With the season well underway and plenty to do getting everything sown or planted out, most of us are already concerned with defending our young plants against the various pests and diseases that are ready to fall on them with whoops of joy.
A major worry for many allotmenteers is how to fight the good fight against pests and weeds without damaging the environment. If it’s a concern for you come along to share information and experiences at our next meeting in July which takes a look at this thorny issue.
Veg of the Month – Lettuce
Lettuce was often the vegetable gathered first out of the plot – signalling that summer had arrived. Time for a salad tea – lettuce, radishes and spring onions and later tomatoes and cucumber. Now every supermarket sells salad leaves all year round nevertheless few have that authentic taste of early summer that you get with one cut fresh from the allotment.
There are many varieties available, all easy to grow. One of the great things about lettuce is that it can be ‘smodged’ (a technical term) into a small space. We have plants growing on the edge of beds of peas, root vegetables and broad beans as well as among the flowers. Try planting different varieties over the spring and summer. A sowing of lettuce seeds every three to four weeks will provide you with fresh crisp salading from spring to autumn. Aside from weeding and watering, and fending off the slugs, there is little else to do .
Though lettuce is often used as the base of a salad it has other culinary uses. Julia Childs recommends braising lettuce with herbs and stock and serving them with melted butter. Braised lettuce and peas is also a great combination. Cut little gem lettuce in half and saute them in butter until they are wilted and a little charred. Take them out of the pan and add garden peas, mint and a little water and gentle simmer until the liquid has been reduced. Then return the lettuce to the pan to heat up again, with a further cube of butter if you dare, and a sprinkling of salt. Lettuce can also make a delicious summer soup mixed with all the ingredients available from the plot: peas, young broad beans, leeks, and spring onions along with any herb to hand including parsley, mint, fennel and chives.
There’s a Flower Show at Queen’s Park Arena on Saturday 1st June, 12pm – 5pm & with a community focus featuring activities/workshops on the environment & sustainability. There’s also a competition for growers of plants and flowers (details and contact Queens Park Flower Show).
We’ve also had an appeal from a student at Kelvin College
I’m a photography student studying at Kelvin College and currently doing a documentary project on allotments. I am really interested in visiting some allotments in Glasgow and was wondering how I would go about getting access to come in and take some photos and chat to a few people about their plots of land?
Hope to hear from you soon, Sophie.