Should be further on than this!

Not sure what is wrong with me but finding it really hard to get out in the cold and do some work. Did manage to make a start on the two beds at the top of the garden although they still need fed with about twenty wheelbarrow loads of manure. Hoping for an improvement from the asparagus bed in 2017 it was a very meagre crop this year. I’ve yet to do anything in the veggie plot bar plant out cabbage, collards, chard and kale plus sow more lettuce. I think I’m perhaps being overly optimistic with regards to the outdoor sown lettuce but we’ll see. It’s funny as soon as I don’t have any lettuce to pick I start craving it!

cleared-beds   veggieplot

Both polytunnels are at least complete for the winter. They both contain transplanted strawberries along their back walls. In the first one there’s some PakChoi progressing very slowly plus lettuce and oriental greens from seed that are just starting to peek through. In the second one I’ve left a chilli plant to see how long it lasts who knows perhaps it will be a mild winter and it will live to see 2017. I’ve also sown broad beans in the hope of a crop that is not decimated by black fly. I’ve tried on a number of occasions to grow broad bean outside – this will be my last attempt if the blackfly invade the polytunnel.

g1   g2

This is not a pretty sight but I’m sure the worms will love it. I did this last year on a smaller scale but going all out this year. We only put the fire on a couple of weeks ago and already I have a dust bin full of ashes layered with stuff we normally throw onto the compost heap. I reckon by the spring I should have at least 10 bin loads to dig into the veggie plot. The runner beans loved this smelly disgusting concoction.

ashbin

Finally, December in a couple of days and still there are flowers out around the garden…

rocket   bud   cornflower

honesty   campanula   sweetrocket

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Not much work getting done

It’s the first of March today and I really thought I’d be further along than this. The weather is miserable, cold, wet and windy so I’ve been mainly huddled indoors except when I’m out running nothing stops that!

After a query  on ‘Gardeners Corner’about Jerusalem artichokes a very kind member, whom I’ve never met, sent me a whole box of them (chokes not queries). I know where I want to plant them but the area needs clearing and so far I’m about half way through. I decided to grow Jerusalem artichokes because Anjafinne said they make great chips plus I have this horrible corner that I would like to fill with big yellow flowers. I’m hoping for a great flower display and food. They do make nice chips!

Chokes with fish
      Fish and Artichoke Chips

chokesinbox     sideforchokes

My lovely box of Jerusalem artichokes and the start of their new home. I’ve put the string across to give me moral support else I could be doing a clear up here for weeks. I’m aiming to get this finished and planted up by the weekend.

stir2   stir 3

stir1   stir4

We had a stir fry last week with bits and pieces, the mung beans were done in the sprouter, the ‘spring onions’ were courtesy of some of last year’s onions I sprouted in a jar of water, carrots were from the veggie plot (they were a bit anaemic mind) and the oriental greens (flower tops and all) were from the poly tunnel. Nothing goes to waste in this household!

kaleandcabbage    kaleandcabbage2

Somehow don’t think we are going get through all the kale and cabbage but we are trying. This lot (plus some frozen peas) went into a spicy Indian dish we had with mushroom pilau and dhal. Not a lot of meat being eaten at the moment.

collardsmarch   carrotscollards

Just nipped out to take a picture of some of the collards in the veggie plot they are looking a bit nibbled but still throwing up as many new leaves as I can use. Last week it was collards with mince and dumplings.

parsnips      tender and true

We had a chicken dinner on Sunday with squash (I’ve still got about 20 of these left) and more ‘Tender and True’parsnips – not very pretty but they sure tasted sweet. Will the squashes last till April I wonder? You can buy ‘Tender and True’ from Mr Fothergill’s or from Moreveg  for 50p!

veggieplot2_3_16

The veggie plot this morning, garlic growing away on the right, still lots of eating in there even though it looks a bit bare. The Rhubarb is starting to come through on the far left.  Maybe with all the salad I’ve been eating I can treat myself to some rhubarb crumble and custard in a few weeks time.

Finally, I’ve tamed my seeds, I bought this little set of drawers at Aldi so all the seeds are out of the multiple tins. And to think I used to get exited about handbags!

Drawers of seeds

Yummy January…

I had really good intentions for January I was going to record everything we ate from the garden but things went a bit awry. For example on Burns’ night we had haggis, mashed swede and mashed parsnip (not tatties). The parsnip was the first I’d picked EVER and it was enormous more like a large swede with multiple arms and legs and I forgot to take a picture of it or the swede. Last week we had the oatmeal risotto again but instead of kale we used collards just as good if not better. I’m falling in love with collard greens.

Still lots of onions in the store but some (the odd white and red but none of the yellow) have started to sprout. The first one I stuck in a bulb vase and it grew what I’d describe as three spring onions (they went into the stir fried rice below). I’ve put another three into jars for more spring onions.

onions    snipped onions

Really should have wiped the plate before taking the picture below but just too eager to get stuck into what is my favourite dish – slow cooked pigs cheeks. If you have not tried these you are missing a treat. They went well with the perpetual spinach and mashed turnips.

Pig 2   Pig 1

More meat and two veg this time corned beef pie, collard greens and squash. Looking back that’s a pretty mean portion of squash and it’s not as if we don’t have loads. Mind, the ‘Sweet Dumplings’ are long gone. The basket’s filled with ‘Festival’ these are next on the ‘eat-up’ list.

cornbeefpie 2      festival

Another favourite, pasta with sage butter, this time it was done with our dried sage but next time we’re going to try it using fresh sage. I’ll let you know which one I prefer!

Sage 2      sage 1

OK, next year I’m going to fill one on the polytunnels with oriental brassicas and the other with salad stuff. I think I’ll start all the brassicas off in modules and then plant them out. This year I ate loads of pakchoi as ‘thinnings’ in salad whereas I could have had a much bigger mature crop if I’d spaced them out at planting. This baby(ish) pakchoi was very tasty and in a couple of weeks I should have another crop.
Pak Choi 2   Pak Choi 1

Hens are laying so bring on the quiche – this one used up all our stored onions that were looking a bit sad. Yet more salad – almost a daily occurrence at the moment. Tonight it’s going to be far from exotic – a large pile of salad with six fish fingers on top!

Salad and onion tart      eggs

Not fresh this time but frozen. This is low cal and tasty that’s a good combo. Chickpeas from a tin, bit of tahini, our chillies peppers and tomatillos from the freezer, couple of cloves of garlic and some lemon juice – whizzo! Nice on a Wasa!

chick pea 2   chick pea 1

Just green…texel greens (grows like a weed in the polytunnel) we’ve been using them like spinach they make a great sag bhaji, calabrese (well past its pick by date) soup and yet more salad pickings.

Texel Greens brocsoup more salads

And finally….lots more squash to see us through to March at least!

squash