Definitely autumn

The other day I posted about the summer vegetables in the garden. They are still there – and so are some autumn delights.

The Jerusalem artichokes have decided to flower again this year (missed a year last time round)

and the ripe crab apples looked equally resplendent on their tree.

The former may have reduced the crop, although with so many stems this year I think I will still have plenty to eat. As for the latter, I was sad to pick them but I also wanted to try out Spiced Crab Apples, which I think will add nicely to the Christmas table.

With the dreary weather today, thinking of Christmas brought some cheer. Especially as this is the first time I have made something from the garden with this in mind!

Posted in Gardening, In the kitchen | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Summer lives on

Personally, I’m really pleased that it has cooled down – new coat and boots which I couldn’t wear if it was roasting – and the vegetables don’t seem to have blinked an eyelid at the change to autumn.

pomodoro – the first to grow, the first to ripen

will the pepper turn red, yellow or purple?

runner bean flowers

That’s all for today. Yesterday at Yarndale inspired me to take up the crochet needle again……

Posted in Days out, Gardening | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Coulis not jam!

I feel a bit silly after misreading a recipe for blackberry and apple jam: 1800 ml of water instead of 180. My instinct had told me there was something wrong there but after an hour of trying to get to setting point, I added pectin and made what will be a delicious coulis. Quite a lot of it….

Talking of purple, one of the kale plants had decided to grow through a tear in the cloche protecting it from caterpillars,

so it seemed a good time to give it more growing space. I don’t have any more larger cloches but since I haven’t seen any butterflies over the past few days, I’m hoping they are gone for the rest of this year.

If this is so, the (probably) final purple sprouting broccoli plant, which went out this evening, should be fine. And in the process of planting it, I discovered two rather large stones. Only been in the property for seven years and now I find two fantastic items for the front garden. That is, they will be less wobbly than the bricks I’ve been balancing on up till now, so as to avoid treading on the soil.

stepping stones partially hidden under the rhubarb at present

Posted in Gardening, In the kitchen | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

The sheep on the right

At last, the long-awaited day of foraging with a similar-minded friend arrived today. We went to three different spots in all and I collected 2.5 kg of rosehips, a kilo of blackberries and a bag of nettles.

I’ve already started on a batch of rosehip and chilli jelly, realising that the one I made at the end of August was simply not enough. With the blackberries I intend to make jam and the nettles will become soup.

While we were in the Wakefield area, we came across a field of sheep, one of which came up and clearly wanted to be stroked. Have you ever heard of such a thing? Well, I certainly hadn’t.

Anyway, the sheep on the right is the one that duly got the desired attention before wandering off once more. But cute or what?

Just round the corner from my house, we finished off the day with a walk in land reclaimed with the closure of the local coal mine in the 1980s. Honestly, we needn’t have gone anywhere else but I do hope to go back very soon as on top of rosehips and rosehips and rosehips as well as the ubiquitous blackberries, there were apple trees, too.

I didn’t pick any today, though, as I’ve still got plenty from the LPN social a couple of weeks ago. As well as my own, which my friend reckons are ready now.

Posted in foraging, In the kitchen | Tagged , | 9 Comments

Industrial food vs organic homegrown food

Watching this short video made me ever so glad I eat largely organic food. Food with my insecticide, no thank you!

The Future of Food

Posted in Gardening, Health, Permaculture | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Wilting and other matters

I’m really pleased with the way the adzuki beans have been growing under the cloche with a kale plant. Notwithstanding, I’d had in mind to dig them in before planting out more pak choi. 

This hasn’t happened, however, as I felt too sad about saying goodbye to such luscious plants. So, I did a quick internet search to decide what to do.

It seems that adzuki beans need about four months to reach maturity. On the other hand, it is possible to eat the pods like mangetout (snow peas) and as we don’t actually like adzuki beans (hence my broadcasting sowing some of an old packet just to see what happened), I reckon I don’t need the whole four months, anyway.

Turning to less happy matters, the latest hugel bed seems to be in an unsatisfactory state. Or rather, the tomato plant and runner beans growing on it are/were decidedly unhealthy.


I think the tomato plant might have succumbed to blight and, not taking any chances, that has been moved to the municipal waste bin. If this is so, the cause of the runner bean ailment must be something else but I’m damned if I can work that one out.

Returning to a happy mode to end this post, whilst up that end of the garden I came across a lovely little strawberry

and I pulled another load of rocket, in readiness for another hugel bed and the shed in the autumn. So, the compost bin is full again after being filled up only last Friday.

Posted in Gardening | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Making space

Originally, I’d intended to have a rather large rocket bush out the ground in time for tomato planting. But then the ground became far too dry and hard and I decided not to bother.

In spite of being repeatedly cut back, I was getting the feeling of being overwhelmed. No doubt, the nearby tomato plants were as well. So, in view of the autumnal risks by way of botrytis and other scaries, the rocket needed to come out, so that the tomatoes would have as much ventilation as possible.

Now, instead of rocket, I’ve sown phacelia as ground cover till I plant either garlic or onions. Hopefully, this won’t grow so quickly as to overrun the tomatoes in its turn!

I also picked lots of chard to be blanched and frozen. In fact, I pulled quite a bit up by the roots, made much easier now the soil is moist again. It too had been crowding out tomato plants and had to go.

Close planting might work for some things – and I would say production has increased in my garden because of such – but tomato plants are a different beast, I think.

Posted in Gardening, Permaculture | Tagged , , | 10 Comments