Sunday, 15 November 2009

Dyffryn gardens last weekend

and my pumpkins from halloween!

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Pickling time!

its that time again, the whole house smells but its worth it when you open that jar in a few months time. Or a week if you cannot wait that long.

one i did this week was the nigel slater recipe in the guardian a few weeks ago, with the remaining tomatoes in the greenhouse. It made only a couple of jars but looks promising.

Last night it was the beetroot relish which is firm favorite in this household.

900g raw beetroot grated
450g onions
675g cooking apples
450g raisins
1 litre white wine vinegar
900g granulated sugar
2 tbsp ginger

basically throw it all in a large pan and bring to boil and simmer then for a few hours. I use the grater on my processor with the onion, beetroot and apple so they are all the same size/texture which seems to work really well with the finished product.
I am going to do another 2 batches over the next week or so, if i have enough jars!!

A couple of weeks ago i also made 'red pepper, tomato, chilli and courgette chutney'
I did two versions, one which had a heavier spices element, a curryish flavour, and one without. Both are very good if i do say so though.

The 'without' version was

5 red peppers, chopped
1.4kg tomatoes chopped
8000g onions
1.6 kg courgettes, diced and salted to remove water, then rinsed
5 large garlic clovers
7 red chillies, hot, leave seeds in if you wish.
60g ginger finely chopped
225g light brown sugar
500mls white wine vinegar.

simmer for a few hours and bottle, will make a good few jars.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Tue 13/10

And i spent pretty much the whole day at the plot, it was about 5 degrees this morning at just gone 9am when i went across but the sun was very warming, as was the weeding and digging over!

The last thing i did was sort out the one end of the plot that has been bothering me, i had been thinking about the rhubarb and moving it, i dont now how many years it has been there and its in an awkward corner, so i dug over a space at the other end of the plot next to the gooseberry and with some manure in the bottom put the divided crowns in. Hopefully they will take, and in a few weeks i'll cover the tops with compost to feed over the winter. The roots of the rhubarb i removed were massive so i suspect the plant has been there for quite a while.

I also drained and moved the smaller blue water butt, and then covered the area with the recently freed tarpulin. I'm going to tidy this area up next year, just cover for the winter to kill of the weeds.

The new home for the rhubarb.

This was the runner bean and pea area, weeded and leveled. The broad bean shoots are at the end.
Bean trench dug! Really glad i got this job done today whilst we had the weather, i wouldn't have fancied doing it if the weather had turned.
I had earlier removed the last sunflower plant, and one of the courgette plants which had pretty much stopped producing fruits, so they went into the bean trench along with the runner bean remains. I then sowed the few broad bean seeds i had left into the mound of soil alongside the trench. I just think that if they do grow i can just turn them into the trench when needed and they should provide extra nutrients then.
The area that had the sunflower and courgette dug and weeded, and sown with mustard seed green manure. A few of the strawberry plants had not taken and died so i replaced those with some of the spares i still had in the garden.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

photo special!!

These are from a week ago when i remembered the camera on the way out the door! The good weather has disappeared over the last week now and i'm supposed to be down there now but i'm waiting in for somebody. Not my idea of time well spent.

Anyway, below is the bottom half of the plot, the courgette plant next to the ever growing sunflower is still producing, the dug over area either side is where the strawberries are. The area that has been covered since i got the plot almost 3 years ago is now dug and free!! It actually felt like an accomplishment to have finally done it. The area will probably need green manuring over winter to get some nutrients back into it.

The bean canes are now down and i will weed that area next and dig the bean trench. Next to that is the massivly overgrown beetroots, some are far to big now for use, they will be to woody with no sweetness in them, but they will do good in the trench.
Note plot area dug and cover free!
Long shot of the whole plot, in the foreground is the gooseberry which needs a bit of pruning before next year, and a late producing courgette plant which has just starting fruiting!
Max helping to weed and dig holes.
Strawberry rows either side of the courgette/sunflower monster.
The winter lettuce and pumpkins 'snowman', of which there are three good sized ones.

Some of the carrots, all grown by the kids.
Outdoor cucumbers, quite successful grown up the trellis on the plot.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

All this seasons chillis harvested now.
A bit of a surprise as i thought i was going to get no sweetcorn this year but when i went to clear the area the cobs had come on a lot in the last couple of weeks and we have a few as you can see!
The courgettes are still coming through in good numbers with the good weather we have had recently.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

another week

passes and i have been down to the plot a couple of times, mostly weeding and digging over areas for the winter. I got in another tray of strawberries, only 2 to go!!
I plan to sow more green manures into the newly dug areas, i saw some of the mustard cress i sowed last year in the shops and will get some of that as it covered a good area last time and not to difficult to dig in.

I noticed also in the area where i removed the broad beans some new shoots have sprouted up, obviously some beans were left behind. Coincidently my
plotter friend gave me a handful of his broad bean seed for overwintering green manure so i put that in around the shoots.

In the greenhouse i picked all the remaining chillis and strung them up, although several went into a 'chilli courgette tomato' relish which is very good.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

work done.

