Friday, 10 September 2010


Yay we've got a garden shredder! I picked one up from Aldi last night, £99.99, bargain. I was on my way home from work so I didn't have Whitewolf with me to do the lifting. Boy is it heavy!! I was beginning to panic about how I was going to get it off the pile and into the trolley, when a very nice man asked if I needed a hand, and he put it in the trolley for me. He was just another customer, and it was very kind of him to do so. I thanked him profusely.

Fortunately I didn't need to put it onto the conveyor belt, the cashier could see the product code on the box, so that was a relief. I managed to manhandle the shredder out of the trolley and into the car, but I thought, even if I have to take it out of its box and put it in the car in bits, I'm having it. I didn't want to go home and get Whitewolf in case they'd all gone by the time we got back, you know what these bargain days are like, if you don't get in quick the good stuff disappears!

We've yet to try it out, but it should be a BIG help, and a major step forwards in our being able to clear the overgrown trees from the garden. Will comment on how effective the shredder is in a later post.

So, we've got the hornbeams to clear, and the apple tree to prune and train, and other shrub and plants to cut back, lots of work, which we'll tackle gradually. The thicker trunks that we can't shred will go to a friend who has a woodburner. We're planning on bagging up the chipped wood into black bin bags, and poking holes in the sides of the bags, and allowing the chippings to overwinter. They will become mulch, or the covering for paths between the new raised beds we plan on creating. The greener shreddings will go into the compost bin to add some bulk. And there is always the brown garden waste bin too, if the waste is shredded then more'll fit in the bin.

Fingers crossed for some dry days so we can crack on with the work.

And we now have roof bars for the car, so we can finally get the planking we want for the sides of the raised beds we're planning.

Lots of work to do, but we now have the suitable equipment, nothing can hold us back! Except maybe the English weather...

Friday, 3 September 2010

Autumn is on its way

It may sound daft, but as the days are drawing shorter, and the nights are cooling off, I am worrying about the garden. We have so much prep still to do, hornbeams to remove and dispose of, raised veg beds to make, and rearranging to do, that it all seems a bit of a mountain at the moment. Also, one of our raised beds is now empty, and is waiting to be repositioned, so we can't sow anything in there until it's in its new position. So it feels a bit in Limbo.

But we have bought some roof bars for the car, which will help us get the planks we need for the raised beds home from the diy store. We do need a shredder though, so fingers crossed we'll be able to pick one up pretty soon. We'll use it to help us get rid of the flamin hornbeams.

The tomatoes are still ripening, and I mean ALL of the toms, not just the early ones by the kitchen, the tumblers and even the big Freecycyle tomatoes are ripening. Fab.

We harvested all the remaining apples off the tree, and have given some away, and we still have 3 big carrier bags full in the kitchen waiting to be attended to. We got stuck in because the magpies were after them, and woke us up with their noisy chattering outside our bedroom window! We are hoping to get out to the Withy again and collect some blackberries and elderberries, to make bramble jelly and elderberry and apple jelly. So that'll use up some of the apples. More chutneys may be in order as well.

The runner beans are still coming, I pick a few every night and store them in the fridge until there is enough for a meal. The peas are pretty much finished, but they are a must for next year, and in a better position hopefully. The courgettes are mildewed again poor things, so have not produced very much. Better position for these too next year.

The greenhouse plants have ground to a halt it seems, one small cucumber, and several chillis, yet to change colour, but I live in hope.

Not veg garden related, but Hubby and I went wild damson picking last week, and we made Spiced Damson and Apple Cheese, bloomin lovely. We stewed the fruit, twice as much weight of damsons to apples, and sieved the resultant pulp. Then weighed it, and added the same weight of sugar to pulp, and about a teaspoon and a half of allspice. Then boiled it until we got to 105 degrees, and popped it into sterilised jars. I've already tucked into the first jar, and it is delicious. Hopefully we'll go and get some more damsons, and I'll have a go at a jam instead of a cheese. Yum!

Really got the preserving bug now, there are so many things I want to try making, and it's an excellent way of preserving our produce without having to freeze it all.