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Showing posts with label harvest. Show all posts
Showing posts with label harvest. Show all posts


The first day of September.
I LOVE September.
I love the change of season.
Autumn is my favourite.
It's the squirrelling I love.  Gathering crops, harvest.  Turning them into Jams & Chutneys.
Hoarding of onions, garlic, squashes and potatoes to give us warmth through the winter months.
I love to forage for mushrooms, blackberries and sloes.  Rose hips for making a syrup to ward off colds and flu's.
In September we get our home ready for the winter.  Bring out lovely warm blankets and plan projects to keep us occupied on cold winter days.
Today I went out in the garden and spied signs of Autumn.
My onions drying in the sunshine.
Spiders, fat from the summer, trying to catch more before the winter.
Large yellow heads of the Rudbekia.
And my beautiful rosie red apples on the tree.
Ah yes, welcome September.... please bring us warm days and an abundant harvest.

so overgrown

I nearly died when I saw the plot today.
I was hardly able to walk up the paths through the thick weeds.
Dan strimmed the whole plot, which enabled us to actually move around it, but this then highlighted the weeds covering the vegetables in the beds.
After hours of back breaking labour, we managed to weed free a couple of the beds... and take home a harvest to be proud of......
* 60 bulbs of garlic
* 20 onions
* loads of purple mange tout & peas
* sweet peas
* the final harvest of broadbeans
* new potatoes
* yellow and green courgettes
* and finally BEETROOT!  Yes, I can now grow the little buggers!

So I am achey and tired, but happy the plot is saved from couch grass, bindweed and thistles.

Have a great week.

june harvest..

A bumper harvest from the lottie today.
We have taken in the past a few broad beans, some pak choi leaves and the odd pea pod which doesn't make it home.
But today we filled our arms.
Broad Beans, Purple Sprouting Broccoli, new potatoes, summer cabbage and peas!
Charlie helped to pod them ready for his tea.
A simple pleasure.
I think Dan and I might have broad bean and potato salad for our supper or maybe risotto.  YUM!


If all else fails - at least we have radishes!
These are the Radish Rainbow Mix, the first time I have grown them and they look soooo good!

What are you up to this weekend, something wild and wonderful I hope?!
We were going to Legoland, but that's been postponed til later in the year.  Something to do with Tesco sending the wrong tickets... anyway,
So it's allotment, swimming, picnics and new goldfish shopping for us instead.
Happy weekend my sweets.


food doesn't get fresher than this!

This glorious sunny April has given the allotment a super kick start.
Everything is growing bigger & stronger.
We had our first harvest today... a radish, which Dan promptly chomped straight after this photo was taken... {in my best Greg Wallace, MasterChef voice} -" food doesn't get fresher than this!"
The only downside... is the constant watering.
I have developed a strong right arm for lugging heavy watering cans up the plot {and small children} the time I get to the potatoes, I get the shakes... Dan has to take over.
I knew he came to the allotment for something!

Last lottie visit of the year.....

We haven't been to the allotment for a couple of months.  Sad but true.

The snow, bitter cold and busy schedule has let us forget our lovely plot.

She has sat forgotten, just growing and waiting for our return.

And today we did. 

My memory, and I think it was the boys memory, of lottie was back in late Autumn... sun drenched.  Pink Cosmos swaying in the breeze, cheese sandwich munching in the grass... and now she is a faded shadow of her former self.

I forgot how much I love it up here... it was only when I put on my wellies, and had the spade under foot did I remember.

First job for me, to dig up some parsnips for New Years Day lunch.

Our first allotment Parsnips...

Dan's first job was to play with his new toy... a Kelly Kettle (storm kettle).  He has wanted one of these for ever... he can now brew a cuppa in 3 minutes flat...!

Brilliant gadget... perfect for the allotment brew.

Our sprouts had been a bit pecked by the pigeons, I don't mind, I bet it must have been good to eat during the snow.  They did leave us the most important part.

So after taking from our lovely plot, I felt on our last visit of 2010, I shoud put something in.  Something to harvest next year.

I planted several rows of garlic.

