Magic Seedlings

I have never got over the magic of a germinated seed. Even to hardened gardeners, those first little signs of life are the proof that there is magic in the world. Although some of my vegetables are up and growing, some things have just peeked their tiny green heads above the soil. Here, for example, are my first ever germinated parsley seeds. These are notoriously difficult to germinate, but this year they’ve come through: And here are some aubergines: Don’t laugh, I thought they weren’t going to come up at all this year.  Here is some basil, looking rather more sturdy: I’ve … Continue reading Magic Seedlings


I took this photo yesterday but the light in the sky was so lovely, it represents the season rather better than the rain and gloom today. We should have had a special dinner to celebrate the Solstice but it was one of those ‘see what’s in the fridge and cook it’ days. So we had green soup: cabbage, courgette, leek and some ageing sprouts.  I know it doesn’t sound in the least bit tempting but it was rather good.  In more celebratory mode, we had the last marrow last night: The last of a wondrous crop this year.  This one had … Continue reading Solstice

Friday night stuffed marrow

It was Friday night.  It could have been a green soup night but we decided to tackle one of the monstrous marrows, which of course, I love (see here) but are sometimes a little intimidating: I had an assistant to help and we thought we’d try ‘stuffed marrow’.  We weren’t quite sure how to do this so used a hybrid recipe from two different cookery books – a trendy vegetarian one, that had lots of stuffed things in it but no marrows and an old carnivorous one that told us how to stuff a marrow, but with mince.  We came up with … Continue reading Friday night stuffed marrow

Weekend harvest

It’s been a weekend of tidying up and harvesting. Pre-autumnal blight, mildew, snails and caterpillars have hit the garden so I’ve been trying to retrieve some blighted tomatoes, mildewed peas and chomped beans and broccoli before autumn really sets in. This weekend’s harvest included: the first and, almost, only carrots, I grew these in a pot to try and combat the slugs and cats. They’ve done rather well but sadly there are only a few more to look forward to. the first and only aubergines. I know, they are a bit pathetic. I’m not sure why I bother with them … Continue reading Weekend harvest

Mocking the marrows

What is it with marrows? People seem to love them or hate them. I have one gardening/cookery book which takes hatred of the beautiful beasts to extremes ‘I have never seen a marrow in a top restaurant’ (good reason not to go to one then) and ‘I challenge any reader to send me a marrow recipe devised by a top chef’ (good reason not to bother with top chefs then). I persevere with this particular book because it has other useful recipes. But how could anyone hate these beauties?           Here pictured with some of its … Continue reading Mocking the marrows

Four seasons

This was the week when we had all four seasons at once: Here is a typical scene from the maxi-min thermometer in my seed house.  How are my little seeds supposed to survive with these extremes of temperature?  I’ve got peas, broccoli, swiss chard, beans, courgettes, salad and marrows in there just now.  Most of them seem to be hanging on despite the cold drops at night but the courgettes and marrows have refused to germinate.  So I brought the whole tray in and stuck it in my heated propagator:Almost overnight these little dears appeared*.  I’m keeping them in the house … Continue reading Four seasons

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

Radish seed pods

Radishes are a bit like pears.  Either they don’t grow at all because the slugs get to them or they grow away happily and produce thousands of flowers and seeds, making the roots hard and woody. Like pears, which are always unripe or too ripe.  Each year I manage to catch a few at the ‘just perfect’ stage but then they race away and flower and pod while I’m not looking. Fortunately I know the solution:  eat the seed pods.  Radish seed pods are one of the world’s less well known delicacies.  I usually eat them in salad.  They taste a … Continue reading Radish seed pods