30. OCTOBER

I had another helper on the allotment yesterday – my grandson Louis came in the afternoon. We took the kitchen scraps for the composter bins, harvested some parsnips and I tried my luck with the sweet potato. I’m quite pleased, from under two plants I got one sweet potato, reasonably sized. I think it’ll be fine as a jacket potato for myself and Frank, with some salad to give us a bit more for lunch.

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The forecast for today was quite good, at least for the morning, so I went to the farm to finish planting the garlic. I planted the first lot a few weeks ago and that is already sprouting, it didn’t take too long.

The latest garlic only came the other day and I ordered it purely because of its name.

I still had some time left so  I started some more weeding, this time in my little herb area. I have got a couple of pear trees, one apple and a damson bush there, also a gooseberry, a few chilean guavas and a bay tree. This will be just  those trees, the herbs – thyme, rosemary, lavender and in the spring a scattering of annual flowers.

After this I just had time to pull out a few of the dead sunflowers, cut some more chard and head home. To be continued tomorrow, or whenever the weather lets me.

JELLY

What would have been a waste has been turned to something delicious, a savoury jelly.

It would have been a shame to waste the thinned-out apples, we have two kinds of yummy jelly. Perfect with cold meat or cheese….

SELF-SUFFICIENCY

I would like to have a few things to keep me happy and they would ensure that we could be self-sufficient.

Not in the exact order: a cow, some chickens and a few sheep and I would keep all that in a walled garden. Well, a woman can dream…..

But we’re almost there, even without these special items. Today’s harvest was:

I think the big tomato must be the biggest one I’ve ever managed to grow – 181 g!!

And this is just about the start, there will be many more. I found a way of bottling them in Kilner jars, gently cook them with some sliced garlic and olive oil, then add chopped rosemary and basil. When the jars are filled I sterilise them in water bath for about 5 minutes and that way I shall have a good supply of chopped tomatoes for the winter.

I tried Borlotto beans in the past but always used them young. This time I have let them dry on the vine; I will shell them as they dry and then store them in large jars with some silica sachets to reduce the moisture. Again, a very useful addition to winter soups and stews. They are very attractive when maturing, the pods are bright red before they dry and turn dusty purple.

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