G, H, I of an Allotment and Kitchen

On with the mystery magical tour

G is for Green Tomatoes and Gem Squash

G is for Gem Squash – a South African variety of squash which can be eaten young or stored over winter. A small vining squash that produces numerous Gems. Delicious eaten when boiled (you prick the skin first) for 20 to 30 minutes, cut the top off, scoop the seeds out and add a dab or two of butter, some salt and pepper and if you like it some ground allspice. Eat with a spoon – let’s call it a meal in its own bowl.

And the other G’s? Well there is always Grass to mow and a Harvest of  Heirloom/Heritage Green tomatoes to ripen, except if they are called Green Doctor, and are a tasty cherry tomato green with a pinkish-red hue.

H is for Herbs, Hanging Baskets, Heritage or Heirloom varieties

No kitchen or garden should be without Herbs and spices, somehow I never seem to manage to grow enough. But I do enjoy seeing the Coriander flowers, so pretty and delicate, a bonus to bolting herbs.

I grow a couple of tomato plants that are perfect for Hanging Baskets, they are the first to produce and take so little room. teeny red or yellow cherries to tempt the passer-by, or a quick fix for a lunch time snack.

I grow plenty of Heritage or Heirloom varieties be it tomatoes, carrots, beans or peas. Vegetables with a long history, of differing colours, of non-uniformity, of fabulous taste. A celebration in it’s own right.

I is for Icicle Radish, Iznick Cucumber Ice Cold Beer,

You can see I was starting to struggle here can’t you ! I had to reach for my seed packets for inspiration.

I grow Icicle radishes pretty much every year, a firey white long tapered radish, but they have all been snaffled and munched.

What I do still have growing  are Iznick Cucumbers, a small snack-sized cucumber that can be grown outdoors. It’s another of the F1’s which I’m trying to wean myself off, but so far I’ve yet to find a great replacement. It’s delicious eaten young, not too seedy and the skin doesn’t need peeling. Perfect for salads but my favourite is to eat them thinly sliced and served with a dressing of rice wine vinegar, lime and a pinch of sugar alongside some stor fried noodles.

And when living so close to the sea there is always the possibility that I abandon the allotment, garden and kitchen and just head out to a bar overlooking the beach for an Ice Cold Beer or Glass of Wine, of course I could have an Ice Cream but can’t handle the dairy. Hey-ho, that’s the way life works out! I’ve Gone to the beach


    • 🙂 LOL I’m working on J, K and L. I think the trickest is X !! maybe I could go for XTREME gardening 🙂 Lovely to see you back Marie !!

  • Fabulous!
    When we got back home from living in Mauritius for nearly 3 years, all I wanted to eat was gems – they weren’t available there so for a couple of weeks, it was gems with everything!
    Enjoy a glass of wine for me to at the beach bar please. I am still stuck behind the computer for a while….
    🙂 Mandy xo

    • Thank you Mandy. I’m presuming you eat the squash the same way I do? It does make me giggle when I think back to my intorduction to them – a S African friend spotted them one time in the supermarket and pretty much cleared them out. Every year around Spetember time he would go on the hunt for them, and bemoan the other S African’s for getting there first and snaffling them all 🙂

  • Nature has an incredible way of smoothing out our days, whether the beach, a forest, wind in the trees….tinkling streams….

    • 🙂 You know I have made a list of the A,B,C’s in my notebook, and it’s constantly growing! I think I might take a photo of my notebook next 🙂

  • Morning Claire .. what an amazing variety of vegetables you grow in your allotment! Very inspiring, you are! Now I would like to grow a variety of tomatoes and squash next year! Yes, a book for all your very creative gardening writing!

  • I didn’t know gem squash was South African! And now I know which radishes are suddenly growing in my garden 🙂

    • Hi Tandy, I think they are, at least I always associate them with S Africa!
      And 🙂 at the radish growing in your garden, they have a great peppery flavour – YUM lucky you !

  • Not knowing anything about your garden but the variety of the harvest, one would think you’re tending a small farm. It’s really something, Claire, and I especially like the bowl of heirloom tomatoes. So colorful! Your hard work certainly has paid off.

