The Germaican Allotment

A Unique Blend of German and Jamaican


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Growing Water Melon and Pumpkin

Rune growing nicely

Rune growing nicely

Edith growing nicely

Edith growing nicely

The opportunity to get ‘stuck in’ the allotment has not always presented itself over the past year. This has been primarily due to the arrival of our second child and subsequently all of our spare time has been essentially wiped out. Added to this, some additional working on the weekends and late nights and the whole allotment project has pretty much stalled for us. However, as the little ones are growing up and the work-life balance thingy is being addressed, we are hopeful that we will get back on course. Soon we will be back feverishly planting and harvesting bumper crops of our home-grown vegetables.

The German arm of this organisation is pretty good at…well organising.  So I expect I will be getting my work instructions imminently and I can’t wait to get back to working in the allotment, with our children ‘helping’ out. We love watching our little Water Melon and Pumpkin growing along with the crops in the allotment. Have a wonderful summer everyone!


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Nature has taken over

Sadly we have not managed to commit a lot of time to the allotment due to other commitments not at least a new addition to our family end of march. So, nature has taken over our plot in the meantime and it looks like this:

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The TomatoeIMG_20160525_101502457s, zucchini, cauliflower and sprouts I sow in March have come along nicely. they still reside in our little green house but need to go in the ground rather sooner than later ….

 

Benefits from this was that i could do another batch of Dandelion Flower Jam ( see recipe in last years post). This time I added some apple to give it more body. On the internet I saw someone made an Apple-Dandelion Marmalade which is also interesting, they used apple as the main ingredient for the jelly and the dandelion flower petals went in like sliced up orange or lemon peel would.

For thiss batch I used ca. 100 flowers, 2 apples and one Lemon. 1L water which resulted in 750/800 ml Dandelion “juice”, I added 1Kg of 1:1 Nordzucker Gelier Zucker (Jam Sugar) which made up five jars of jelly.

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Spring time

Spring is upon us. After the winter period where we did not manage to do a lot our plot is unfortunately in a bit of a sorry state. It calls for a complete overhaul and this time we need to book the rotavator to deal with it. The Shed also needs sprucing up and a new coat of paint.

Nevertheless I have started the season preparation and seeded out some Tomatoes, Peppers, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts and Zucchini in trays and put them into our little green house. With any luck we will have some white and green tomatoes, some brown, dark and black-purple tomatoes, hopefully some of Alessandro’s Italian tomatoes, small sweet peppers, some, apparently hot, chillis. Zucchini as well and hopefully they produce more than just flowers this year. Cauliflower and sprouts are just an experiment. Also in the green house, Sunflowers.

Next we need to prepare the plot and put in some potatoes.

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Harvest 2015

The season has come to an end, we have been very tardy in reporting about the proceedings on our allotment, but to be honest we have not managed to do a lot due to other commitments. So sadly what has grown the best on our patch were the weeds, and still are.

However, let us summarise the year so far:

  • We had some early potatoes which were rather small but nice.
  • We had some Callaloo. Of which we pre-grew some at home only to discover that it had self seeded and we growing where we had it last year and in other places. based on this experience we will have to try and contain it to one area next year. It is definitely a plant the you’d want to exclude from crop rotation.
  • It was not a good year for the tomatoes. We had probably the same amount of plants as last year but they only produced maybe 1/3 of what we had last year. A little disappointing.
  • Carrots, especially the ordinary ones seemed to grow fine so we sowed quite a few. However, just got the ones out the ground that I sewed first and they were rather small. Last year the Autumn King carrots were a decent size ….
  • The special varieties, Cosmic Purple, Purple Haze and Atomic Red sadly didn’t grew so well and the yield was a bit disappointing. even from the few that grew most are arrested in growth or misshapen.
  • Zuccini/Courgette – because we had such a good crop last year we planted 2 or 3 times as many plants this year ( you see a pattern here? You might think we like Zuccini, and you are right) but like the tomatoes the crop was disappointing. We did get a few fruit but not nearly as many as last year. In the beginning the plants were only producing male flowers.
  • The main crop Potatoes did yield a decent crop though thy have suffered some pests (worms).
  • The flowers I sew for the pollinators took a long time in coming. The marigold were really pathetic in the beginning but are still in bloom now. The borage however was a real success with the bees. The sunflowers grown from last years seeds were rather small but we ha a rouge Sunflower which had a decent size and apart from the big main flower it sported several small side flowers

The outlook will be to dig it all up again, get rid of the weeds and sow some green manure to try and get a hold on the weeds.Trim the hazel tree and the brambles. If we have a fie weather spell do some maintenance on the shed.

