Hurrah for 2014!

Not much to see, but very glad it isn't under water! Mark vetoed garlic, but as space is limited I'm not arguing. We started on our own courgettes frozen just before Christmas. They are great for our usual veggie menu- go into chillis and pasta sauces without complaint and may keep us going until they start cropping?! We will see.... Meantime lots of seed/ garden presents, including a family apple tree. I'll post a pic when it is planted. really looking forward to crops in 2014!

The last hurrah!

Well Mark went down yesterday, hoping to strim and instead did a major clear up, mending the collapsing pergola holding up the vine, organising clutter and emptying our weed bucket. We attribute a lot of our success to this giant bucket in which we rot down all perennial weeds. It smells awful but the crops seem keen- probably all the trace elements. I gather couch is rich in Silica. Meanwhile Grace was helping me put in more tulips- Negrita this time. A meal last night with own chillis and Pak Choi. Very good!

Not colder yet -soon I'm sure!

Still they come! Mark has now stripped all the peppers and a small ton of tomatoes. He says he thinks there is still more to come, but may well swoop down soon and take all remaining. He likes a giant tidy up....we have enjoyed the most delicious pasta sauce from these pickings and then, inspired by the chillis, a most gorgeous Mexican. The garden provided copious chives and garlic chives for salsa and Basil pots are still giving good pickings as well as sorrel.
I'm wearing vast layers of thermals/jerseys, but still feeling cold- but it is actually mild for Bonfire Night. Clearing up, I found a plant of Acanthus and one of Comfrey trying to invade my path, but on the good side, I now have a huge hole for yet more tulips!

Onion Squash lovely!

I can report it was a very nice flavour. Roasting seems best. All the squash are harvested now, including the butternut, but tomatoes still coming. Still some ripening on the windowsill ad a large quantity for a giant pasta sauce next week. Also plenty of chillis harvested and put in a giant curry. Green manure sown and a huge number of bulbs and wallflowers all planted in readiness. Today Charlotte and Kestrel potatoes ordered for Feb. too. All set for 2014!

Everything gratefully received!

This last week things have really started to slow down. The courgettes are a manageable 2-3 a week...still enough for a pasta or a chilli, but not huge amounts. We had a couple of nicely spicy things with our chillis that are producing well now- they do need a long season I find.
The grape juice did ferment a bit at the end- Mark didn't like the tartness, so I was left to polish it off when it was quite fizzy! Only a small sludgy end bit was left- all the rest was enjoyed mightily. Brilliant!
We also have a rather lovely Onion Squash I'm hoping the birds leave alone. They are getting a bit thirsty, even pecking at tomatoes!

Making grape juice!

Making grape juice!
Been inundated with a HUGE harvest of grapes- it doesn't happen often. The hot weather and lazy blackbirds have combined. Mark has been juicing madly- I'm half hoping they might start fermenting on their own!
ALMOST but not quite, had too many cucumbers- juicer to rescue- very nice with carrot/orange/mango!
Now it is cooler, things slowing down and more manageable- still loving it.

Tomato bonanza too!

Just recovering from the tomatoes joining in with the squashes- a major development!
Very pleased with Sungold, Tigerella, old faithful Gardener's Delight and fab newcomer Black Cherry from Moreveg.
At home, some of the kids on the estate very interested- Mark gave them some to try with their impromptu picnic on the lawn. Great feedback and even greater freshly harvested roasted veg, including fresh dug Charlotte.
|Text alert about blight- a near miss, which means start Bordeauxing with a vengeance!

Cucumber heaven!

Just posted a comment about cucumber recipes. A while since we have had that many!
But I am still enjoying all the different types we have this year! I have been a bit of a snob about variety, but this year we have not only some from seed by me- Tokyo Slicer and Marketmore, but also Diva and Burpless Tasty. Hard to compare exactly, Mark picks at varying lengths, not allowing the longer fruits to develop, but I still think that Tokyo Slicer is completely delicious. I actually ate a whole one at the plot the other day- I didn't even stop to wash it! A perfect Diva is also delightful and the skin not spiny at all.
I have to say, peeling them seems a waste when it is so tasty.
They never make it as far as soup in our house!

Tsunami of curcurbits!

Tsunami of curcurbits!
Well here, we are right in the thick of harvest!
Yesterday we had the most dreamy pasta with courgette, onion, garlic, basil and tomato sauce. Mark has a new kitchen gadget for his birthday that makes short work of all the prep.
Really glad we grew a mix of different types of courgette- the colours are beautiful from palest green, through all the yellows to darkest green and apricot. Prettiest courgette ever- Zephyr. It is bright yellow, dipped in a paint pot of apple green. The new fridge is starting to earn it's keep as we freeze surplus for the winter instead of buying.
Still got the pots and door to do, but I think Mark is keener on chopping my venerable Rosemary bush down- it has to go!

Green heaven!

Now we are into harvesting in a big way! On Sunday, the first gorgeous cucumber, (Diva I am guessing as all labels have gone awol) and Sungold tomatoes join the huge quantities of Squash, Basil and delicious potatoes. The cucumber was unbelievably fresh and crisp.
The current year's potatoes look very sad- just not happy. Compared with last season's volunteers, not worth the effort.
I'm wondering if we should leave some in situ.....
One whole flower patch now cleared and the second is in the firing line. I'm trying to get it left a bit, so the blackcurrant moves well. It has been prolific and delicious.
Most urgent job, apart from Bordeauxing, is to wash the plastic pots so they can dry out in the sunshine nicely, but this, like repairing the shed door, is not popular!
Someone from the committee came and complained our plot lacks diversity- that's what happens when you only grow what you like! Brassica lite!