IN FULL SWING

It is harvest time!

As it is so hot these days I started going to the allotment quite early in the morning. The plan is that I will either water the most needy plants with the hose or, on alternate days, feed the ‘special cases’ either with the seaweed extract, comfrey tea or the liquid from my wormery.

It was the turn of the comfrey tea. My, does it stink!! And the smell seems to linger close to the ground, so when I was bending down, I got a good whiff of it. Never mind, the squashes love it!

I managed to pick another large box of strawberries, pulled out a lovely bunch of carrots and a few nice beetroot.

yesterday was a day to thin out the gooseberries…..

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…and I was pleased I had this lovely lot.

Got them home and in no time made a very tasty gooseberry and mint jelly. Goes a treat with cold meat, cheese or a quiche.

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As I was picking the gooseberry I also noticed that the currants are almost ready. That’s the beauty of having the fruit bushes in the net cage – I can take my time picking them, not like in the past where it was a competition between me and the birds. Guess who lost??

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Another benefit of net cages is the ease of growing brassicas. It was the same story in the past – try to stop the birds nibbling the leaves of the young plants so there was hardly anything left. I thought they wouldn’t like kohl rabi. I was wrong. So now the kohl rabi grows in the net cage and nothing gets at it and I can enjoy the fruits of my labour.

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A DAY IN THE KITCHEN….

….and the result is a lot of goodies.

First of all I had to boil the apples I picked on the allotment – thanks to the strong wind I managed to find quite a lot. That was done yesterday and it very slowly dripped overninght. I decided to make two savoury jellies – rosemary and garlic. I use a recipe in my favourite book – The preserving book – and use whatever I think might make good jelly. Garlic is a strong favourite.

Next was the making of some soup. As I have a lot of different vegetables on the allotment I try to use them all. My friend Anita recently gave me a great recipe book (you can’t have too many!) and this is the book I use now, very often.

It might not look exciting but it is very tasty. Wilted spinach and Stilton cheese.

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Last but not least was the turn of something quite different. When we went to Brazil some years ago, our friend Lucia taught me how to make their local delicacy – cheese balls. They are very easy to make and once made, impossible to stop eating!001

One good thing about them is that they can be made and frozen; when I need to serve them, say with soup or just as nibbles with wine, I take them out and bake.

All in all, a very productive day.

GOOSEBERRIES

I have got two gooseberry bushes – one red and one green. As I’m trying to do everything (well, almost) by the book, today was the day of working inside my fruit cage.

In there are the gooseberry bushes but also a number of red-,  white-,  and blackcurrant bushes with some blueberries thrown in for good measure.

The book says that I should shorten the fruit-bearing branches so that the plant doesn’t waste the energy in growing ever bigger but it makes the fruit develop.

That done, I thinned out the gooseberries on both bushes because otherwise I would have have loads of tiny fruit. The thinnings can be used in making jellies so I decided to make more of my favourite – mint and gooseberry jelly. The only change in the recipe I made it I didn’t sieve the cooked fruit to obtain just the liquid, I used everything and call it conserve.

Equally delicious with cheese, meat or savoury pies of any kind.

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EDIBLE GARDEN SHOW

Today was the first day of the Edible Garden Show and also the spring equinox and the eclipse. Not sure what should be more important, the show was the first thing on my mind.

Same as last year, I drove down to Alexandra Palace with my brother-in-law Chris – both very keen gardeners. We both agreed that it was a pity it moved from Stoneleigh to London but we treated it as a nice day out.

We arrived in the car park a few minutes after 11am but the queues were huge, we had high hopes. And those hopes were somewhat dashed!

You could count the seed companies and plant stalls on the fingers of both hands, no more.

Why would I want to go to a show that calls itself Edible and Garden where there are stalls selling anything from sausage rolls, to cheese and gin and finishing with jewelry? What has that to do with gardening?

We shall rethink our strategy for next year and find something else to satisfy our gardening needs.

This show has just lost two keen gardeners.