20 December 2012

La Gomera and Tenerife photos

Here's the Photo album from my recent trip to La Gomera and Tenerife. Either view the photos individually with captions ,or as a full screen slideshow. They include the usual assorted food ,veg and flowers as well as mountains. 

On La Gomera I stayed in San Sebastian the capital, before moving on to Vallehermoso in the north of the island and then Valle Gran Rey on the west coast.
Damage caused by the severe August 2012 fires in the central mountainous area and the higher Valle Gran Rey villages ,after virtually no rain last winter, is still fairly obvious.However the more recent heavy rains seem to be helping nature fight back.
So please no moaning about how wet our own summer has been ,just make sure that your veggies have swimming lessons.
Bus times on La Gomera seem to be planned to fit in with the ferry transfers rather than the needs of  island walkers (and the locals?), but with a bit of planning and the aid of Sunflower Landscapes "La Gomera" blue book a lot of very good walks can be done including several straight from the door in the various places I stayed.

After La Gomera I took the ferry back to Tenerife and stayed the last few nights in the capital Santa Cruz ,near the eastern tip of the island close to the Anaga mountains.
Tenerife has a very good integrated bus service plus a new tramway between Santa Cruz and La Laguna.Top tip is to buy a Bono-via ticket which you can then use on any bus or tram at discounted rates.
The main spine of the Anaga mountains and the surrounding coastal villages are well served by local buses and you can do a wide variety of interesting walks.I only scratched the surface in the short time I was there ,so it's a place that I want to go back to. The last Thursday of my stay coincided with a national holiday and the bus was jam packed with locals who on alighting at various spots then disappeared down trails aided by their long wooded walking poles. Perhaps they were all millionaire pensioners using their free bus passes.

8 December 2012

December salads and greens

Went over to the allotment this morning having been away walking on La Gomera and Tenerife for the last fortnight. From the weather reports I'd expected more signs of frost damage than I found.
Glad that I didn't dig in the rocket and other leaves before I went away as there's still a good crop to be had.

Winter leaves mix

Californian mix
Washed leaves
Also cut another head of Cavolo Nero, some green chard and dug up a couple more parsnips.

I,ll mix these greens in with the purple sprouting broccoli still in the fridge from before I went away.
Took a few more shots of the plot and the site in general for the annals,including the new rows of summer raspberries that I managed to plant in the sea of mud about a month ago.

Glen Ample,Magna & Leo canes.Space between the rows will house strawberry containers next spring

I'll  be posting up my Canaries photos after a bit of editing.

2 November 2012

Early November back garden

I hoped to have planted my newly arrived summer raspberry canes over on the allotment this week but it's a bit of a mud bath at the moment.However, I have managed to tidy up the back garden and do some planting in between the showers.
Now that I've got the allotment ,the garden beds can be given over to soft fruit and shrubs.My bumper pack of raspberry canes included the everbearing variety Autumn Bliss, which I've planted either side of the existing ones to complete a whole bed.
After some switching round there are now three fruit beds (raspberries,gooseberries,jostaberries) ,an asparagus bed ,with shrubs in the other two for all year round colour.I've also under planted with spring and early summer bulbs.
I took some photos in a bright spell after the heavy hailstorm this morning.There are still some late blooms and the new planting already gives a boost to the existing autumn colour.

Old elderberry tree removed and spring shrub pruned back

I'll need a bonfire

New shrubs: Phormium,Robinia and Cordyline for the Antipodean look

This year's raspberries still going strong
The harts tongue ferns like the cool ,damp shade

I might get some asparagus spears next year?

The hellebore leaves will soon need cutting right back to show the new buds
Autumn colours in the "alpine karst" bed
Purple loosestrife

Late flushes of antirrhinums

14 October 2012

Supersize parsnip

I'll need an even bigger fork if there are more like this one.

12 October 2012

Early Autumn Offerings

I'm pleased with my first attempt at growing sweetcorn and given the wet summer was surprised that the plants produced decent sized cobs. Starting on an Autumn clear up and making some changes to the layout so I picked the remaining cobs this morning.Cooked some as a starter this evening.The pale unripe cobs taste as nice as the golden ones ,but this might be due to the added salt,pepper and butter!

