Sunday, 28 October 2012

Garden 2012 no 23

Garden 2012 no 23

This is it in brief………………….
It’s that time of year again,
It doesn’t look much but,
I did this.

It was cold,
I was exhausted
I had this.

And now I’m heading off to a hot bath
The end.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Garden 2012 no 22

Garden 2012 no 21

There’s still stuff to do in the garden before real winter sets in and the ground freezes. Last Sunday I carried out boring routine tasks, I cleared the paved area of weeds and grass and removed the deep rooted weeds from around the fence. I tidied up around the outside of the fence and cut back the over hanging plants. I pulled the last of the spinach and lettuce and threw them in the compost because they were too bitter to eat. 

I’ve collected all the compost and filled up the empty tubs ready for next year, I’ll just have to feed and fertilize before planting. I missed most of the Tay berries and black berries this year because the fruit came when I was recovering from the eye surgery. The branbles were taking over and beginning to wind themselves around the two gooseberry bushes. 

My solution was to replant the gooseberry bushes in pots ready for next year and train the blackberry and Tayberry brambles around the fence where the gooseberries were. I’m hoping for a bumper crop next year because I missed the crop this year. I dug up the carrots; they were the only crop left in the ground. These are the weirdest carrots I’ve ever seen, no idea why they grew like that but the smell when they were dug up and washed was delicious. 

They may look like monster carrots but I think they will taste good.  I’m going to make carrot and coriander soup, that way their poor misshapen bodies will make no difference, as long as they taste good the soup will be good. After digging and bottling the beetroot last week I made beetroot soup using the stock the beetroot were cooked in, some red beetroot stalks, some beetroot leaves, some of my garlic, some of my red onions and some vegetable stock.  It’s a deep red colour and has a satisfying earthy taste. I ate some with home made garlic bread and saved some in the freezer

Next Sunday, weather permitting, I hope to finish off tidying up and tying back the fruit canes, clear the vegetable patch and start digging ready for the winter.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Garden 2012, no 21, Cooking with the Harvest

Garden 2012, no 21

Cooking with the harvest

It’s as if someone flicked a switch, the first two weeks of October were like a real Indian Summer; and now its cold, wet and miserable. The season changed in the blink of an eye, like flicking a switch. The heating is on, the winter woollies are out and the soup is on the stove. No more nipping out across the road to the shop in your indoor clothes, now its coat and shoes just to put the rubbish out. If you need milk or bread, or any thing else from the shop, remember to pick it up on the way home from work. Because once  indoors, it’s into the baggy, warm, indoor clothes, turn up the heating, close the blinds, close the curtains, lock the door and turn up the TV to drown out the sound of the wind.
Fortunately; I found time in my busy schedule to harvest every thing from the garden.  I’ve picked the last of the beetroot, last of the onions and last of the fruit. Actually, there are a couple of lettuce and spinach plants left in the ground, but they are old and taste bitter, so for now, they are staying in the ground until I get out and start digging.

I’ve done lots of cooking with the produce. I’ve been saving the fruit in the freezer, especially the rhubarb, until I had harvested as much as possible and could use it all together in a huge end of season jam making session.  

The Rhubarb was mixed with the fallen apples from my friends’ garden, I had bags and bags of apples, none of them fit to eat raw but perfect for jam making. I used some of the apples, all of the Rhubarb, a couple of lemons  and a generous amount of ginger and made jam, eight large jars of it, and it tastes delicious. I did have a little help with the labels.
And once that was done, I made sweet white jam. This time I used all of the gooseberry, all of the white currant and some more of the apples and another couple of lemons.

 No ginger this time, this white jam has a delicate sweet taste that I wanted to keep. There wasn’t as much white jam but poured into small jars it went a surprisingly long way, I filled 11 small jars in total. 
The fancy white frills around the tops are just paper cup cake cases placed upside down over the top of the jars before the lids are screwed down.
On to the Beetroot;
It was dug from the ground, boiled in the pan and bottled in spiced vinegar. 

This time I made another 5 large bottles of beetroot. Last time it was 3 large bottles and 4 small bottles, not a bad total for such a small garden and difficult year.
The last of this years cooking with produce wasn’t exactly cooking. I made eight bottles of infused olive oil. Which; I hope to use both as a salad dressing, and to cook with. Each bottle was filled with extra virgin olive oil to which I added one sprig of rosemary, one sprig of mint ( chocolate mint), a couple of garlic cloves, a couple of slices of red onion, and a few pieces of chopped red chilli. Every thing except the chilli came from my garden and the chilli came from my daughters greenhouse.
I still have quite a lot of garlic and some red onion drying out in the kitchen. At the moment I’m not sure what to do with them but I’ll probably just store them in the cupboard next to my potatoes that are already stored

So………..grand total for this year is’ bottled beetroot, pickled shallots, two lots of jam, herb oil, stored potatoes, stored garlic, stored onions, a bag of frozen broad beans and a bag of frozen spinach.  What I need now is a fairly dry day at the weekend to start weeding, tidying and digging ready for next year and before the ground freezes.