Harvest for Christmas 2010

I've had an extended holiday the last few weeks. Lots of snow and ice have meant that I couldn't garden, - Catching a very rare cold from being inside too much didn't help, and my son was poorly too, so all in all, by the time it got to Christmas, i'd already had time off, and was ready to relax and eat too much.

Luckily my hard work earlier in the year had paid off, and although i've ignored my greenhouse for most of this month I still had a wonderful harvest of salad leaves on Christmas day


From the bottom (clockwise) - Red mustard, Mizuna, red veined sorrel, Coriander confetti, Chervil, Rocket.

I had hoped to add russian Kale leaves to the collection, but they were a bit covered up.


Likewise the spinach, cavelo nero and chard, and the Pigeons didn't like the idea of us having home grown calabrese for christmas dinner


But I did make the stuffing from homegrown Sage, and used Rosemary and thyme in the trivet for cooking the Turkey (a la Jamie Oliver's instructions).

Must try for Brussel sprouts next year....


Frozen Fruit and Vegetables

I'm feeling fairly pleased with myself this year, as all of my vegetable beds are full of overwintering crops, that will feed me between now and April.

Trouble is, when the weather's like this, and the temperature hasn't reached above zero, - they're all frozen.




good job I don't have to be self sufficient and there are fruit and veg in the fridge and freezer for dinner.


Raspberries in November

if you read my earlier Harvest post, and thought I was joking about the raspberries, - you'd be wrong, - look.

Ok i should have put a copy of the Sunday Times next to them to authenticate them, but honest, - I picked and photographed (and ate) these Raspberries this afternoon 7th November 2010, and there are actually a few more on the plants that aren't quite ripe yet.

The harvest from my Autumn bliss canes this year has been incredible, - starting at the beginning of August, and including winning me (along with my blueberries) the West Horsley Horticultural Society Fruit Cup. I've been picking a bowl of raspberries a week at least. for the last few weeks, it has been down to a teacup size bowl, but heh, - this is into November.

The Secret is, - well i'm not quite sure... They are in a sunny spot in my garden, (but they are only 5 metres from a very tall conifer hedge) There are 2 rows of about 2 metres each, planted about 1.5 metres from a fence. I started with about 15 canes, (and there were about 7 canes of summer fruiting as well) but now there are more than that. -They did get watered a couple of times, from my water butt, but not on a regular basis. They've been planted for 2 full years now, so this is their 3rd season. They were mulched with homemade compost last winter, and have been fed once this season with Worm leachate.

I do however pick them very regularly. I also don't let any fruits that go over stay on the plant.

I'm pretty sure this is the latest i've ever got raspberries, but even if I don't get any more from my plants this season (go on sun, shine this week to ripen the rest) i've got about 3 punnets worth in the freezer. So i'm hoping for a couple more raspberry smoothies at least this year, and very much looking forward to even more next year.


Harvest for this w/e 7th November 2010


The crops are getting slightly scarcer in the Brown vegetable plot. - This week i've harvested

Coriander confetti, Cavelo Nero Kale (2 portions), Can Can lettuce, Rocket, Red russian kale leaves (for salad) and a colander of Rainbow Chard.

The star of the show though was the bowl of raspberries, - which we've just eaten for pudding in Eton mess.

Community gardening at its best

I've had the most fantastic day full of gardening, and I only got 1/2 an hour of weeding done in my own garden. I've spent the rest of the day at Grace and Flavour.

Do you remember how empty the garden looked back in April?

Well now after 6 months of hard teamwork, the garden looks completely different, and full of crops


Continue reading "Community gardening at its best" »

Harvest for this w/e 26/09/10


The last few weeks have seen me making tomato meals by the dozen, but today I cleared out the greenhouse of all but 3 plants, so I do have rather a lot more to deal with.

I've also harvested the last of the french beans today, and the Kohl rabi - very small, but the caterpillars had eaten practically all of the leaves, so they're not likely to get past golf ball size, so i've picked them to use in coleslaw. We also picked the last few carrots, - most had split and were no use, so William got the last 2. The courgettes are still producing. I've cleared out the climbing plants, harvesting 8 rather nice small ones, and the yellow ones still have lots coming even though i've picked 5 this week.

We're back onto lettuce again now, with the Can Can at harvesting size, and rocket and salad leaves coming on fast. The Chervil and parsley have been great this week, and i've also used Sage, coriander seeds and Rosemary in cooking.

I've also used the first of the chilli peppers, and i've got a great harvest coming, and i'm very pleased to have picked my first Marconi Rosso pepper today, - fully red.

The fruit's still coming, my blueberries and raspberries were cup winners last week at the West Horsley Horticultural Society show, and as well as them, i've had more apples this week, they're still making excellent juice, and more damsons from the tree hanging over the fence.

Harvest for this w/e 30/08/10

I love this time of year for harvesting. Without any effort you can find baskets of food from the garden. The only effort has to go into using it all or preserving it before it goes off.


