Thursday, September 01, 2005

Rain didn't stop play - it was the heat

This was the crafty photo that Pat took yesterday, which wouldn't load - you can now see why! Lucky I had not yet got his old floppy white cricket hat and long sleeve shirt on which is my 'uniform' for allotment gardening brilliant for scaring the pigeons whilst I am working!

How come everyone got thunderstorms and rain last night and today, and we didn't get a drip. My sons who live in different parts of England, always think that I am telling stories when we repeatedly miss the rain.

I had hoped for a sprinkling at least as I have seedlings to go in, but it was far too hot for us to venture up there today, and the seedlings would have fried.

It did mean that I was finally forced to pot up some strawberry runners that have been sitting in a trug of water for a week. But some had sprouted roots, so that was an unexpected result! I potted up about 30, - a late fruiting variety,(I'll find out the name of them and add it to the site). I also potted up 70 a few weeks ago, for the proper strawberry bed I am preparing for next year. It is amazing how many new plants you can get from investing in a few plants to start with. Any surplus will go to the Garden Club to raise funds.

This learning curve that I am on - well I added another item to it today.

I decided to make another batch of ratatouille. I used onions, tomatoes, courgettes, all of which I grew myself and a jar of roasted peppers and an aubergine. I just chop them all up and put them in roasting tins, with a generous helping of black pepper. If you are not watching your waist a sprinkling of olive oil is very nice too, but it is just as tasty and slimming too if you leave it out. It was whilst I was cutting up the courgettes, (different varieties), that I noticed that two of them were a different colour and shape. I had inadvertantly let a few get bigger than usual, but I hadn't found that made much of a difference to the taste in the past; I just peel the skin off if it has thickened.

The skin was a pale green on the two that I was talking about - and I thought they were the white variety that I grew last year (you never get white skins) and the inside was a different texture and pale orange, swede colour. It was only when I tasted a bit raw, that I discovered that they were butternut squashes. They were that shape, but not peanut coloured like the ones you get in the shop. They somehow got mixed up in amongst the courgettes. I added them to the mix and the result was really tasty. So I now know that you can eat immature pumpkins and they taste fine. I must look them up on the internet, and see how big I should let them grow, and how long I should leave them to ripen, they will never turn a peanut brown though however hot it is.

Note for future reference - be careful about labelling!

I bagged up and froze 7lbs of very colourful ratatouille which will have to be renamed Summer Roasted vegetables.

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