Welcome to our plot!

I'm Hazel, and in Nov 2006 my friend Jane and I took on a half plot at Hill Allotments, Sutton Coldfield - we want the satisfaction of growing and eating our own fruit and veg, and to improve our diet (and fitness!).

This is the story of what happened next...........

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Not Parsnips AGAIN....!

Straight after New Year we’ve had a VERY COLD SNAP – not still & frosty so much as wind chill of minus-quite-a-lot & snow in some areas. It all warmed up a bit by the weekend, though, so I took the opportunity to go to the Hill & finish digging in the green manure (plot D legumes this year).

The ground it still soft so I did the digging row by row standing on a plank. I’ve perfected the technique from last week, so there are fewer stray green bits still on top of the soil!

I saw Chrissie Best Newcomer from further up, her back half plot is adjacent to the hawthorn hedge so she was busy knocking that into order. I foisted a parsnip onto her, & she said that I must have some lime off her, which means I won’t have to buy any from Wilko. Hurrah!

Looking at the parsnips, I think that we’ve eaten about a third of them – I had parsnip soup again this week – so the sooner I can get myself organised for parsnip wine, the better.

I’ve bought a Wilko all-in-one wine kit in order for me to familiarise myself with the principles involved. You brew it all in a bucket (rather than a demijohn) which I would not have thought ideal, & the whole lot is supposed to be ready in a week. Not Chateau Neuf de Pape then.

After 6 days it has stopped ‘working’ & when I tested it this afternoon it had a specific gravity of less than one – which means (I think) that it is absolutely dry as a bone. In order to stop my mouth shrinking to the size of a drawing pin when I drink it, I’ve ‘meddled’ with the bucket & added a little more sugar. Having consulted C J J Berry, I figured that it may reactivate the yeast & get it fermenting some more, or at the very worst it might sweeten the wine slightly. If it’s got no more ‘fizz’ tomorrow I’ll continue the process of emptying sachet ‘this’ & stirring finings ‘that’ into the mix & then give it a first siphoning & give it a taste!

Although the weather is dull, the seed catalogues abound, so I’ve had a sort through the seed box & put a load of seeds up for grabs on the GYO grapevine forum, & today I have spent a happy afternoon addressing envelopes & packaging up seeds for sending out in the post tomorrow.
I’ve been the recipient of some tasty sounding seeds too – particularly some squash seeds from Nevi in the Netherlands, & some interesting tomatoes & peppers from Manda in Wiltshire. The seeds from the Heritage Seed Library have also arrived - all from my 'first choice' list too.

One of last year’s less successful areas was the ‘everything else’ crops, & I want to make an effort to do better at these this year! The obvious problem was with blight on the tomatoes, of course, which everyone seemed to be struck with, but the squash went in far too late, & given that I also want to grow peppers & cucumber this year, I need to pay a bit more attention to what day of the week it is, as it were!

1 comment:

  1. Cheers!
    Parsnips make a potent brew - loads of natural sugar.
    I'll be checking your spelling when you've drunk that lot! Well done lass.


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