New page…

I decided to add a new page yesterday for vegetable (and herb) sowings for this year. I hope to chart the progress of each sowing, when it is transplanted (if applicable), and when harvested. Unfortunately, a few of the sowings have failed, and some of the seedlings have met with accidents/molluscs. The page may take a while to load, but it should be easier to follow than trying to find the earlier blog entry I said I had sowed something that the current entry said I just transplanted/harvested, etc.

Last year, I dried slices of orange. I decided to try them yesterday. The taste was more like marmalade than the taste of “eating oranges”. Shall be drying some apples tonight.

Earlier today with some leftover rice mixed in with scrambled eggs, I added in some seed-sprouted lentils. Yum. I wonder which sprouting-seed to start off next.

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Harvest and more

Went to the plot earlier this week. Some things were ready to be picked. Harvested shallots and the onions – not as small as I thought they would be, but the shallots were almost the size of a “small” onion. I can grow shallots and garlic but the onions are a bit mediocre.
rooties
Also sowed some more things, pak choi, lettuce, radish and beetroot. I might be able to squeeze in a sowing of calabrese, probably in pots first alongside spring cabbages.
The runner beans are looking sad – they’ve hardly climbed up the poles. Neighbour’s plot has runner beans in flower. Slugs/snails have been a problem this year. They are now eating french bean leaves (no sign yet on the beans themselves), but have already started on a courgette.
courgette1
In the greenhouse, I’ve realised that the first tomato to turn colour wasn’t the first tomato to set.
ripeningtom
In the garden, well, mainly hiding amongst the currant bushes is a family of blackbirds.
littlebirdie2
I discovered them sunbathing near the Martock field beans, but didn’t want to scare them away so took the pictures through the window (which needs cleaning).
littlebirdie1
Drying food has been going well. The flavour of the dried food is intense. Will have a look at candying and perhaps coating things in yogurt.
driedfruitselection

Fruit – drying and other preserves

On Friday, OH overdid it at the supermarket reduced for clearance counter – he bought sharon fruit, papaya and star fruit to add to the mountains! of other fruit bought last week: kiwi fruit; apples; pears; (water)melons; mangoes; plums; peaches; apricots… Its a messy job peeling the fruits. Anyway, the papaya and mango look good. Halved peaches and plums join pears in looking bizarre when dried.

In the garden, last night after a rare! sunny day this summer, redcurrants (still loads left plus a late variety starting to ripen too) and gooseberries were picked (poor hubby). Currently planning to make gooseberry jam, redcurrant jam (again!) and a gooseberry and redcurrant jelly. The latter is simmering as I type. The gooseberry recipes are from a book I bought through Amazon – The Basic Basics – Jams, Preserves and Chutneys Handbook by Marguerite Patten.

These may sound like silly questions:

  •  What would be served with gooseberry (and redcurrant) jelly?
  • The jellies may be bases for sauces -what would they be poured over?   
  • Another gooseberry recipe I like the sound of is a chutney with sultanas and onions – what would that go with?
  • Chutneys in general – what do you use them with?

I welcome any comments with answers to the above questions.

Spoke to my mother today. Friday, she said to herself that the redcurrants looked good in her garden – the bushes were loaded. Saturday, she went down the garden and discovered that they had all gone! What remained was the strings. It isn’t convenient for her to put a fruit cage up. In past years, she has draped netting over but still the birdies get their pudding. We had netting up here in past years but a neighbour’s cat got through so the birds also discovered the holes so now the netting has been removed. This year, although the birds (mainly a family of blackbirds that like our garden) have had a few, there are still a lot left.

Rain, pears and tomatillos

Its raining again. I should buy myself some waterproofs some day so I can go to the allotment without getting wet.
There have been a couple of dry days. I ventured into the greenhouse. The geraniums look good as do the tomatoes, although they are still green (this time last year, was harvesting red tomatoes). There is at least one slug/snail in there as the tomatillo leaves have been snacked on. The yellow flowers are pretty.
tomatillo
On the drying front, watermelon and honeydew melon are being dried. The extra trays came earlier in the week. Yesterday, dried some pears which were halved but with the peel left on (peeling is optional). They look erm a bit erm strange…
driedpears1

Blasted aphids

I have greenfly on most of the plants growing indoors. They seem to like the flowers of my sweet peppers. I tried brushing them off with a solution of insecticidal soap, but they still came back. While out shopping yesterday, I bought a mini vacuum cleaner designed for the computer and have been using that to suck up those aphids. Satisfying hearing the sound of them being sucked it.

Adding to the list of things we’ve dried – mangoes and tomatoes. Might do some herbs next, which require a lower temperature than fruit/veg and mushrooms.  On the GardenOrganic messageboards, I had a reply to my thread on dehydrators: H does fruit leathers to make uplifting snacks while out and about walking. I wonder if I have any baking parchment.

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