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! πŸ™‚

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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! πŸ™‚ Here’s Hugh’s recipe with my pictures! πŸ™‚

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.Β 

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. Β·

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 πŸ™‚

The Anticipation of crops

I spent some time yesterday tidying up some fruiting plants to let the air and sun get to them. It was a very satisfying afternoon and the plants look great too.

These chillies have been grown using my own home made compost and so need weeding, but making your own compost saves lots of money!

Chillies 1 Chillies 2
I’m looking forward to this crop of chillies as this is all I’ve got left from a bumper crop which I dried two years ago!Chillies 3
These tomatoes are grown in my compost as well and as you can see are doing fine.Tomatos
I gave them and the chillies a feed of organic seaweed fetilizer yesterday.

I don’t have any flowers in my garden really, at the moment I rely on my flowering herbs, so I picked myself a bunch as a treat after my good work! πŸ™‚
Flowers

Chilli’s and squashes

I am really pleased to report that my 5op chilli plants that I bought in the summer are now looking like this.

Chillis

As I hadn’t time to prepare the beds when the plants were ready my squashes and courgettes went into a wheel barrow and some large pots. They are looking like this.

Squash

These are at an advantage being by the back door, watering is easy. I’m looking forward to the fruit now that I have got all those flowers πŸ™‚ By the way, these are all growing in my home made compost!

Chillies

Bought these chilli plants the other day from a road side stall for 50p each. Four different varieties, Sweet pepper Banana, Tres Longs,Β Black Hungarian and Variegated.

Chillis

It’s quite exciting to have different varieties of one thing. πŸ™‚

Garden Update

Well, here in Norfolk in the UK, the weather has been very gloomy and dull and the plants and vegetables are reluctant to grow.

I’ll show you the bright bits first. The chive flowers always are a treat.

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The Aquilegia are one of my favourites as they flower for quite a long time.

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The greenhouse is very slow this year, any taste of warmth though and the plants put on a spurt of growth.

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I went out this morning for watering duty and something has been eating my chilli plants

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and my courgettes

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Life for plants is very hard and frustrating for humans.