Straw-mendous Strawberry Jam


If I was to pick just one jam to take away to a desert island (or should that be dessert island!), it would be strawberry. I adore it. It peps up my porridge in winter, the jewel on the crown of a cream tea, essential for a Victoria sponge and who would say no to simple strawberry jam sandwich? And whats more its dead easy to make, virtually makes itself. The varieties we have in our strawberry patch are a mix of ‘Cambridge Favourite’, ‘Florence’ and an everbearer ‘Albion’. ‘Florence’ are my favourites. They are a lovely big mid-season strawberry, dark red all the way through. The plant is large and bushy and hold their fruits high but also disguising them from foe.
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Bountiful. A review of the season (so far…)

Forgive me, I’ve hardly blogged about the plot this summer. Recent weather aside (it’s a wet and windy Saturday afternoon as I write this), it’s a been a glorious summer and to be honest with you, we’ve just been so busy enjoying it down 18a. After a unseasonable cool start to the season full of worry whether we would ever get any kind of crop going, we approach the end of the growing season with a bumper crop of unexpected allotment loveliness. After a rather crappy first 6 months of 2013 for myself personally, the allotment and the abundance of nature there have helped me overcome my blues and banish my little rain clouds. So what’s been going on down 18a? Well let’s see…
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An Apple a Day. Apple Day 2012

So today Sunday 21st of October 2012 was Apple Day. The day itself was a grey, damp and rheumy one but that didn’t matter, today was the apples big day. To celebrate Apple Day our allotment kids club, The Young Gardeners Club had a special little meet up in the community hut. Apple Day was started in Covent Garden on 21st Oct. 1990 to demonstrate the significance of the apple to British culture, landscape and wildlife. It is now celebrated countrywide and is part of the festive calendar. The Young Gardeners Club celebrated by making apple juice using a borrowed traditional apple press and bevy of surplus apples kindly donated by plot holders. So you can imagine there was a wide array of varieties, flavour, textures, shapes and sizes of apples on offer. With many of the fruit trees potentially being 75 years old or more there where plenty of heritage and unusual apple varieties to show. A great opportunity to teach the kids about the vast varieties and diversity of British apples. And more importantly that the uniform flavourless apples found in the supermarkets are not necessarily the norm. They had a good turn out, I didn’t realise there was so many children at our plots. The apple juice flowed and someone even made an apple cake! A successful first Apple day for the Young Gardeners Club. Continue reading “An Apple a Day. Apple Day 2012”

My Blue Blue Blueberries. – Blueberry & Lavender Jam

“It’s sad and it’s cold at the bottom of the sea but at least I’ve got my blueberries with me.” – Blueberry Boat by The Fiery Furnaces.

Well it finally happened. The inventible blight has struck at the plot. With weeks of wet and warm weather the tomatoes have finally succumbed to the dreaded blight. As we do not spray, trying to be as organic as possible, blight unfortunately is an inevitable fate for our doomed outdoor tomatoes.The 2012 growing season so far certainly hasn’t been a contender for the best season ever, however not everything has been moping down at 18a. Non non, the blueberries and black currants in particular have been quietly fruiting modestly in the soft fruit bed. I might even go as far to say their the best blueberries we’ve ever grown. Continue reading “My Blue Blue Blueberries. – Blueberry & Lavender Jam”

After the Rain Comes (a little) Sun.

After what seems like months of wet and cloudy weather the sun has finally put its hat on this weekend. A little sunshine is just what the allotment has been desperate for. Despite it being almost August it feels like the season is only really just getting going in earnest. With a list of jobs to do as long as our arms we took the opportunity to make hay whilst the sun shines. Continue reading “After the Rain Comes (a little) Sun.”

Strawberry Flowers forever…

Strawberry Flower by Crafty Garden Hoe
Strawberry Flower, a photo by Crafty Garden Hoe on Flickr.

All of a sudden the Strawberry bed has sprung into life. The lovely little flowers emerging here and there. I can’t help but think that maybe their a little early this year? In 2010 with the late May frost that caught many of us out up the allotments we lost all our first flush of strawberries. With the frost turning those delicate flower centres black. Strawberry flowers I’ve often taken for granted in the past. It’s not until you stop and bend down for a closer look you can appreciate their beauty.

Tree-rrific! The fruit tree’s are in.

Hooray, at last! Finally we’ve gotten the minarette fruit trees in down the plot. Much like the raspberries we’ve been waiting patiently for the right conditions to transplant our lil trees into their  final home. Ordered back in November from Ken Muir, due to the snow and cold the bare-root trees  did not arrive until a little annoyingly, just before christmas. But thankfully we had potted them up and tucked them into a cosy corner of the plot to wait it out until the conditions where right.

There’s something significant to planting trees, a feeling of achieving something momentous. To think that what you’re planting has the potential to outlive the person that planted it, well it calls for a bit of respect. Ok they may just be minarette cordon fruit trees but still they are the first trees I’ve ever planted and I’ve been nervous about getting them in. Do it right do it once as the mantra goes. After researching  and preparing the ground with manure and potash from our News Years day bonfire, getting the kit together (tree stakes and ties) we were ready. So this was to be it the weekend Mr Wilson and I planted our trees! Continue reading “Tree-rrific! The fruit tree’s are in.”