August – the harvesting month!
Quoting from the old proverb that "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery", I’m prepared to admit that I do borrow the odd idea from Sarah Raven. So, after another brilliant display of spring alliums, Jill, my plot buddy and I gathered the spent flowers and are currently hanging them safely in the greenhouse. The plan is to spray them silver or gold and use them as centrepieces for Christmas decorations - as well as reminding us of the flowers we’ll be enjoying again the following spring.
In the meantime, the smaller, later alliums (Allium sphaerocephalon) are still buzzing with bees, as are the Echinacea purpurea and lavender of course and together they are keeping our flower borders very bee busy indeed.
The August Glut
So, what do allotment holders do with the abundance of produce in August? Well foremost, we organise a weekly collection of surplus produce every Friday morning, which is donated to local organisations and charities. So, if you're a plot holder and you haven't already shared some produce, now is a great time to start - as we'll keep collecting until until our plants stop cropping! We'll keep everyone updated via the noticeboards.
The most conspicuous surplus to be experienced by most gardeners is of course courgettes, swiftly transforming into marrows when we’re not looking!
Last year however, I discovered a useful recipe for courgette/zucchini boats. Essentially the squash is sliced lengthways and the inner seeds are scooped out and laid aside while the lengths are rubbed with sea salt, pepper and oil and baked in a hot oven for 10 minutes.
At the same time sauté your choice of ingredients – my favourite mixture is spring onion, garlic, chillies, tomatoes with plenty of seasoning and for a non-vegetarian option you could add mince. When cooked down, stir in the scooped-out seeds and transfer the mixture to the boats, top with your favourite cheese and return to the oven until the cheese is melted. This recipe is so versatile, just use whatever ingredients you prefer and essentially the courgette ‘boat’ offers a healthy alternative to a pizza base.
Looking ahead to the Annual show
Finally, we’re all hoping for good weather for the Highbury show on Sunday the 29th August. Full details are available at both gates. (I keep picking my sweet peas in the hope they’ll last long enough to be entered, fingers crossed!)