J, K and L of the Allotment

Back on our A to Z of the allotment and kitchen

J is a tricky one, there is Jam, Jam Jars and Jam Pans.

This is my mum’s Jam Pan. I have fond memories of its use, not so much for jam but for marmalade. January and the Seville oranges are in season and for a few days the kitchen, no sorry the whole house, would have that wonderful sweet-bitter aroma of marmalade in the making.

I’ve used it since, many a time for a recreation of marmalade moments, carried it around with me from flat to flat and finally the house by the sea. But it’s on its last legs and for the last 3 years has resided in the shed waiting for its moment. It’s moment is to be a garden moment, the summer has seen it filled to the brim with parsley and coriander, the winter will see it, crossed fingers, as my one of my salad pots on the terrace. I just need to pluck up the courage and drill the drainage holes. I still haven’t worked out what to do with the lid !

J is also for Jerusalem Artichokes, Juniper Berries, Jasmine and Japanese Turnips – I need to remember to photograph the Jasmine and not let the Japanese Turnips go to seed in their trays, only to be destined for the compost heap!

K is for Kale and Kohl Rabi

Kale is a mainstay of a winter garden for me, alongside Chard and greens.

Kale seedlings are planted out in July, to give them time to put down roots and settle in for winter, netted against the pigeons they will survive all that winter decides to throw at them – be it frost, snow, rain and cold. My favourites are Cavelo Nero with its dark green-black leaves and Ragged Jack green frilled leaves tinged with red.

And now to a sorry little story and the advice is to avert your eyes if you are squeamish. The Kohl Rabi has not played nicely this year. This first batch was mowed down by slugs and snails. The second batch sown later in summer survived well, started to grow nicely and then, chomp, chomp, chomp. The Caterpillars found them and decided the leaves made a tasty snack. Thank you Caterpillars for providing this photo !

L is for Lettuce like you’ve never tasted before and Leeks for winter

I love lettuce – whether it’s a frilly Frisse, a soft Butterhead or a crisp Romaine. They are sown planted and harvested all year round, well that’s the plan, there are sometimes gaps where I’ve forgotten to sow, but that is soon amended. The Cut and Come Again salads will be sown in the Jam Pan and Pots on the terrace and the winter lettuces will be fleeced outside or in the greenhouse over winter. I need my salad fix !

My new lettuce lesson this year came in the form of how to make the prefect Caesar Salad, the instructions from The Kale Chronicles.  And the perfect Romaine lettuce for this is a favourite of mine to grow – Cimmaron a Leprechaun of a Lettuce

Leeks, I love ’em, what more is there to say? Planted in June or July and along with the winter greens on the plot will provide us with fresh food over winter. Soup anyone?


  • How deeply-dished is the lid? If it’s not completely flat, turn it upside down, fill it with marbles or small stones, and keep a little water in it for the bees and butterflies…
    Love the yummy lettuce pictures…I’m ‘without’ right now…things got too busy, and I haven’t sown more.

    • I know that word… Yet….. 🙂
      Lovely idea for the lid, no it’s not deep. As we are still working on re-doing the garden I ‘m going to look around for a spot for it. Thank you Marie !

    • !!! I’m sure it was you- maybe I’m getting my salads mixed up, it was a funny post where you said to only do it like this, and don’t add that…..oh heck my brain is frazzled !!

  • Wondrous photos Claire! I so much enjoy a tour about the allotment! The Cimmaron lettuce photo is just lush!

    • Thank you, it’s a delicious lettuce – crunchy with lots of texture and flavour, my favourite kind! And it stands up to heat, neglect and little water !!

  • I’m a lettuce lush too only I keep forgetting to plant more seeds for successful follow ons! The cinnamon lettuce looks great x

    • Thanks Yummy, I have some seemingly small things, that only really mean something to me, an dit’s all the memories that are in them that makes them special

  • We’re not growing any of your Js, but we have all the Ks and Ls in our garden!! 🙂 Our kohlrabi is growing really well this year, but only because we thought it was rare sprouting kale and carefully tended the seedlings instead of scattering the seeds into the bed as we usually do! 🙂

    • Ha, isn’t that just the way Celia, the things you plan turn out to be something entirely different. I feel a bit robbed of not having any kohl rabi as I love it in crunchy salads. Lucky you !!

  • yay for jam, cute use of the jam pot ….but kale is my favourite vegie at the moment, so flavoursome and substantial ….. and lettuce are always so pretty, even when the slugs are hiding deep down …… love your abc claire!

  • The lettuce is just beautiful! You have the touch! I have a pan similar to your jam pan that was my grandmother’s and although I rarely use it, it always brings back memories of her kitchen smells. And I have never had kohl rabi. I’m curious about that. Your garden is so varied and seems to have been very abundant. I just didn’t have as much success as I usually do, but I’ve enjoyed yours! 🙂 D

    • Thank you Debra, to be honest I don’t think this year has been very successful for me – my Kohl Rabi is a point, and don’t even mention winter squash and pumpkins, the poorest years so far. But hi ho !!
      Th epan is special, but was beyond using as a Jam pan and I wasn’t prepared to throw it away, so I’m going to use it for something else. memories are special aren’t they 🙂

  • I love to try new varieties, but I must admit that when I reach the lettuce section in a seed catalogue, I can’t face it — too many choices. So it’ll be straight to Cimmaron. Thanks!

    • There is so much choice isn’t there, from colours, and shapes and textures. I hope it grows well for you and that you enjoy eating it as much as we do !

  • How wonderful, Claire! I love your photos. Me too have an old saucepan that my mom gave me a long time ago, actually is my “rice pot”, only in it the rice cook the way I like it (Panamanian way) 😉 I’m still not ready to retire it, though 😉

  • It’s not very professional of those photographers from the ‘Daily Caterpillar’ too eat you Kohl Rabi!

  • I have to admit, Claire, that though a Jerusalemite, I don’t care much for the Jerusalem artichoke. I like the European kind. But I do love Kohl Rabi… and I love Leeks too. Make a great soup based on them. And enjoyed your pictures very much, as usual.

    • I want to grow Jerusalem artichokes as they can help provide a natural windbreak on the allotemnt, I think it’s one of those veggies that you hav eto add lots of flavour to !

  • Your post looks so green and refreshing. I made a planter out of an old copper tub with handles and it took a bit of decision making to drill those holes. I had two neighbors look for the same tub and they turned them into planters copying my idea. I bet your idea gets copied too.

    • Thank you, I need green and refreshing in my life !
      I’m on the hunt for different style planters, I saw a lovely tub the other day in a florist shop, yes madam it’s for sale, it’s £18. Hmmmm, seems a lot to me, so I’ll continue looking in the charity shops for now 🙂

  • Claire, you have mentioned fleecing some of your plants in several of your posts. Would love to see a photo of just what it looks like in one of your posts…as words have different meanings across the pond sometimes. I think of fleece as a fuzzy warm fabric that I wear in the winter.

  • What a wonderful life that pan has had so far! It never ceases to interest me how differently things go in different parts of the world. Lettuce is one of the harder things for me to grow here. Perhaps we should install a very long tube, or invent a teleportation device, and we can swap bounties 😉

  • A great post, Claire … well, except for the part about the hungry uninvited dinner guests. The photos of your lettuce, especially the romaine, are beautiful. Now, I’m trying to get caught up with your posts but noticed that your next post has “spiders” in its title. Surely you won’t mind if I skip that one, as well-written and thought provoking that it must be. 🙂

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