If life gives you green tomatoes…

In this strange and yet familiar year, I have tons of tomatoes but they have blight. We had to give up on the allotment tomatoes, with only a handful of useable green San Marzanos- huge admittedly – but very few. In the garden I also have San Marzano, which seems to be resisting the blight a bit better: Tigerella and Costoluto Fiorentino These giants were new to me this year, grown from a seed packet which came free with a gardening magazine. They’ve been amazing, with huge plants and prolific fruits. Yesterday I had to harvest most of them as … Continue reading If life gives you green tomatoes…

Holidays: hills, wildlife, vegetables

I’ve been away for a short holiday, recharging the batteries in the English Lake District. Much as I love my garden, it was nice to get out into the wide open, climb some hills, row on a lake, look at 5000 years of history, spend some time with family, watch the wildlife and go for a very quick cold water swim: From top left: sunset over Derwent Water, a grasshopper settling on my leg, halfway up a mountain, Castlerigg Stone Circle, a very fluffy caterpillar, a lone duck, waiting for me to join it for a coldwater swim, yet more … Continue reading Holidays: hills, wildlife, vegetables

Seasons

I’ve spent most of the day in the garden today, harvesting, cutting things back, attending to the overgrown lawn, and musing on the eternal verities. My main thought was the way in which gardening, and particularly growing your own fruit and vegetables, links you to the seasons. This has been the most strange year but actually the seasonal garden rituals have stayed much the same: starting with the dark days of winter, the spring bulbs, the all important spring seed sowing, the fruit blossom, the first vegetable harvest, the early summer peas and soft fruit, and now the first of … Continue reading Seasons

Catching up

Tonight I’ve been making chutney: This is mostly plum, with some windfall apples, some red onions, one green tomato (it was showing some signs of blight so I picked it from the plant to save the others and cut the brown bits out) and some radish seed pods. The recipe is based on something like this. The plums are nearly, but not quite, ready for eating so it seemed like a good idea to start processing some of them before we are overwhelmed. The onions are from the allotment: The radish seed pods – well the radishes as always are … Continue reading Catching up

Seed saving

It’s been a great pea season again this year. Despite a slight mix up with varieties – see here – the Prussian Blues, the Salmon Pinks, the Norli and the Dukes of Albany have been very productive, providing us mainly with pea salad but also a couple of soups and some pea and broad bean guacamole. I used to grow just mange tout peas because I couldn’t see the point of growing whole peas. Now I know that the peas straight from the pod are so delicious they are almost like a different vegetable to the ones that come in … Continue reading Seed saving

Late summer promise

It poured with rain in the night and I wandered round the garden this morning to see what was happening in the vegetable beds, accompanied by my furry assistant. I had a sense that the season was turning. The potatoes and soft fruit are nearly finished and I was beginning to worry if anything would take their place. A closer look showed the promise of late summer joys. So here’s what I found for today’s #SixOnSaturday. First, in my runner bean bed, where the sweet peas have been blooming for a few weeks, the runner beans are beginning to form … Continue reading Late summer promise

Shed clearing – musing on plastic

Last weekend we cleared out the garden shed. It was in dire need. Here are some ‘after’ pics. I couldn’t face a ‘before’ one. You’ll just have to imagine the disordered piles of plant pots, bits of useful stuff, rusty tools and endless reams of plastic sheeting that ‘might be useful one day’. When I say, ‘we cleared out the shed’, I mean that my husband decided it was time to repot some houseplants and needed to reach the pots at the back. In order to do so, he needed to take everything out of the shed, so that I … Continue reading Shed clearing – musing on plastic

Monsters

There are monsters growing in the garden and the allotment. I found this beauty under the hedge. I thought it was a strange plant but I think it is just another of the many children’s toys and pieces of sports equipment which this hedge attracts. Here is the collection from two years ago when we removed the giant conifers but the hedge just keeps on giving. Meanwhile at the allotment, I dug up the total radish harvest for the year: Trowel for scale. I’ve written before about my struggles with radishes, the main problem being that they go to seed … Continue reading Monsters

Ice cream in the rain

As our traditional Scottish summer continues to provide the rainy backdrop to my holidays at home from working at home, I bring you ice cream. I had cycled over to my mother’s for my weekly visit, laden with my usual supply of home baking and soft fruit from the garden. It was raining but lockdown has got me back on my bike again and it is the only sensible way for me to get to her flat these days. I’ve discovered a mostly off road or quiet road cycle route which gets me there in twenty minutes. It’s a busy … Continue reading Ice cream in the rain

Raspberry muffins

Since it’s July and I’ve got some time off work, it has been pouring with rain, although yesterday was lovely. I was out tidying up and brought in these beautiful roses, which had become a bit top heavy on the plant, along with some pinks and red scabious I also got a good harvest of raspberries from the garden yesterday, along with lettuce, peas and redcurrants: So what better than to spend today (well about half an hour actually) making raspberry muffins? The recipe is based on the basic muffin recipe which I discovered a few weeks ago and took … Continue reading Raspberry muffins