The allotment has been a real haven for me over the last year. I’m sure I’m not alone in benefiting from the communal and restorative properties of time outside growing. At our allotment site we have a community plot, Plot 22, which offers people just that. So I asked Emma, who runs the project, to write a guest post.
PLOT 22 is an allotment garden project that offers people who may not otherwise have access to a garden the chance to enjoy and participate in creating a peaceful, abundant and edible oasis in the middle of our busy city.
I think of courgettes as cheerful generous friends! They are easy to grow and so gallopingly bountiful it can be hard to keep up with them. That said, the planting out stage is their most vulnerable but those that make it through and survive the slugs have a prickly and reassuring sturdiness. New fruits seem to double in size over night. And for us, gardening and cooking collectively on site at PLOT 22 this ensures a feast several days a week in the summer months. This month we are dining out on a variety gifted to us by another allotment holder: a yellow courgette that produces sweet round fruits. Happily the slugs didn’t decimate these plants as they did some of our own courgettes grown from seed. This may have been because we planted these yellow ones in raised beds, waist high, certainly out of the eye line of slugs, or more likely their scent detectors.
Courgettes are most definitely a vegetable made for cooking outside. There’s very little preparation required and no need for saucepans at all! We’ve had delicate raw ribbons in our salads, using a potato peeler – easier with the long variety than the round sort, marinated multi-coloured courgette and halloumi kebabs grilled on the BBQ, and thick, colourful slices seared on the hot bars and dropped straight into fresh herby, garlicky dressing to soak up all the flavours. Next week we’ll try a recipe shared by a Japanese friend: grating the juicy pulp into spelt flour then mixed with a dash of oil to make thick green pancakes, cooked quickly in a skillet on the fire they are a treat I’ve been looking forward to for months!
It is true that you can have too much of a good thing. Sometimes a courgette’s generosity can seem like a burden of responsibility – how to make use of all this sudden vegetable goodness before they turn into the size of baseball bats? I’ve often found bags of these oversized beauties left on my doorstep by other gardeners, clearly overwhelmed by their mighty bounty. But that’s the beauty of gluts – there’s so much to go around. It reminds us how abundant Nature is and brings out the generous friend in us!
Courgettes are one of my favorite things to grow. Green, yellow and round ones on our plot and at home this year – think we may have gone a bit overboard ! Lovely post and a great project 🙂
Thanks for your comment. Yeah, we grew far too many last year. This year I may have gone too far the other way. Very few. May have to nip to Plot 22!
‘Plot 22’ i s a nice idea, we have a community section on the allotments where I have a plot. It’s got a lot of people in the local area talking to each other 🙂 it’s a success and it has certainly improved our little allotment site, it’s about half community and half renting plot holders. We even have chickens now and with the help of grants have a community ‘hub’ building with running water and a toilet, which is a luxury in itself. There’s even been talk of beehives.
Ooh, bee hives. I’d love a bee hive.
Looking forward to courgettes from my local farm. I have never tried to grow them but if they are easy, maybe next year?!
The pancakes sounds great. An interesting alternative to ratatouille.
They’re a doddle to grow. Once established they just keep on giving. Go on give them a go!
I like the sound of ‘keep on giving’!
Yep, to be honest sometime you get too many and wish the plant would stop producing.
I can imagine – but then I could freeze them to make ratatouille when the tomatoes are ready.
I live the way courgettes are so generous too. This angle is great. Last year we sliced and sautéed and froze a whole load. They were delicious in the winter.
I’m so looking forward to courgettes coming to harvest.
We picked another four today. I think we’ve had about twenty now. A round variety that’s delicious.
I really like the round ones. Made a courgette version of parmigiana melanzane this evening. Really good with round courgettes.
Oooooh that’s a great idea. Hadn’t considered that. Great idea!
Do you have a recipe to share?
Going to post one soon I think. Basically replace aubergine with courgette though.
Please share. It sounds amazing but I’ve never made the aubergine version either.