Six from a frosty allotment

I nipped along to the allotment today to see if Storm Arwen had done any damage (it hadn’t). So here are #SixOnSaturday from the allotment. This year’s very impressive runner beans were still standing, if looking a little the worse for wear, so I cut down all the bean tendrils for the compost bin: The sweet peas are still hanging on in there, so I left the wigwam up to provide them with a bit of support. Didn’t manage to get an in focus photo though (I blame my frozen fingers). I found a desiccated bean and brought it home … Continue reading Six from a frosty allotment

Every one a winner

I’ve fallen a wee bit behind with the blog but here is an update from last week’s allotment show. It was a joy to take part after last year’s was cancelled. It threatened to rain but in the end the sun shone. I arrived in good time in the morning to rush round the plot and harvest my vegetables, piling them up outside the shed so that I could choose and polish any prospective winners. Here was my initial harvest: raspberries, apples, ruby chard, courgettes, potatoes, sweet peas and a huge bucket of runner beans. You can also see my … Continue reading Every one a winner

Start of the preserving season

The jam making season has started here at Reclaiming Paradise. I’ve got a glut of green tomatoes, plums, runner beans, courgettes, a couple of marrows, apples on their way and one giant cucumber Where to to start? Some of the tomatoes are ripening but a few of the others have blight so I reckoned I need to pick some and start the preserving season. Whether to make plum jam and green tomato chutney, or green tomato marmalade and plum chutney? I decided on the marmalade first – it’s simmering away as I write: See here for the recipe – green … Continue reading Start of the preserving season

Welcome harvest

I’ve been away for a little while, catching up with family, swimming in lakes and stretching my legs rather more than I intended. It was nice to get away from some of the everyday stresses but it was also nice to get home to see what was happening in the garden. Here are some of the joys I came back to: peas – green and purple, broad beans, raspberries and a few strawberries, lettuce and the last of the redcurrants. Quite a feast. The red currants have been a bit of a disappointment this year as the best of them … Continue reading Welcome harvest

Seeds and seedlings

After a week of rain and hail and overnight temperatures of 1 degree Celsius in the seed palace, is it possible that we have turned the corner into slightly warmer days? My tomato plants certainly hope so. These have gone out to the seed palace because I’ve run out of space on the windowsill. The reason I’ve run out of space is that the Costoluto Fiorentino seeds have continued germinating, multiplying all over the windowsill and needing little pots of their own. I think I now have ten of these little beauties. All being well, they will grow into monsters … Continue reading Seeds and seedlings

Broccoli Monsters

I’ve been growing runner beans for over twenty-five years and I thought I’d got the process down to perfection – info here on how I dig my runner bean trench. I try to make the most of my raised beds, so grow various other things alongside the runner beans, mainly sweet peas, which seem to grow happily beside the beans. Every year I also plant some small plants under the runner bean wigwam. Usually Swiss Chard or something like that which can grow quietly while the runner beans are developing and then come into their own when I take the … Continue reading Broccoli Monsters

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

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

A little domestic wildness

It’s June so it’s time for #30DaysWild , the campaign run by the Wildlife Trusts to get everyone to spot a little bit of wildness every day in June. I’ve been doing this for a couple of years and most years I treasure the chance to stop for a few minutes before or after work or over lunch to notice the wildness in the city around me. This year it’s a little different, with the wildness restricted to my daily walks or my own garden. Working from home, I can nip out with a cup of coffee or over lunch … Continue reading A little domestic wildness

Garden joys

Two months ago I started my main seed sowing of the season: tomatoes, cucumbers, chillies, peas and some flowers. I said I was ‘sowing seeds of hope‘. I didn’t know then that we would still all be in lockdown two months later, but I looked forward to a summer of vegetables. Today, I’ve sowed some more seeds but mainly I’ve been planting things out in the garden and being thankful for all that grows there. I posted six of my favourite flowers for #SixOnSaturday on Twitter Clockwise from top left: The roses are starting to come out in the garden, … Continue reading Garden joys