On the move & enjoying the harvest

We’ve been over to Wales again this last week so not much time on the plot. I must say we’re lucky in this country, we may not have the Spanish sun but our countryside is world class. And when you’ve had enough peace and quiet, there’s always the seaside resort. Fish and chips on the beach at Llandudno, unbeatable!

The reason for these trips to Wales isn’t just a holiday, we’ve been looking for a smallholding. It’s a dream we’ve had for a long, long time and we think we’re nearly there. We’ve sold our house and had an offer accepted on a 4 acre holding in North Wales.

Of course, nothing is certain yet. Buying and selling houses is such a nightmare. We’ve moved quite a lot in our time and I’m very aware how things can go wrong. However, we’ve a good feeling on this move. All being well it will be sometime in September.

Anyway, back to the plot for a couple of hours on Sunday. Looking back on some of my previous diary entries you could be forgiven for thinking I’m a bit of a moaner. It’s either too hot, too cold, too wet or too dry. If the plants are growing, I’m moaning about the weeds. If they’re not growing, then I’m really moaning!

So today, no moaning. The first port of call was the carrot barrels. I’m still thinning out so we’re enjoying sweet young carrots leaving their brethren to grow on. When you think about it, it’s pretty amazing how we can get enough carrots for our needs from just a few square feet. In truth, we get more than we need as we end up giving some away.

Next it was down to the brassicas. Val wanted some calabrese which wasn’t a problem at all. The heads are a little smaller than I’ve had in the past but there’s plenty of them. I just cut the main head off with my secateurs and leave the stem to produce a few secondary heads.

It’s funny how you can look at something and not see it. Val asked if we’d any cauliflowers and just as I was saying “I don’t think so yet” I realised there were two lovely cauliflowers in front of me, just ready to harvest.

We do freeze cauliflowers but they’re best eaten fresh as they always end up a little too soft when cooked. If you leave them too long in the ground the heads open up and they go over. The tip I picked up from the show growers is to wrap the cauliflower tightly in clingfilm and it will keep quite happily in the fridge for a week or two.

The final harvesting was to dig up a row of potatoes. These are actually first earlies whose haulm went down some weeks back and they should have come up a good month ago. Still, not a bad result, two carrier bags full with only a few slug damaged and I only managed to stab one with the fork.

So Sunday evening we sat down to dinner which consisted of one of Grannie Annie’s chickens, our own potatoes, carrots and calabrese. Absolutely delicious. I really don’t think money can buy that ‘picked an hour ago’ taste.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
5 comments on “On the move & enjoying the harvest
  1. Allan says:

    well done on the buying and selling….. north wales , near to the warm air of the gulf stream, it will be interesting to hear in the future how things maybe a little further forward in the growing season.

    Best of luck


  2. Cathy says:

    Wow – 4 acres, that sounds like a dream of mine! I will wait, with baited breath, for the ‘Essential Smallholding guide’ to be published!!

  3. Val says:

    How do you grow enough carrots in a barrel? My husband and I eat about 7 carrots a week, 365 in a year. is it possible to grow this many in barrels and is it worth it cost wise? What do you use as a growing medium, and does it need changing every year? I have grown a handful in a 10″ plant pot but the sand and compost probably cost more than buying the carrots from the supermarket!!

  4. John says:

    I’ve 5 segments cut from a plastic barrel, cylinders about 18″ high. See my Veg Growing in Small Spaces for mixes etc.
    As for quantity, we’re more than self-sufficient in carrots but I’ve never counted them as such.

  5. Malcolm Casson says:

    Just to say congratulations & especially thank-you for the advice over the last 3 years since I statrted resurrecting an abandoned allotment. Your vegetable growing book was one of the few things rescued from my written off car last month.
    Like your update I have bought a property with land – 3 acres – which I will move into next year. It’s in north-west France so shouldf be warmer than my allotment at halfway up a hill in the north Pennines in Durham. I will still use this site as there is a possibility then of beekeeping & poultry, as well as planting an orchard of 20+ apple trees – my legacy!?.
    I appreciate that you will have access to all sorts of info re smallholding but would like to pass on the details of 2 books which I have recently bought which, although aimed possibly at a larger scale than our acreage, seemed to have been written by people with actual hands-on experience – like your own books (3 of which I own)- practical & readable.
    Salad Leaves for All Seasons by Charles Dowding
    Organic Fruit Production & Viticulture by Stella Cubison.

    Looking forward to you keeping the site going & updating it with your smallholding experiences. This site is invaluable when faced with challenges or for inspiration to try that something new each year.

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