I've got plenty of kitchen work to do this week as our harvest consisted of

the last of the potatoes - these look great but go from being hard in the pan to mush within 5 minutes, so i've got to work out which ones they were (ok I've lost the labels !) so I don't plant the same again next year.

Beans - Borlotti beans, and french beans, plus the last of the mangetout.

Tomatoes - a lovely mix of the large Red Alert, plus the small ildi, red cherry and garten perle this week.

Courgettes - i'm making sure I pick them regularly at the moment, and i'm averaging about 4-5 a week from my 2 plants.

The last of the carrots, - not impressed with these, as all the roots had split and were bent, - soil sieving needed for next year I think.

There's also been another kilo of raspberries this week, and lots more apples. But only one fig this year, - very disappointing after last year's bumper harvest. - My fault for not watering enough earlier in the year I think.

Harvest for this week w/e 22/08/10


i've spent most of this afternoon dealing with fruit. - Not a bad job for a Sunday afternoon. I've made summer pudding, stewed blackberries and apples, a blackberry and apple charlotte, and i've frozen raspberries and blueberries (put them in a single layer on a baking tray in the freezer until they are solid, then put them in bags or tubs, - that way they are frozen as individual berries, not a squashed mass)

We went for a walk at Hatchlands this morning, and picked over a kilo of Blackberries. We then came home and picked 1280g of Raspberries, 810g of Blueberries (440g Goldtraube and 370g Bluecrop,) not to mention the Chandler Blueberries which didn't get weighed, because they were so big and juicy, they never made it into the bowls!

We also picked about 8kg of apples.

That would have been quite a good haul for this week, but I also got loads of veg

The potatoes, french beans and carrots all got used to go with our Roast lamb this evening. The carrots may have been a strange shape (not enough sieved ground for them to go down into!) but they tasted great.

I've just got to find a borlotti bean recipe for this week now.

We've also been harvesting tomatoes. - The Red Alert got made in Salsa yesterday, and Guacamole. and the cherry tomatoes were included in the warm chickpea salad I made for my packed lunch earlier in the week.

Harvest for this w/e 7/08/10


It's been a month since my last harvest post, but I have been getting plenty from the garden.

These Raspberries are the first of the Autumn crop, - we've been away for a couple of weeks, and the sight of these on our return was wonderful, - along with bushes full of blueberries. We harvested a punnet of each and I had them for breakfast this morning with my cereal. (the boys ate theirs raw and unaccompanied)

After complaining about my courgettes, they decided to amaze me and grow. - I harvested 6 before we went away, and came back to 5 more, - 3 of them marrow size.

My pot of carrots has produced 6 portions of finger size vegetables all through the month, and we thinned William's parmex carrots, which were also edible size.

The mangetout gave us several helpings, even though they were William's favourite snack food when playing in the garden this month.

The runner beans have also been busy cropping, but as they didn't get enough rain over the last month, they are rather tough overwhelmed by blackfly, and not the best i've grown.

The lettuces went bonkers, and after we'd stuffed our faces with meal after meal of Can Can,Lollo rosso, and Cos I even had to give several away. We got a couple of helpings of rocket before it succumbed to the Flea beetle, and to add to our salads, we've harvested the first of the cherry tomatoes - Garten perle from the hanging basket outside the kitchen door, and red alert and ildi from the greenhouse (bit disappointed that red alert are only a mouthful at a time, I thought they were larger)

there are lots more tomatoes ripening, and i'm looking forward to more fruit breakfasts this month, as the apple tree is now producing.

Harvest for this week w/e 4/07/10


it's been a strawberry week.

3 big bowls of strawberries, and I even had to make a berry smoothie today as I had some left over after pudding. The Raspberries are also ripening, considering we have more Autumn fruiting canes than summer ones, i'm very hopeful for later in the year as well.

The peas are now coming thick and fast, - we've had mangetout and sugar bon snap, enough to feed us for 2 suppers and to add to salads as well. The lettuce has been growing well, and we've been harvesting Can Can, Lollo Rosso and mixed leaves. The herbs are still producing in abundance, and i've used lots of mint and chervil this week, plus rosemary and broadleaved thyme. The chives that I cut back to 5cm from the pot a couple of weeks ago, now have lots of fresh new growth, which is excellent as the potatoes will be ready next week.

Also from Grace and Flavour, - where William helped our for the first time as the children's area is now ready, - we had a harvest of Rocket - Early Potatoes, 2 Cucumbers, Radishes,  and Courgettes.

The crop sharing has now been worked out and my work over the last few months has resulted in a 40% discount on the supermarket price.  Well worth a few hours weeding in the sun with local friends.

My shopping bill this week has been drastically reduced, - only Apples & Bananas bought as fruit, and peppers and onions for vegetables (sorry Ocado, only groceries needed for the next few weeks)