We are still going through the garlic we harvested this summer.  6 bulbs of which I re-planted today.  Hopefully we will have enough to see us through until these are ready in July.

So, my lovely lottie.  Happy New Year.. I have big plans for you... here's to another summer of plenty.


Dried Runner Beans

This summer our runners beans produced so much we found it hard to keep up.  We made Chutney, froze lots, ate masses & gave some away.  Then one day I read this article in the Guardian newspaper by Alys Fowler.  And I thought genius!

Alys suggested we should leave the pods on the plant til they become really big, stringy and rather inedible. Then we should do like the Europeans, dry them, store them and use them in soups and stews throughout the winter.

Well, after reading that, we stopped battling with the masses of Runner Beans and just left them to their own devices.

Last week we tore down the canes and picked all the drying pods.  I then left them to dry on my window sill for a week, and today I opened the brittle pods and found these beautiful beans.

I don't know why we didn't do this sooner!

I have here White Lady (the white bean, which has also white flowers) and Sunset (the pink dappled bean, which has peach coloured flowers). 

I plan to keep a few of each variety to re-plant next year.

The rest will be thrown in hearty stews over the winter.


October Allotment

After all the excitement of yesterday, today we chilled in the sunshine at the allotment.  Thankfully I remembered to take the camera as last weekend we were here I didn't, and the Cosmos and the Asters needed to be recorded.

It felt great to be up there again.  I didn't realise I missed it until I was there.

Lottie was looking beautiful in the October sunshine.  She was a bit 'woolly' around the edges and in need of a huge weed.  But other than that she is looking gorgeous.

Masses of Asters (or Michealmas Daisies as most mums like to call them) are in front of the Littlegreenshed.  We were planning to lay pallets down here this winter to make a decked seating area, we are unsure now what to do?  The Asters are just so pretty.

I love that our Lottie is just giving us so many surprises.

Our Sprouts are coming along nicely.  I must admit for most of my life I have retched at the thought of eating a Brussel Sprout, but a couple of Christmases ago I was teased into submission and tried one.  To my surprise I found it totally delicious.  So these green emerald jewels are heading for a plate in front of me very soon!

The Mustard green manure is growing rapidly.  You can see where Rufus has sown it in handfuls!  Glad I don't have to thin them out!

Whilst clearing the cutting garden bed.  I cut off the spent sunflower heads and threaded them through the trellis to dry.  An instant bird feeding station.  They look so pretty here too.

The boys played really well today.  Some days we can be at the plot for 15 minutes and they start to moan, or hurt themselves or need the loo.  But today they happily amused themselves for several hours.  Utter bliss!

Charlie harvested some more carrots  And too our surprise we found this...

Hahahahhhaaa!  This keeps making me chuckle!  I don't want to eat it!

Hope you all enjoyed the sun today.

Have a great week.

October Harvest

Now you might think you are looking at a photograph from the guardian colour supplement or maybe Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstalls latest River Cottage book... but no, these beautiful carrots were pulled from our allotment this very afternoon!

The boys sewed them back in July, they pulled them this afternoon to much shouting of joy at the colours and sizes.  And they ate them for their tea.  This is what it's all about isn't it?  This is the reason for the plot. 

Today was the first time in about 3 weeks we have been to the plot.  We were dreading what it might look like.  But were pleasantly surprised with the bountiful colour and produce. 

The cosmos is still in full flower along with some sunflowers.  Outside the shed up to about waist height we were surprised to find masses of purple asters!  We hadn't a clue they were there.

We have some new neighbours.  The beeman's plot next door has been divided in 3 and Shona & Sylvester have taken the bottom plot.  They had started to clear the brambles only to find glass and rubble underneath.  Poor guys.  Taking on an allotment is like initation by fire... if you can get past the clearing and digging part at the beginning the rest relatively easy.

So back to our plot, we cleared away the old courgette plants, moved the comfrey, and planted some green manures (winter tares).

Can't wait to get up there tomorrow.

Happy October!

Okay, the weather maybe glum and extremely wet, but I am not going to let it bring me down.

I love autumn!

