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On 1st November 1943 the villagers of Imber, (an isolated village on Salisbury Plain), where given 47 days notice by the MOD to leave their homes. The village was taken over for military use, used by US forces for street fighting practice. Since then the village has been rarely open to the public bar the annual church service at St. Giles. The church tower was struck by lightning in 2003 and has now been restored, the village being accessible to the public between 18th December and 3rd January 2010.
A New Year’s Eve Peace Vigil, the eighth consecutive one to be held at Imber since 2002, will take place in St Giles’ Church at midday on Thursday 31 December 2009.
The plot is still producing plenty of veg at the moment. Today I braved the cold to pull up some snips, dig up some artichokes, pick some brussels and kale. It’s great having fresh veg as and when you want it.
This is the first year I’ve grown the much-maligned brussel sprout and they are fantastic, getting loads of sprouts off just half a dozen plants.
The purple-sprouting broccoli is looking really good, the sideshoots are starting to appear and I’m really looking forward to the first harvest of spears. Last year was a disaster between the caterpillars and pigeons so this time round they have been netted and have really filled out well and they should start appearing in a few weeks time.
With winter rapidly approaching it’s wise to take some precautions against your winter veg becoming frozen in the ground. There’s nothing worse than not being able to harvest when you need those fresh veggies the most in the depths of winter. The technique of healing in leeks is tried and tested. Just dig a trench, put the harvested leeks in at an angle, pull the soil back over the blanched stems and firm with your heal. They will keep like this for weeks and are more accessible when the ground is frozen, freeing up ground that can be dug over and manured ready for spring. Last year they combined with leftover turkey in Jamie Oliver’s Turkey & Leek Pie……..delicious!!
For storing root veg, such as carrots or parsnips, I use an old wine box filled with sharp sand. Just layer the veg and cover with sand, this will keep them nice and fresh for weeks and ensure you always have a supply when the ground is iced over.