Today’s pickings


Today’s pickings – runner beans, courgette, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, boysenberries, wineberries, giant baking sized potatoes and windfall apples for the pigs!


Had to share them because  they were all so damn beautiful.


And the most beautiful sight of all? Snoopy the beagle curled up in the horticultural fleece. She didn’t want to leave the garden and go inside for dinner too ūüė¶

But she got over it when mum started making pie…



Update: Sunday 4th Sept 2016

Bumble bee on an Echinacea flower

Has anyone picked so many runner-beans this year that they’ve had to buy a new freezer?!

Nope, just me… ? Hmm, was afraid of that.

This week we’ve been:

  • Weeding, mulching
  • Mum has frozen a tonne of beans again
  • Picking blackberries and raspberries and plums – freezing them too
  • I made ‘courgette crisps’ because we have so many marrows still hanging around the house. You cut the courgettes very thinly, toss them in 1tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt, place them on a lined baking tray and scatter 1tbsp grated cheese and 1tbsp breadcrumbs over the top and leave them in an oven of 110C until they have turned brown and crisp (about 2-3hrs) before leaving them in the oven to cool to room temperature before eating them on their own or with some dips. I think mum is the only one to eat them so far but she said they were really good and she has eaten one whole tray full so they can’t be that bad…
  • Our bulb order arrived yesterday that mum bought on behalf of my birthday so I played clearing a patch for them under the apple trees that is swamped by nettles and invasion trees galore. I scythed the tall nettles first and cut down the unwanted bad trees before starting to dig out the roots of everything. I tossed all of the weeds, grass and nettles into the pig run for them to munch on and turn into compost. I might finally get that patch cleared and the bulbs planted in, say, a years time…
  • I also cleared away a whole patch of sweetcorn that had been picked and chucked those to the pigs. They really like the stems! I’ve prepared the bed for some lettuce and rocket I have growing indoors that are nearly ready to plant out, probably this week.
  • We do have a pesky fox digging up parts of the beds at the moment. I thought it was just the cats getting a little too confident at first but now that I’ve found some fox poo, I know who I am dealing with. Unfortunately, there is little I can do to prevent a fox from digging for bugs in the beds. I can only net over the little seedlings to give them a chance of survival, I suppose.
  • Excitingly, we had another order of manure delivered from our friends with the Guernsey cows, another huge load by tractor. We had managed to use all of ours that only arrived in like March. Perfect timing as the whole place needs desperate feeding and bed preparing.
  • Even better: we got seven new hens (all ginger ex-battery types) on Bank Holiday Monday. We were lacking in eggs seeing as the ducks are moulting, Clucky, my little white hen is broody and only one other Black Rock chicken is laying – that meant one ¬†egg every few days. Now we’ll get a few more – the ¬†eggs are so tiny because they are so young!

Have a good week, everyone.

Update: 28th August 2016

It has been rather busy – again. When is it not in the garden? It is a never ending project!

Lots of weeding and watering in the surprisingly hot August weather.

Lots of picking and freezing of beans, plums, raspberries, some gorgeously big blackberries despite the lack of rain (shh, I did not say that, let’s not encourage it to come back!) and mum even froze some broccoli today.

Still getting gluts of courgettes/marrows and cucumbers. Digging up some lovely potatoes and onions and I used my first homegrown leak in a made from scratch Homity Pie. I will try and put the recipe up sometime as it uses so much wonderful garden produce in it and went down a treat with the family.

Finally got round to making my first batch or raspberry jam – I know, slacking – and today I finally made strawberry jam. Just in time because I’ve nearly finished all of my homemade strawberry and rhubarb and might have cried. Plum and blackcurrant next to go…

Pruning funny shaped cherry trees before autumn creeps up on us. Getting rid of blighted stems on my celery and celeriac. Tried our first turnip and everyone liked it, even my mum and dad who both had been scarred in their childhoods from its interesting taste. Of course, now that we have been brave enough to try them and discovered we like them, something has taken a huge chunk out of the one of four I have left in the ground… Murphy’s Law.

Fun news: I have started testing out the scythe I was gifted for my 21st on the meadowland we have in the vegetable garden (that was previously known as the field, I should probably add, before I got stuck in). So far I haven’t destroyed any hoses, crops or cats that like to sunbathe there. Here’s hoping the good-luck continues! It is really good fun and I will hopefully get round to writing a post about them one day. Problem is I have so many ideas I want to share online but so little enthusiasm for sitting down all day when I am itching to get back to being a busy-bee in the garden. Talking of bees, ours are certainly not being busy. They are more like bees sitting on the sofa waiting for the delivery of sugar water to come to them rather than to step outside into the magical world of flowers and pollen. Thank goodness bumble bees are a little more enthusiastic.

Aubergines finally growing. Cape gooseberries producing! Picked our first okra this week (haven’t tried it yet…). And our first couple of sweetcorn, which were yummy. I have included a picture of a Japanese Wineberry from our bush we bought and planted earlier this year. A couple of berries grew and this is one that was ready for harvesting a couple of days ago. Is it not beautiful? It is such a light, red colour, like a ruby.

Hope the sun shines on all but that the heat does not kill the plants or us – anyone else feeling like a slug moving around in this odd weather? Not that I am complaining, there is a reason other than my large frizzy hair that makes people compare me to a sun-worshiping lion and that is my love of hot weather. Happy bank holiday and gardening to all.


Weekly Update: Saturday 13th August 2016

Been a little busy so I have not done everything I needed/wanted to do in the garden this week but I still saw it every day.

