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Allotment Food

July 4, 2013

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It’s my favourite time of the allotment year with beds almost full and at least four substantial crops this week with lots more to come over the next eight weeks. The climbing French beans are flowering as are the runner beans and there are rows of beetroot fattening up and masses of red and black currants awaiting the sun. I soaked the ground at the base of the currant bushes earlier this week to help swell the fruit.

I am driven to make meals using nothing more than the picked produce and some larder basics so last night it was broad beans stirred into a lemon risotto.

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I made a salad of lettuce leaves in a walnut dressing and added torn up French bread drizzled in olive oil and garlic and toasted in the oven for ten minutes. The added texture and crunch were a gorgeous contrast to the leaves and to the soft risotto rice.

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The onions have grown well and there are several more rows still to come. And although onions are relatively inexpensive to buy I love the way they transform from a small onion set the size of a crocus bulb into one or two here weighing 200 grams each.

This month there’s time to sow French beans directly in the ground- I chose Sprite for its long straight pencil pods. Beetroot and flat leaf parsley can be sown direct to fill gaps. I am also experimenting with broad beans sown in a 2 litre pot here to transplant on the allotment as soon as they reach 10cm. If we have an Indian summer there’s every chance these will crop in September.

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Here’s a seed pod picked last week from Helleborus argutifolius with the seeds black and ripe and ready to sow in a seed tray. Welsh poppies and Aquilegia ‘ Black Barlow have also formed seed heads and these I’ll scatter direct around the garden.

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Cosmos Sensation is in full flower as are the white sweet peas below…

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