Saturday, 3 January 2009

A mini harvest of parsnips and carrots

Beautiful weather this afternoon - a very hard frost last night followed by clear gentle winter sunlight all day today, so I spent an hour on the allotment digging up the last of the parsnips and a few carrots for supper tonight. The soil was hard and frosted down about four inches despite the sunshine, though of course at this time of year the sun is from such a low angle, the plot will have been in shade for much of the morning so only benefited for maybe three hours.

Never being quite sure what's about to emerge is one of the joys of growing your own and sure enough, the parsnips ranged from huge and fat to small and dumpy. A couple were seriously entwined!

Very pleased with the carrots I dug out today too - a couple were full of holes but the rest well grown and pleasingly undamaged. They will flavour lamb casserole for supper later.

Also harvested some Jerusalem artichokes - they are practically pushing themselves out of the ground as I didn't get round to cutting down the plants above, which are now brown and leaning at a precarious angle after the winds earlier in the autumn. Enough for a week from just one plant, and still five or six left to harvest. We will enjoy them roasted through January and February - much more flavoursome than artichoke soup, which I find more insipid than creamy.

Brussells sprouts and broccoli a big disappointment despite my magic cage (see September posting). It just wasn't big enough to protect the mature plants, which I thought would be able to look after themselves but have been decimated by the pigeons. A useful lesson and I'll be building a bigger one this year.

Paul and I took a walk over Nonsuch Park and enjoyed watching the sun setting around 4.00 pm.