July is bursting out all allotment

We’ve got more potatoes than we know what to do with plus beetroot, onions, garlic and rhubarb going into the freezer. Not bad for a first year. What we don’t have are some of the lovely rarities that other people have managed to establish – see picture!

I really want a vine that we can harvest for grapes – dessert grapes might be pushing it a bit, but we could grow wine grapes I reckon. Of course, to succeed we’d need to have a greenhouse (and we don’t even have a shed yet!) so I’m overreaching myself more than a little bit, but the idea’s been planted and now I am browsing catalogues to see which would be the best variety.

Of course you can make wine from anything (the rhubarb in the freezer for example) and now my mind is also running over what crops might be convertible to a cheeky little vintage in a few year’s time. Do you make wine from allotment crops? If so, what’s your best recipe?

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Monday, July 14, 2008


Blogger Claire said...

I've not made wine. I decided to try Elderflower Champagne this year but it didn't go to plan. It grew mould and although some people say just to scoop that off, I found it really off putiing.

Can I ask you about my fennel? It seemed to be doing really well but now it's starting to seed and there's very little bulb as such - and what there is is really tough. Where have I gone wrong? Any tips?

July 14, 2008 at 2:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck with the grapes. I've got a retaining wall that would suit them well, so am thinking about it, although I'm a little worried about the work entailed: pruning, etc.

Let us know what variety you choose. I'll be looking for a very sweet grape to satisfy my sweet tooth.

Regarding dessert fruits, my strawberries last year were a disaster, the problem being possoms, which I never solved satisfactorily, but also I did not have an automatic watering system set up: unless I can get the time to set same up this year, I won't do them again. Without daily watering they're not an option, and we go away quite a lot now. A decent watering system would also go for if I do the grapes or not.

Mark Hubbard

July 15, 2008 at 2:15 PM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Claire - I think I would find mould on champagne off-putting too!

Fennel is very prone to bolting - first, try not to let it get too warm in the germination period. Second, if you really want to ensure that your fennel makes fat bulbs, rather than bolts, be sure to give it plenty of nitrogen, water well in dry weather and soil needs to be drawn around the bottom of the bulbs from the point they are about golf ball sized. After which, if you earth them up, they should double in size in about three to four weeks.

Mark, I know what you mean - strawberries are very greedy drinkers and possums are very greedy eaters!

July 16, 2008 at 9:36 AM  

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