Latest Produce report

Despite the major neglect of the garden it is still producing wonderful things for me!

I think it’s the best year for beetroot in a long time and my carrots haven’t had carrot fly this year 🙂

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…and the first proper fruiting of a young apple tree. The apples are still quite sour so have to stay a bit longer, but I must keep an eye out for scavengers!

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We’ll soon be building a new chicken house, so watch out for that 🙂 I’m very excited!

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! 🙂

Peppers

Here’s a long awaited update from the green house.

These are red sweet peppers from bought seed.  I don’t want to speak too soon but I think they are doing alright.

peppers 1

These are chilli peppers I got free from a magazine. ‘Demon Red’ There were only five seeds and I have three healthy plants from them. By the sound of their name, they are gonna be hot!

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These are ‘Scotch Bonnet’ chillies, from my own saved seed. They are looking good. If you look carefully you can see little buds forming on the top of the plants 🙂

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These are common red chillies, medium heat, from my own saved seed. I dried some of these before and they keep well.

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Can’t wait until they start turning red. I must look after them carefully now so as not to loose the fruit!:-)

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.

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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! 🙂

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 🙂

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.

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

 

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 🙂