Harvest the remaining carrots which are all Autumn King I believe and stick them in the freezer

Maybe sow some broad beans or even parsnip or swede if we can manage.

cosmic purple

cosmic purple

purple haze

purple haze

atomic red

atomic red

main crop potatoes

main crop potatoes

Zuccini plant with fruit

Zuccini plant with fruit

male flowers on zuccini plant

male flowers on zuccini plant

rouge sun flower

rouge sun flower

The bees love borage

The bees love borage

Box full of Desiree and King Edward potatoes

Box full of Desiree and King Edward potatoes


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Tomatoes and Potatoes

IMG-20150525-WA0001 As the weather has been favourable for the last week or so we decided to get our tomatoes into the ground. We have lots more in our greenhouse and will pop those in very soon also. We will have to watch the water situation again this year and we expect a few days or more when it will be quite hot and without rainfall.

We got into the habit last year to water our tomatoes in the late evening just as the light is fading. We noted that if you over-water and over-feed tomatoes they can split, especially if there are the large variety. The hope this year is that we don’t lose as many due to rotting, pests, over-feeding. etc..

 

The potatoes are doing well and growing nicely. We have different varieties growing and we are looking forward to seeing how they grow this year. The plan is that we will grow more of a smaller selection, rather than diversify like we did last year. So, the ground has been dug up and we still have some weeding to do, but we will add Zucchini this week and perhaps more carrots.

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The Dandelion …. curse or a blessing?

well, well there is a Dandelion infestation in the allotments ….

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Now, Dandelion is undoubtedly a weed and a rather persistent one. However Dandelion is much more. In fact all parts of the plant are edible. It has great medicinal properties, especially regarding purification. So if you are thinking of a purification regime you should drink tea from dandelion leaves (fresh or dried) for several weeks. It is thought to be especially beneficial if you are suffering from gall or kidney problems.

The root can be dried, roasted and ground as coffee replacement. I have read that the roots will be sweeter towards autumn. The young leaves can also be eaten as a salad.

The flowers can be used a a tonic for external use, but they are also edible and can be used to cook honey or dandelion jelly. Basically google it and be amazed🙂

So, to reduce the flowers that will go to seed I decided to try the Dandelion Jelly or Löwenzahnblütengelee by attensaat:

  • Dandelion flowers (c. 250, I didn’t count and picked more than that), only the yellow parts, remove all the sepals (green bits). note: the flowers will deteriorate quite quickly so best prepare them immediately after picking. A light rinse is enough if there is no dogs or any other pollutant on the picking plot.
  • 1 lemon, unwaxed/organic, cut in slices
  • 1kg Jam sugar (depending what you use. I used a German 1:1 Jam sugar by Nordzucker; whatever you use work according to the instructions for your gelling agent)
  • 1l water

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Put the prepared flower parts in a pot, add sliced lemon and 1 litre water. Bring to the boil and take immediately off the fire. Store at room temperature over night. Strain the flowers and lemon “broth” in the morning, retaining the liquid. I got c. 900ml out of the process, probably cooked it slightly too long. The gelling agent I used used 750ml. Put in a pot, add gelling agent and cook accordingly.

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Test before filling into prepared (washed and rinsed) jars. Turn Jars upside down for cooling process.

The jelly has a fresh slightly tart but sweet taste.

Enjoy!


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First planting of 2015

Having recovered from a back and toe injury over the past week I managed to get out to the allotment today and plant our Home Guard 1st Early potatoes as planned. With images of wrinkly, wagging fingers from our local oldies and fellow allotmenteers, advising that Good Friday is the latest day that they should go in the ground, I heeded the advice and duly popped them in the ground.

Home Guard 1st Early potatoes in the ground on Good Friday

Home Guard 1st Early potatoes in the ground on Good Friday

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have other potatoes that are currently ‘chitting’ away in the shed and as the weather improves we will be busy this month preparing the ground for planting our early crops throughout April. We know that April is usually a month with ‘showers’ and we can expect plenty of rain over the next few weeks, with the occasional bright spells in between. I like this type of weather for getting out to dig and weed in the soft ground. It will take a few days to clear the plot completely but I have plans to rope in some help from younger members of the family (no, not the baby). This year we are sticking to a smaller range of crop and have rotated appropriately to work the soil as we have learned. Looking forward to another good year in the allotment!!

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