The only edible thing I’ve found so far on our abandoned plot is horseradish.
When I took on the plot the area at the far end was really overgrown with reed-like plants and also this mass of huge leaves that looked like giant dock leaves.
Horseradish leaves on the allotment
I wasn’t sure what they were and I started clearing them away. Some googling suggested they could be horseradish, which apparently likes damp ground and is so easy to grow that it often spreads so much it can start to take over.
Here’s what I found under the mass of wet leaves: horseradish roots!
It turns out horseradish is tricky to harvest, or mine is anyway. I dug in and tried to extract a root intact but what I ended up with didn’t really look like this nice photo in the Guardian.
Here it is all cleaned up, grated and ready to be added to mashed potato to make sausages and horseradish mash.
If you grow your own horseradish can I recommend NOT taking a deep, experimental sniff of it when it’s freshly grated? It turns out fresh horseradish is very pungent.
It’s been snowy and rainy here for the last few days so I haven’t been to the plot for nearly two weeks – the longest I’ve left it since we started.
We’ve also had really strong winds so I was a bit anxious to visit today and see if anything had been blown around. The perimeter fence had blown down (it was on its last legs anyway so not a disaster), someone had dumped an empty builders’ sack over the fence (which is actually quite handy for covering the incinerator with – thank you fly tippers of North Tyneside) but the big news of the day was that the broad beans have sprouted! I planted them on 1 December despite being advised that they wouldn’t grow over winter this far north. They’re the Claudia Aquadulce variety which is meant be very hardy and so far the sprinklings of snow and frost clearly haven’t bothered them.
There’s no sign yet of the daffodil or crocus bulbs, or the garlic, so I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for them.
Let’s see if the beans survive to spring.
It was pretty cold and windy on the allotment today so I just stayed for an hour or so, digging up more bindweed roots, clearing rubbish and putting some of the tyres and scrap metal to use, as you can see from the photo above.
I also uncovered these two plants amongst a pile of dead weeds and rubbish. They look familiar and I’d thought perhaps they were lupins but now I’ve googled, I don’t think so. Any ideas?