    • I think tomatoes are a real favourite to grow, the flavour is just astounding, as in good! It’s a shame that this year I won’t be able to make any sauces for the freezer, not enough plants left after the Bloght hit. And you know John, it’s amazing what you can cram into a small space 🙂

    • Oh great, hopefuly you’ll get to give them a go next year, so little space is needed for them, and there are varieties like Tumbling Tom which are perfect for them !

  • Tomato plants in hanging baskets?!! I don’t have room for a garden, though I do grow herbs, I will definitely look into doing this next year! What a great idea! (gee, I so miss going to the beach!)

    • That would be fabulous, you can hang them from anything and enjoy a sunny spot – they are easy to please 🙂
      and of course you have moved haven’t you, but I’m sure there are some fabulous new spots to explore where you are – maybe lovely strolls through parks, or wanders through woods or maybe even lakes to sooth the spirit

  • Hanging baskets for tomatoes and herbs. What a great idea. Even I have space for that!
    I had to do a double check in my kitchen that you hadn’t nicked my tomatoes for that shot:-)
    Very curious about the X and the Z. Oh no hang on just thought of a really obvious one for Z.
    Nice gone to the beach sign (had to be mentioned:-))

      • Have approx 95% of my balcony back….wasn’t a lot to do. But still can’t go on it as still busy with upstairs’. I have several ideas for x and z. I will email them so don’t spoil the surprise for everyone else in case you use any of them:-)

  • I like the look of the little Gem Squashes and I’m so impressed at the A-Z so far Claire! I too was hoping that you had discovered an Ice Cold Beer plant 🙂

    • I think the Ice cold beer plant would be popular, mind you I have an ice cold wine plant growing, just doesn’t have any grapes yet 🙂 and thank you!

  • I like the idea of growing tomatoes in hanging baskets! And herbs are always good. The coriander flowers taste great too, you know…. with philly cream cheese on bread!

  • I am impressed with so many “I” words! Your garden has really been abundant and those tomatoes are to be envied! You seem to really have the touch, Claire, and what a nice reward to head to the shore for a cold one or a nice glass of wine at the end of a day! Debra

    • Thank you Debra, sometimes I think it is sheer bloody-mindednes that puts the food on the table! But most of all it’s my hobby, my pleasure, my recreation and solace. Well ok a glass of wine is all of those things too !! wishing you a super week ahead

  • Going to the beach sounds like a great idea, and together with ice cold beer… we understand; you’re not a fanatic. You just like fruit and vegetables, and to live the good life. How wonderful!

    • Smiling away here Shimon, it’s about finding a balance, which at times, as everyone knows, can be hard to reach. Somedays I just roll with things and if it’s warm enough then a beer near the beach is a perfect way to wind up a day. Cheers !

  • That cucumber dressing sounds good, Claire — I’ll have to try it before cucumbers disappear with summer here. On this side of the pond, G is for Grand, H is for Happy and I is for intoxicated (without the need for beer or wine) — I am in love and it is requited! Which explains what I am doing up at 3:30 AM — can’t sleep.

    • I did notice, and wondered what the time difference was! G could be for giddy, lovely news to share Sharyn!
      And this wil make you smile – I’m cooking the mackerel curry again – just walked down to the beach and picked another one up 🙂 It was a lovely morning, a bit blustery, but warm enough to walk without a jumper, and hearing the waves crash on the beach always giddies me up for a good day 🙂

  • I’m so glad to see you taking time for the beach after all your hard work! Your garden photos are always inspiring! Right now, I’m taking solace from the words of Thomas Cooper: “A garden is never so good as it will be next year”. I’m also getting much good information from Joy Larkcom’s book; thank you for the recommendation!

    • Hi Cindy, what a wonderful quote, and so true! Us gardeners are always looking to next year, what we will do differently, what will be better. Forward looking and optomistic sums us up!
      That’s wonderful that you jave Joy’s book, I find it invaluable, if I have a question she usually has the answer – simply written and you know she HAS done it herself. Hope you have a bright week Cindy

    • Thank you Karen, it’ scertainly been a very mixed year in the garden, but no matter how cool or wet we still have some crops to enjoy. Besides there is always next year !

  • I’m curious to see how you finish out some of the more difficult letters!

    And, by chance, do you remember the name of the variety of tomato in the bottom left corner of that bowl? It’s super dark purple and looks oh-so-nice.

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