BEFORE AND AFTER

Today was the turn of the back garden to be sorted out. I have not paid too much attention to it during last year – I was concentrating on the allotment as I wanted to do well in the competition. There was no competition this year so after harvesting as much as I could on the allotment I turned to do some work in the back garden.

This was three days ago.

After serious cutting down and filling up four wheelie bins we have this:

DIGGING

My prefect therapy in these difficult times is digging on the allotment. It is one activity that I don’t really have to think about, just dig….I think of it as if it were meditation.

It is easy to plan the next year’s growing, think of things to do next, listen to the birds – all in all a tonic for the soul.Never mind the weather, as long as it is nor raining I can dig. Our site doesn’t get waterlogged, it drains very quickly. Even on a wet day I can work in one of my greenhouses. Talking of greenhouses, I’m very happy, I have acquired yet another one, a third one. The same size as the other two, also a rescued one. It actually belonged to an old lady whose garden was next door to our site. It wasn’t too difficult to move the dismantled structure over the fence. As it is such an old one I will need to get some new panes of glass but that is no hardship….Now I can plan what to grow in them. Easy – one will be just aubergines, the next one peppers and chilies and the third will be tomatoes.

HARVEST TIME….

…is here again.

This was supposed to be a squash called Candy roaster. I grew it last year and saved the seeds. It was shaped like a boat, only a fraction of this one. I’ve no idea what happened, must’ve been cross pollinated. I don’t mind, that way I get more of a tasty squash.

LEEKS

I have been trying to grow the perfect leek – never managed. I grew them, yes, but they were a bit spindly, nothing much to them. It wasn’t the seeds, not sure why it didn’t work.

This year is a different story. I have harvested a few and every single one is just perfect. I don’t think I did anything different but….

They are great and the taste is second to none.

MORE FIGS

I keep harvesting my figs every other day. I have got the original old fig tree in the back garden and I still remember thinking when I planted it – it is a pipe dream, I won’t get any fruit on that, not here in the Midlands. Forward about 35 years and the harvest is quite amazing. We get figs every year and I also managed to strike a few cuttings. I have got one large one and three smaller ones on the allotment, they are all giving fruit very generously.

The best way I could think of was to bottle them in red wine. Then we have a continuous supply of delicious desserts ready for the winter!

 

 

MORE TOMATOES

I had so many tomato seedlings I had to put them not only in the greenhouses but outside as well. To my surprise and pleasure the outside ones are doing ever so well. I’m bottling oven roasted ones, making them into sauce and bottling them as well, the possibilities are endless. At the same time I am also using them in making tasty lunches – in combination with courgettes.

These monsters are tomatoes beefsteak, very firm, fleshy and very tasty.

The plot keeps giving, I am amazed every time I start harvesting.

The carrots are the very first ones and we had them steamed today as part of our lunch. Same with the potatoes and with that a piece of fish each, done in the oven very simply in foil with a drop of olive oil.

Very tasty indeed.

BEETROOT

As usual I started with a number of rows of beetroot seedling but before I knew the birds have tried to strip the leaves off. I was just in time, I put loads of sticks between the rows and used old video tapes to string here and there. It worked, I’m very pleased to say. The harvest has started and I’m happy with it.

As usual I boiled the first lot and ate them just cooked – lovely! The next harvest was turned into my favourite chutney.

This is just about the best recipe, I have been making this chutney for quite a number of years. It keeps well and, like most chutneys, it improves with keeping.

POTATOES

Yet another great result – my second early potatoes. I planted two kinds – Estima and Kestrel and out of the two Estima is much better.

A reminder for next year – Estima.

It was a boiling hot morning, I was glad I started early. I left them on the ground, the skins will dry and harden and I shall bag them tonight.

TOMATOES

I am very happy with my tomatoes. Most of them are in the greenhouses but some had to be planted outside because I had so many plants. Every seed germinated. As ever, I sowed more – just in case – there was no need this year, but how was I to know?

Anyway, I harvested the first lot the other day and started as I mean to go on – bottling them. Very simply, chopped the tomatoes, put in a small Kashmiri chilli (not very hot, just a hint) and some mixed herbs. Forty minutes in a water bath and all is ready to be used in the winter.

CUCUMBERS AND COURGETTES

My courgettes always did well on the allotment but I am adding cucumbers to the list this year. I have a couple of plants in each greenhouse and they are producing very well. I like munching on a sliced cucumber but there are limits to what I can manage….

and I decided to find something else. After searching I discovered a recipe for ‘quick pickled cucumber‘ and just tried it. Just delicious!

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The next huge harvest are courgettes, every year is the same. I thought I’d like to try something else and after another search found a recipe for fermenting vegetables. I mistakenly thought it to be very complicated. Not this recipe! I will have to be patient, follow the instructions very carefully and try it later. Watch this space.

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I had just enough of the following vegetables: courgettes, dwarf beans, Borloto beans, kohl rabi, courgettes and a small green chili pepper.