The red chard is still going strong.One of my favourite ways to cook it is with (Nicola) potatoes and puy lentils.
Last night's leftovers were baked with fresh chorizo sausage to produce a variant on toad in the hole.

22 September 2012

Aiguestortes - Catalunya Pyrenees photos

Had a fantastic trip to the Val D'Aran and Aiguestortes/St Maurici area of the Catalunya Pyrenees in early September ,including a walk between 9 refugis on the Carros de Foc route.
Here's a link to the photos including some of the local allotments!

Late September bumper crops

I've been away in the Catalonia Pyrenees for the last couple of weeks and came back to more bumper crops.The green and red chard ,and dwarf beans seem to be the stars so far this year.

California and Winter leaf mixes

Last of the broad beans

21 August 2012

Dachstein Alps photos

Photos from the hut to hut tour in the Dachsteingebirge that I did with my pal Ernie in early July this year.
Lots of wonderful flowers as well as scenery and you'll see that we didn't suffer on the food and drink front.

17 August 2012

More summer veggies

The bottom half of the plot sown at the end of May is now producing a lot more stuff.As long as there's a bit of sun the plants seem quite happy sitting between the lumps of wet clay.
Got caught in a downpour this evening going over the allotment to fill a colander with veggies for my tea so took the photos when I got home after the rain stopped.

Beetroot,two types of chard and dwarf beans and the last of the peas
Red chard "Fantasy" and Lincoln peas

Swiss chard "Lucullus"

Butter bean "Golden Glow"

Dwarf bean "Delinel"

Beetroot "Cylindra"
Have just discovered the delights of roasted beetroot ,cooked in olive oil until slightly caramelised and finished with a little balsamic vinegar. Eaten hot or as cold leftovers. Yum.

The smell of drying garlic is keeping the vampires away.Here's the crop that I dug up last week. I'm pleased with the results considering it got a late start and a move between the garden and allotment part way through.

7 August 2012

Pea and potato bonanza

I'm pleased with the Lincoln peas from the garden and allotment.Having only grown mangetout in recent years I hadn't provided sufficient support for this traditional variety and some of the burgeoning pods are well hidden in the thick mass of growth. Perhaps it's all due to this year's high rate of natural watering. I must try out more successions next year as you can't beat the taste of peas fresh from the pod.

Also lifted most of the second bed of potatoes planted after Easter. I think that they are mainly Nicola
(cream skins ) with a few Catriona (white with purple blushes).

There was an attack of blight on the site a couple of weeks ago and while most of this crop seem clean there are some with blight spots ,so I'll need to eat my way through the good ones rather than try to keep them.Of the five varities that I've grown this year the Nicola have the best texture (waxy) and are equal first on flavour with the Edgecote Purple (which I previously thought were a blue variety)

2 August 2012

Early August on the allotments

Spent part of today digging up the rest of the top bed of potatoes and remodelling this section to fit in with the fencing.Instead of unlucky 13 I'll now have 12 full width beds with narrow borders at the top and bottom of the plot.
Planted out four globe artichokes in the border and also sowed some speedy veg Californian Mix salad in the widened 12th bed. I'll probably add some perennial flowers to the top border and settle them in before the colder weather.

I also took some more photos of  the site.
It's still less than 5 months since we got onto the land in late March. Pretty impressive progress all round.
Try hovering on the photos!

28 July 2012

PSB sprouting too early

I didn't expect to be cutting summer calabrese and purple sprouting broccoli at the same time ,but this year's weather pattern seems to have decided otherwise. Perhaps it was sown a bit too early.
While I love the purple variety I really need to be eating my way through the broad beans and peas while they are at their best!

psb already sprouting in garden and allotment

Almost a colander full

Also dug up a couple of garlic plants to see how the crop is doing.It was planted fairly late and didn't get the necessary frost so I doubt if the heads will get very developed.
Found a decent sized head with a smaller one attached.The other was a very small bulb but with a fresh green stem.
 I'll start harvesting the rest to eat in the green or freeze.Last year I lost a lot as the dried bulbs soon rotted off.