Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Stormy Days

Who would believe it's August? The weather we've been having, stormy and windy, and lots and lots of rain... and hot, which is the only clue that it is supposed to be summer...hot and sticky... uncomfortable.

Anyway we've been making small progress with the garden. We have decided we need a shredder, so we can shred all the hornbeams, rather than simply put them into the brown garden waste bin - if we can shred them, we can compost them or use them as mulch. We've been looking on Freecycle, and pricing up for a new one, but we suspect we'll have to bite the bullet and buy one.

The tomatoes are still ripening, I noticed today the first one on the tumblers that has started to change colour, but these photos were taken a few weeks ago to show the baby toms and loads of flowers, very sweet. The other tomatoes are still going strong, but not changing colour as yet.

The beans and courgettes are producing, we've been eating beans, and some peas, but as we haven't got many pea plants we haven't had many peas. Our favourite thing to do is eat them fresh out of the pod as soon as they're picked, they are so sweet and fresh and green. We will defo grow more peas next year, these are great.

This is what we planted the spuds in, they have ALL produced green growth, and I've earthed them up already. Hubby lifted all the tubs yesterday and put bricks under them to raise them off the hardboard, with all the rain the tubs were sitting in a pool of water.

The mini greenhouse is still standing despite the windy weather, and the cues and chillis are doing well, not changed colour yet, but I think the lack of sunshine hasn't helped.

I cropped all the beets from the smaller raised bed, and made some beetroot and orange chutney, recipe from The Complete Book of Preserves and Pickles by Catherine Atkinson and Maggie Mayhew. After making the chutney, I still had lots of beets left over, so I pickled them :-) They won't be ready to eat for a few weeks, but when I tasted the chutney to check the seasoning it tasted good!

We've also picked a load of apples from the tree, there are still plenty on there, they'll last another couple of weeks I reckon. I incorporated some into the chutney, and have stewed the remainder for the freezer. I did 2 lots of spiced, and 2 lots of plain stewed apple. And we now have 16 tubs of stewed apple to go into porridge or onto ice cream, for months to come. My new favourite gadget is the Apple Master from Lakeland, it is a doddle to use, and so quick, it made the preparation of 4 carrier bags of apples a breeze. I Highly Recommend this product! It peels cores and slices, so all I had to do by hand was take out the bruised bits or scabby bits. Fab. I reckon we've got about the same amount of apples still on the tree, so I intend to dehydrate these, and store them that way. Will write about this when I do it.

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