I can't help it, it is my favourite season of the whole year.  I love crisp golden sunny days, with deep blue skies.  I love how the sunshine picks out the yellowing grass heads and the turning colours of the leaves.

Autumn is also a great time for storing, nesting and taking stock.

Dan always calls me a little squirrel.  I love nothing better than foraging for cob nuts, sloes, damson, and blackberries and turning them into bottled treasures.  I love having a larder full of goodness waiting for us discover again in depths of a cold grey January.

So this month I will be:
  • Making Blackberry Vodka
  • Gathering cob nuts
  • Picking and storing squashes, beetroot & carrots
  • Making Sloe Gin
  • Taking out blankets from summer storage, nesting our home
  • Knitting wrist warmers for the four of us
  • Sowing green manure at the plot
  • Eating lots of homemade soup
  • Having a halloween party
  • Visiting Westonbirt Arboretum to see the colour
  • Go mushroom hunting in the woods
So Happy October.... what are your plans this month?


Rosehip Syrup

A couple of weekends ago, we went hedgerow foraging, we found several Dogrose bushes laden with ripe rosie hips.  We knew exactly what to make with them, Rosehip Syrup.

During the Second World War, the Ministry of Defence had a team of volunteers gather Rosehips to make into syrup.  They were paid just 3d (just over 1p) for each pound they collected and the syrup was fed to the nations children.  

Rosehips are naturally packed full of Vitamin A and C, which was in short supply during the War.

Last year we were struck down with Swine Flu.  I don't think I have ever felt so ill and I don't ever want to have the flu like that again, so fingers crossed, having a spoonful of this a day will keep nasty bugs away and boost our immune system.

The recipe I used was from the River Cottage Handbook No 2 - Preserves:

500g Rosehips
650g Graulated Sugar

Pick over the rosehips, removing the stalks, and rinse in cold water.

Put 800ml water in a pan and bring to the boil.  Meanwhile, mince the rosehips in a food processor. (I used the coffee grinder attachment on my liquidiser).

Add this mash to the pan of boiling water, cover and bring back to the boil.  Take off the heat and allow to stand for 15 minutes.

Pour through a scalded jelly bag or muslin and leave to drip for an hour or so.

Set aside the strained juice.  Bring another 800ml water to the boil, add the rosehip pulp, and repeat the boiling process again.  Tip the mixture back into the jelly bag or muslin and this time leave to drip overnight.

The next day, combine both lots of strained juice (discard the pulp).  Measure the juice (you should have about 1 litre) and pour into a saucepan.  Add the sugar and heat, stirring until dissolved.  Boil for 2-3 minutes, then immediately pour into warm, sterilised bottles and secure with a screw cap or cork.

Use within 4 months.

It tastes very sweet (lots of sugar in the recipe!), but also fragrant yet spicy.  Really rather delicious and the best thing is, the boys love it!

I have some hips left over.  I could go out and pick some more to make more syrup or I might make these, which I totally fell in love with (get it heart?!), ahem.  I like the idea of starting to make some Christmas decorations out of natural things.

Autumn Forage

Yesterday saw the most glorious of autumnal days.  Bluest skies streaked with amazing clouds (I must find out what this type of cloud is).

We decided to go foraging, hedgerow style, around the fields of my childhood.

I grew up here, well from the age of 10 upwards.  So know these fields pretty well.  Certain foot paths and lanes will take you to places where we used to make dens, tell stories, have a naughty puff on a forbidden ciggie (ahem no! not me, I just watched).

So when it comes to autumn and picking and bottling, I know exactly where to go for good harvesting.

Through the train tunnel, using the bridalway.

We found some amazing haws, blackberries, rosehips, sloes and wild damsons.

I couldn't stop picking... only to find out we had run out of tupperware to carry it home in.

It was glorious, the sun gently warming our backs as we picked.  The only noise disruption was the train going past.  Charlie taking a photo of the train.

The slow walk home, bags laden with berries, hearts full - stomachs very empty, lunchtime.

I will be turning our hedgerow bounty this evening into Rosehip Syrup, Sloe Gin and Hedgerow Jelly.