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Garden Update – August ’10

There has been a definite theme for this month in the garden – rain and more rain. While this means the BBQ and Tandoor have been left unused it does mean the garden is beautiful and lush. August has really been the peak for crops in the garden with peas being by far the best crop this year closely followed by the beetroot. The various types of carrots we’ve grown have also fared well being grown in old floristry buckets. We harvested the first of the white pattypan last night and when roasted they are delicious and have an almost buttery taste. The plant has been more manageable that the Blue Ballet Squashes from a few years back. I’m not the biggest fan of squashes but this is one that will not end up in a cake! The alpine strawberries are very slowly getting there.

Somehow I’ve managed to kill my Borage plant. Yes the plant that runs rampant in the majority of places I’ve managed to kill. It shot up impressively, bloomed a few flowers but then the remaining buds never opened, the plant turned yellow and keeled over. I’m not sure if the plant just felt swamped in the big pot with the other herbs.

After 3 years of planting sweetcorn we’ve given up as our garden just isn’t suited to them. The Romanesco is getting savaged by caterpillars and there is no sign of the beautiful bright fractal covered vegetable but we’re not going to give up on it. Oh, and the less we talk about Asparagus Peas the better. On the brighter side the Purple Sprouting Broccoli is looking good and should bring some much needed colour in the winter months.

The harvest from the garden is slowly coming to an end and it is being cleared ready for some winter crops. I’m always surprised as to what we manage to achieve from such a small plot. While we are not self-sufficient it has certainly cut down on the amount of veg we’ve had to buy. Nothing is as good as eating freshly picked peas or carrots.

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Veg Plot Swap

The thing about owning a veg plot is that it is easy to get overwhelmed with various fruit and veg. This is when it comes in handy to have friends who also have veg plots and this is when the veg plot swap is born. Due to the size of our veg plot it’s rare for us to have a glut, but we certainly are the recipients of other gluts that we usually give back in the form of baking. Some people in the village have become enterprising and sell their gluts at the bottom of the drive with the help of an honesty box.

Redcurrants were the first of our recent veg plot swaps.1kg was turned into redcurrant jam, 1kg juiced and now maturing in rum to make an alcoholic cordial ready for Christmas and the final 500g is in the freezer ready for rhubarb & redcurrant jam making in the near future. Another alternative would be to make a Summer Pudding. Great way of using up not only leftover fruit but also leftover bread.

Courgettes. If you follow me on twitter you would have heard my sighs of despair with all the courgettes we’ve been given recently. Not being one to throw food away I’ve been cooking them in many ways. I’ve tried different recipes, one of which made me to bake one of the worst muffins I’ve made in a while, and have fallen back on the delicious courgette & feta fritters, oven-baked frittata plus courgette cake with lime cheesecake icing.

Growing a veg plot has certainly encouraged us to be creative in the kitchen. If you’re looking for inspiration and advice with gardening and veg plots head over to Fennel & Fern’s new community.

Garden Update – July ’10

Weather wise we’ve been quite lucky here with a good dose of sun and rain. When I went into the garden this morning, tentively  I may say due to a mouse-shaped furry friend I’d spotted, the way that the overnight raindrops glistened on the plants was beautiful.

Not sure the Pot Marigolds they are keeping away the pests but the almost day-glo orange of the flowers have really brought some colour to the garden.

Nothing beats the eating sweet, delicious peas straight from the plant. The peas certainly seem to be the success of the veg plot this year. Most of the peas are being eaten by us before the reach the kitchen.

The Purple Sprouting Broccoli plants are doing very well. The butterflies seem to be ignoring these plants and are heading straight to the Romanesco Broccoli that is slowing being eaten by caterpillars.

The grapevine is giving the garden a glorious wall of green for the 3rd year in the row. However still no grapes. Does anyone know what we have to do to encourage the vine to bear fruit?

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