaten for flavour and sweetness.

DSC_2434The second task was earthing up the potatoes – i.e. raising the soil level around the plants to encourage more tubers to form and to prevent those at the top of the pots from going green (and toxic!)

We don’t grow a great many spuds because they use the raised beds up too quickly for a veg that is so cheap to buy later in the year but a few earlies always go down well.

The pots seen here are cloth-bag pots (as opposed to the plastic potato pot bags that can be bought.) They are on their third year of use so not a bad investment.

There are three bags of early salad potatoes  (left) and four of pink fir apple (right).

Potato119Though many view these as a ‘new’ arrival in our gardens they are actually one of the oldest, and were a huge favourite of Victorian gardeners. The knobbly tubers have, as the name suggests, pink skins that conceal a yellow, waxy, flesh. They can be used cooked and cold as salad veg, boiled with a hot meal or as chips. Not sure if they ‘mash’ but suspect that would be a bit of a waste. I am told they have a sweet, nutty, flavour which is at its best when they are eaten cold.

This is our first time of trying fir apples so it will be interesting to see what sort of crop develops.

I’m told fir apples are not a huge cropper, however, so I doubt that the growers in Wyncombe’s Victory Gardens in my upcoming Bunch Courtney mystery novel Deadly Plot would have favoured them when the highest possible yield was everyone’s aim.

Beans to follow…

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