Picking the Produce. 13th May 2017

We are now starting to benefit from our hard work on the allotment. There are still vegetables to plant out but we are also reaping the rewards from both last years and this years planting.

The purple sprouting broccoli has kept us in veg for the last few months and although the florets are getting smaller the plants are still producing well. We covered them in a netting cage which has kept the pigeons away. Last year we just threw netting over the plants but I’m sure the pigeons just bounced on it until they were able to pick the florets through the holes. It does mean climbing into the cage to pick the veg but it’s good exercise for the thighs. I’ve also been picking some of the large broccoli leaves for juicing so nothing is wasted.

We are starting to pick last years chard and that will keep us going until the new chard plants, which we planted as seeds, are ready. The old plants then start to go to seed but it’s worth overwintering them for picking at this time of year.

The kale seeds that I sowed late last summer and overwintered as baby plants inside a plastic ring were planted out in early spring. They are now producing their first good sized leaves so I will start picking them as soon as the broccoli is finished.

We are now self sufficient in lettuce and radish and will keep planting seeds at regular intervals throughout the summer. I sow the lettuce seeds inside a plastic ring (cut from a large plastic water bottle) This protects them from slugs and bad weather and once the plants are a few inches high I plant them out. My husband would like me to plant them in neat rows but I prefer to plant a block with the plants only a few inches apart. This means that I can cope with the slugs eating a few and still get a good crop. I then pick leaves at regular intervals rather than letting the lettuce grow large.

It’s a lovely time of year as every time we visit the allotment everything has grown in height and we come home laden with produce.