  • Did some weeding and hoeing for a path.
  • Picked runner beans, courgettes, green gages, lettuce, cucumbers, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, tomatoes.
  • Currently weeding a parsley bed at the moment.
  • Weeded and fed and mulched the tree cabbage.
  • Completed mulching the celery and celeriac, building up the earth around them.
  • Started tackling the beetroot patch.
  • Almost done with weeding the space near the beehives – but one has to pick the right moments to attempt that task.

Weather looks lovely if slightly hot. Lots of watering needed!

I turned 21 yesterday and ¬†was given 4 lovely David Austin roses – white, yellow, pink and red and they smell divine. My favourite red rose already in the garden also opened for my birthday, specially! I was also given a scythe and bill-hook. This will be fun, my brother has asked me to warn everyone in ¬†advance when I am practicing with it in the garden so that they can beware…

Happy gardening.

Birthday cake my lovely mum made me. It may not have a lot to do with gardening but it has pretty flowers on it…¬†
Flowers picked from the garden
Green and Black’s Sachertorte

Weekly Update: Friday 5th August 2016

First week of August.

  • Lots of weeding, feeding and mulching beds, including: brussels sprouts, brukale, quinoa, amaranth, celery and celeriac.
  • Sowing seeds: lettuce, spinach, radishes, spring onions, parsley, coriander, last of the peas (indoors and outdoors, fingers crossed they germinate), rocket.
  • Covering up exposed potatoes with manure where the blight has killed off the plants above ground.

Harvested first green-gage plums. That is exciting – it means nearly plum jam time, my favourite!

Harvested lots of courgettes. Or marrows. Every time I turn away, one grows to the size of, well, a giant marrow from ‘Wallace and Gromit Curse of the Were Rabbit’. Picking lots of: cucumbers, blueberries, first new batch of raspberries starting to grow, boysenberries, tayberries, potatoes (they are so beautiful), runner beans, kale, perpetual spinach, swiss chard, radishes, carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, finally got some PROPER sized spring onions to grow (my ones last year were a dismal, this year they actually have bulbs on the end of them), huge onions, lots of garlic, chives and parsley. I just made a cheese pizza using homegrown onion and garlic, topped with perpetual spinach leaf beet, kale and swiss chard served alongside homegrown salad followed by chocolate cake, pouring yoghurt, blueberries and raspberries. Yum.

Have a good weekend, I hope the sun shines on everyone.

Weekly Update: Saturday 30th July 2016

Nearly the end of July – where did this month go?

Straight back to work this week:

  • Weeding quinoa and amaranth patches.
  • Weeding old trenches and feeding them before sowing seeds: radishes, coriander, parsley, spring onions, lettuce, rocket, spinach and ‘Alderman’ peas.
  • Weeding and feeding sweetcorn.
  • Netting an apple tree that the birds are partial to. They knicked every single one last year. It was time for some netting.
  • Picking redcurrants, jostaberries, last of the blackcurrants and raspberries for now, last couple of strawberries, blueberries, last morello cherries.
  • Clearing up bolted lettuce for chickens and ducks.
  • Digging up two blight potato plants worth of harvest for boiled and mashed potatoes.
  • Harvesting lots of very big courgettes, last broad beans, baby¬†runner beans, carrots, cabbage, kale, cucumbers, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, giant and beautiful onions, garlic and tomatoes.


Weekly Update:16th July 2016

Happy 18th Birthday to the best sister in the world!

Busy, busy, busy…

This week I have:

  • Weeded, fed and mulched all of the overgrown rocket, parsley, dill and old Chinese cabbage and lettuce beds and the paths alongside it.
  • Weeded, fed, mulched celery and celeriac bed.
  • Weeded, fed, mulched calabrese and cauliflower bed.
  • Weeded brukale, brussels sprouts and cabbages.
  • Weeded, fed, mulched other cabbage trench.
  • Planted out last soya beans.
  • Planted out last pepper from indoors into the greenhouse.
  • Planted out last of cape gooseberries (going to need potting on).
  • Weeded and mulched last year’s¬†celery trench and gave remains that had gone to seed to the pigs who loved them.
  • Weeded and mulched a path covered in goosegrass so now we can pick the tayberries and jostaberries without getting our legs and arms scratched off.
  • Weeded, fed, mulched pak choi bed and spring onion bed.
  • Picked lots of strawberries – I am expecting them to be all gone by the time I get back from my week away.
  • Picked lots of raspberries, blackcurrants (coming soon with the recipe I made this week when I get back), carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, calabrese broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, radishes, courgettes, kale, perpetual spinach leaf beet, pak choi, swiss chard and the first blueberries yesterday!
  • Lots of cooking with home grown produce this week: homemade pizza with perpetual spinach, swiss chard, red and green pak choi and kale in the topping; bolognese with perpetual spinach in it followed by lasagne made over from the left over gloop, served with first calabrese broccoli and courgettes, peas and kale before having lettuce and lots of cucumber; stewed blackcurrants with puddings; stewed jostaberries; blackberries (some growing inside a greenhouse), raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and tayberries with our brownies. Making a birthday cake today – ¬†which will again be served with berries, sorry sister.


  • Planted out spring onions I had grown indoors.
  • Potted on tomatoes.
  • Potted on basil.
  • Planted out lambs lettuce.
  • Tied back potatoes that were drowning other beds.
  • Picked HUNDREDS of raspberries, blackcurrants, jostaberries, redcurrants (they look like jewels) the couple of cherries our baby trees produced (Morello has produced quite a lot that will need picking this weekend before we go).
  • Freezing lots of the fruit. The exhaustion of picking fruit, picking through the fruit to take off the mould or damaged parts and then packaging and freezing is terrible…

I will be trying to write one more post on flowers for bees in the vegetable garden before I go, will hopefully post it tomorrow. Otherwise, happy gardening and cooking to all and see you in a week.