Posted in Autumn, challenges, Food, Fruit, gardening, Greenhouse, In the garden, Organic Gardening, Polytunnel, Self reliance, vegetables

Garden Success

How do you see success in your garden? Are you like me expecting that you can achieve what you might  consider great things as well as working and looking after you family and your house?! I continually have to put this success into perspective. There is only so much time you can put into growing things unless you are putting all of your time into being self sufficient (so my husband keeps telling me)!

I’ve just been out to explore the garden that gets attended way less than I’d like, to pick some things for lunch and this is some of what I saw.

I have pumpkins,

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beetroot,

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chillies,

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peppers

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and tomatoes

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and my husband says I should call this success! 🙂

Posted in challenges, Food, gardening, Greenhouse, Organic Gardening, Polytunnel, Self reliance, spring, vegetables

Exciting things happening in the green house

Things have definitely warmed up around here and the temperature in the green house is above 30 degrees. If you’re not used to British weather, that is exciting for this time of year!

I’m so pleased with how the things are growing. I have several varieties of tomatoes, red peppers, three varieties of chilli peppers, cucumbers, rocket and radish.

Green house 1 Green house 2 Green house 3 Green house 4

Some will be transplanted outside and some in the poly tunnel and some will stay in the green house. I’m especially pleased as I didn’t do very well with these last year! 🙂

Posted in gardening, Hints & Tips, In the garden, spring, vegetables

Garden Tools

I’m not usually a fan of tesco’s but as you can see with the photo below they’ve done very well with the packaging of the garden supplies I just bought. No unnecessary packaging just 3 or 4 plastic strips to attach items to card and a small bag for the garden labels!

Tools

Then why were You in there you might ask? It’s my nearest place to get milk 🙂

Posted in Food, gardening, Greenhouse, In the garden, plants, spring, vegetables

New Life

I’m so excited with the prospect of spring, when the sun comes out I feel so energized! I have started tidying up in the garden and sowed my first few seeds. New life is starting to appear.

One single tomato seedling,Life 1
this is rocket on the left and to the right of that you can just see some radish coming through.Life 2
We are heading for a wonderful time of year! 🙂

Posted in challenges, Food, gardening, Greenhouse, Hints & Tips, In the garden, Organic Gardening, Permaculture, Polytunnel, spring, vegetables, winter

The Garden – New Year, New Start!

It’s time to start getting the garden ready for this years growing, so I bought myself a magazine for a bit of encouragement. Free seeds are always good, if you get what you like, especially if your spare seeds got nibbled up by vermin last year! I was very lucky with my free seeds, they were the sort of varieties I might have bought myself and there are plenty of hints and tips as well.

Gardening 2

I’m hoping it will help me have a spring in my step for going out to prepare for spring in the February garden 🙂

 

Posted in Autumn, cooking, Food, gardening, Hints & Tips, home, Jams & Jellys, Organic Gardening, Preserving, Self reliance, vegetables

Chutney

I Love preserving and I hate waste.

Everyone knows who grows them, that courgettes are prone to be very prolific and grow very big very quickly. Chutney is one of the answers to not wasting them (another is chickens, they are happy to eat what you can’t manage!) This recipe is inspired by Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall’s ‘River Cottage Glutney’. Basicly you can through most things in and it comes out great! 🙂 Here’s Hugh’s recipe with my pictures! 🙂

1kg courgettes, unpeeled if small, peeled if huge, cut into 1cm dice (or use pumpkin later in the season)
1kg red or green tomatoes, scalded, skinned and roughly chopped (or 1kg plums, stoned and chopped)
1kg cooking or eating apples, peeled and diced
500g onions, peeled and diced
500g sultanas or raisins
500g light brown sugar
750ml white-wine or cider vinegar, made up to 1 litre with water
1-3 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp salt
For the spice bag
1 thumb-sized nugget of fresh or dried ginger, roughly chopped
12 cloves
12 black peppercorns
1 (generous) tsp coriander seeds
A few blades of mace

Put the vegetables and fruit in a large, heavy-based pan with the sultanas or raisins, sugar, vinegar and water, chilli flakes and salt.

Make up the spice bag by tying all the spices in a square of muslin or cotton. Add the spice bag to the pan, pushing it into the middle.

Chutney 1

Heat the mixture gently, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar, and bring slowly to the boil. Simmer for 2-3 hours, uncovered, stirring regularly to ensure it does not burn on the bottom of the pan. 

Chutney 2

The chutney is ready when it is rich, thick and reduced, and parts to reveal the base of the pan when a wooden spoon is dragged through it. If it starts to dry out before this stage is reached, add a little boiling water.

Chutney 3

Pot up the chutney while still warm (but not boiling hot) in sterilised jars with plastic-coated screw-top lids (essential to stop the vinegar interacting with the metal). Leave to mature for at least two weeks – ideally two months – before serving. ·

Chutney 4

Warning: Don’t mistake tea spoons for table spoons for the chilli flakes like I did!!! Mind you a nice hot and spicy chutney is nice 🙂

Posted in Autumn, cooking, Food, home, Organic Gardening, Self reliance, vegetables

No Stock Cube Necessary

The weather’s changed here in the UK so it’s time to make soup!

We’re onto winter vegetables and over grown courgettes here at hillside lodge and so vegetable soup is on the menu.

Always start with some form of onion or leek, it doesn’t matter which, nicely chopped. This is where you throw in the garlic if you want it and herbs.Soup 1
I’ve added bay leaves, loveage, and thyme. fry gently then add your veg until they’re heated through. Lovage tastes similar to celery so add some celery stalks instead if you like.

Soup 2 Soup 3 Soup 4
Add boiling water from the kettle, you can judge how much. It depends how thick you like your soup. Add a tsp of sea salt and a few pepper corns.Soup 5
Cook until the veg are cooked, then crush a little with a potato masher or put in a liquidiser to finish.Soup 6
See, no need for a stock cube! 🙂

Posted in Autumn, challenges, cooking, Food, gardening, Organic Gardening, Permaculture, Self reliance, vegetables

Corn

I might be frustrated about how untidy our garden is, but I’m not disappointed with the produce. I have so enjoyed the gradual progression of each fruit or vegetable being ready to eat. This time it’s corn. There is nothing like picking the corn, pulling off the greenery and popping it in the pan. I always think of how much goodness there is in food that is so fresh 🙂

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For all those who are wondering, it is so easy to grow. The only thing is , you must plant it in a grid shape to aid pollination. 🙂

Posted in cooking, Food, Hints & Tips, Summer, vegetables

The Harvest Begins!

We have just begun to harvest some of our vegetables. The one we look forward to with anticipation is the broad beans. Harvested young they are gorgeous! So lunch today was broad beans on toast from Hugh Fernley-Whittingstalls book River Cottage Everyday.

Beans 1
Saute some bacon and onionBeans 2
add lightly cooked bread beans, salt, pepper and a pinch of lemon juiceBeans 3
and slide onto a nice crispy piece of toast!Beans 4
Go on, try it