A seedy Six on Saturday

I was out in the garden checking on what’s happening for #SixOnSaturday and was struck by all the seeding going on, among the vegetables, herbs, flowers and wild things. The noble teasel, which has had seed heads for weeks or possibly months but is looking rather good just now. These self seed all round the garden and I allow one or two to grow to full height each year. It’s all a bit random where they end up. This one is growing by the fence in the front garden. 2. Foxgloves, like the teasels, these decide where they want to … Continue reading A seedy Six on Saturday

Solstice marmalade – a new tradition?

Probably not, but that’s what I found myself doing on this dark solstice morning.  My excuse was an accidental purchase at the local farmers’ market. I had gone along to stock up on the last minute Christmas veg and preparation for an influx of sons over the next few days. Oranges were on the list and it was only as I was paying for them that the stall holder told me they were Seville oranges, bitter and suitable only for cooking, or marmalade.  Not being the kind of person to start complaining, I duly paid for them and brought them … Continue reading Solstice marmalade – a new tradition?

I just nipped out to make a pot of tea…

… mint tea, that is. What I set out to do was to put a little cutting of Moroccan mint in a pot in this teapot, which sadly lost its lid and was destined for the bin, ‘unless you want to put a plant in it?’.  Of course I wanted to put a plant in it.  So this little mint cutting, with little green leaves just peeping up above the soil now has a new appropriate home in a teapot. I have mint all over the garden, in pots at the front, and round the pond at the back.  All … Continue reading I just nipped out to make a pot of tea…


The tomatoes are ripening very slowly.  I’m still holding out for some red ones before it gets too cold for them outside. Blight has been a real issue this year and the green ones that I harvested last week are not really ripening inside. So they have all been turned into ‘Autumn chutney’: basically green tomato and apple chutney, with added courgettes. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised when I have an abundant green tomato harvest, but I’m always hopeful. While I was checking up on the tomatoes, I thought it was time to cut back all the finished pea and … Continue reading Lacemakers

Weed pesto and beans

It was a lovely day so we hopped over to the Botanic Gardens for a stroll and to check out their open day in the Demonstration Garden. I’ve always liked the idea of the Demonstration Garden – a suitable place for gatherings of lefty greenish people to demonstrate against all the many things that need to be demonstrated against. But it’s not a place for that kind of gathering. Instead it is where the good people of the Botanic Gardens demonstrate how to grow vegetables. I like it because I reckon if something can grow there, then it ought to able … Continue reading Weed pesto and beans

Spring purples

You know, spring greens, except purple: This is my first cut of purple sprouting broccoli. Nice, but not enough for a meal really.   But my purple Brussels sprouts are still growing away and in the last week or so the plants have produced lots of new fresh growth.  The sprouts themselves were a bit of a disappointment this year.  Not sure why:  soil too fertile, soil not fertile enough, too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry – the usual things.  So I cut off the top growth from the plants and threw that in the pot as well.  Steam … Continue reading Spring purples

Chamomile potatoes

My overwintered chilli plants are doing ok.  Not exactly flourishing but still alive and beginning to show signs of new growth.  But they are covered in greenfly and whitefly. Now one of my fellow garden bloggers suggested a new way of dealing with these little beasts: chamomile tea*.  I confess to disliking this stuff intensely so it seemed sensible that the little beasts might run a mile at its scent as well.  I do like other weird teas, just not chamomile.  So I acquired some chamomile tea, made a large pot, put some in the plant sprayer and the rest … Continue reading Chamomile potatoes

In the swamp

The garden is a swamp today.  It has rained solidly for several days and there is little to inspire out there. Everything is inches deep in water, the water barrels are overflowing, the cat would like some welly boots to get across the garden. So today I’ve had an indoors sort of day, getting on with the festive baking.  Christmas cake and Christmas pudding now done.  Once I’ve made these, I always reckon we can get through Christmas somehow and live on pudding and cake for the whole festive season if necessary. The only garden produce that went into them was one … Continue reading In the swamp

Autumnal tasks

Made yet more marrow chutney, planted red onion sets, took the cucumber plants out of the seed house.  Most of the cucumbers have been fantastic this year but they’re finished now. I found a giant cucumber lurking near the base of one pot.  That explains why that plant didn’t produce much else.  Sorry no photo – it went straight into a cucumber relish thing for our tea last night.  Here’s a batch from August though: I had a go at pruning back the overgrown conifers at the back of the garden.  These have been bothering me since we moved to the house. … Continue reading Autumnal tasks

Compost and a late winter harvest

So the festive season is almost past and we are nearly back to porridge and old clothes*, bar the ritual dismantling of the Christmas tree and the eating of the chocolates on it.  These few days, after New Year and before school and other commitments kick in next week, have allowed me to do some clearing up in the garden, including the turning of the compost bins.  This is a foul but surprisingly satisfying task.  My compost bins are rather miscellaneous, consisting of two ‘proper’ plastic conical bins and one made from an old water barrel which was destroyed by … Continue reading Compost and a late winter harvest