Feels like i got some good work done over the last few days, a good amount of weeding and ground turned over, and started putting in the strawberries from the ones cultivated in the garden growbags.
I managed to get in the first 3 trays, about 10 per tray, so only another 25 ish to go!!

The plot provided a good amount of crops over the last few days for meals in our house which was nice, but the pea's and runner beans are over now, so i cut the beans stems and left them on the canes to dry for next years seed. i also picked some peas to dry in the shed, alongside the sunflower heads for the kids to plant next year.

Still cropping courgettes, cucumbers,carrots, swiss chard and spinach beet. The bak choi is bolting and seems to have attracted caterpillars but the winter lettuce is coming on well, alongside the pumpkins swelling up.

I picked another 15 or so chillis, same variety as before, and strung them up. I'll next pick the Jalapeño ones which has going to be a smaller crop then the Fresno variety.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

pic update

I have raked this area over, its where the potatoes were, and sown up to the rake a green manure 'Hungarian rye'.
This shot below shows the area i sowed with another green manure after lifting the onions. Even though i sowed it pretty evenly it still comes up patchy, which i think is from where i raked the seed in. I may sow some mustard seed into the gaps.
The pumpkin wrapping itself around everything, about 3 good size fruits are coming on now, and in the front are the winter lettuce.The climbing cucumbers have worked well, we have had quite a few from them, 2 picked today are on the top, and they taste quite good, skin is obviously a bit thicker than the greenhouse type.
Isobel eating one of her purple carrots!

Max helps with the chillis.

Harvested about twenty of the 'fresno' chillis which are moderately hot and there are about another dozen on the plant, plus i have not yet harvested the jalapeño ones.

Friday, 4 September 2009

I have managed to get up to the plot a couple of times in the last week, usually briefly, due to the bad weather. Battling the weeds as much as i can, and picking runner beans, peas, courgettes, carrots and raspberries. And cucumbers, which are quite nice, slightly tougher skin.

The beetroots are piling up, i need to start pickling and chutney production soon, in fact i bought some white wine vinegar and other ingredients today, i have a recipe for 'hot tomato chilli and pepper' which i am going to adapt using courgettes also.

A few people had there beans blown over this week, and unfortunately my sweetcorn have been knocked about a bit, the pak choi are bolting and the little gem lettuce went over but i sowed some winter lettuce which is now coming good.

In the greenhouse the tomatoes are slowly ripening, and the ones that do are soon picked and eaten by my son! The chilllis are also doing well, alot have already turned red, and i will harvest and dry them soon.
I also have started drying some of the french beans for next years seed, and found a few pea pods that also had dried so saved them too.
I also acquired some wood, and really really need to start building my own compost bin. I bought a comfrey 'bocking 14' plant and potted that up for next year.

Finally, fruit wise, the strawberries will be put into the plot soon, about 50 plants currently, and the raspberries had a few more canes added to the row but i also noticed a few new canes sprouting up too. I next need to plan where a blackberry plant will go and buy and put it in within the next 2 months.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Caught in the act!!!

The strawberries have now produced 41 plants, and another dozen are still in pots around the growbags waiting to be cut away.
I noticed that some of the plants had become a little ragged looking and then noticed several of these on the leaves!!!

Well this i planted thinking it was a courgette but clearly its one of the pumpkins, which made me look at the four pumpkin plants i planted in a row, and yes - not pumpkins but courgettes!!! Makes me wonder about the other squashes i have in, what are they going to be ???!!!
Above is the rows of chard and salads, and the area cleared of the blighted tom's. I have sown there some winter lettuce and oriental salad leaves. Below are the sweetcorn which are still a little short but seem to be producing tassles, and with a bit more sun hopefully will put on some more growth. In amongst the sweetcorn 'should' be 2 butternut squash! In the background are the runner beans which have started producing some nice beans.
The onions are all now up and in the shed drying, the area has been raked and sown with an autumn/winter green manure.

Monday, 3 August 2009

All photo's were taken about a week ago. This is the tray of some of the strawberry plants that i have managed to propergate so far, i added another tray today and have another potential 20 in the pots around the growbags.
Here are the chilli plants, the first is the jalapeño and the second is the Fresno plant which has alot more fruits on it, some trying to turn red also.
The tomatoes in the greenhouse, which are looking okay after surviving a few days without watering when we were away, we are getting a few fruits every day but my 2 year old boy is straight in there daily to pick them before i even have a chance to get them!!
This was the tomatoes at the plot the other day which had gone a bit wild and outgrown the canes and tying in i had done, but i went to the plot this evening and they had all sucumb to blight and i needed to remove the whole lot unfortuantly. The blight has started on the potatoes also so i started removing the halms of the main crop row, and completed digging up the second earlies.

I think this is a great photo, perhaps because it looks so uniformly 'like an allotment' that you might see in a book or down your site! (pity the rest of the plot is not the same!!) You can see the chard onthe left followed by the french beans, pumpkins, pak choi, little gem lettuce, beetroot and then some rasberry canes on the right side.
The runner beans and peas, which i have now completed the wire netting support for, and they (the peas) are coming up great. We have had a good crop this year again but i still need to do more next year i think, the kids love picking podding and eating them. Once the netting is up they are pretty trouble free to be honest.
The runner bean flowers and the first picking!.