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

Bursting with colour

I was taking photos in the garden for a couple of Twitter hashtags: #SixonSaturday and #GardensHour. I had far too many photos for these, so decided to upload them here instead. So, just to cheer you up in case you have the Monday blues, here is burst of colourful flowers, fruit and vegetables from my garden. First of all here are some flowers in the rain And here are some multi-coloured vegetables: rainbow chard, purple peas, nasturtium flowers, tomatoes beginning to ripen, plums, multi-coloured lettuces, broccoli, more almost ripe tomatoes And finally, some glorious autumn berries. The rosehips and rowans … Continue reading Bursting with colour

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

Dreich

It’s dreich, a word chosen as the most popular Scottish word in a poll a few years ago – link here. Anyway, it’s usually reserved by me for November which is month which is nearly always dreich. Not May. But here we are, experiencing a dreich May and trying to make the most of it. Despite the incessant rain, there have been some moments of sunshine and I did manage to get into the garden to look for ‘wildflowers’ for ‘International Biodiversity Day‘ on Saturday. I found this little collection, all growing in the lawn and tweeted it for #SixonSaturday … Continue reading Dreich

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

Six on the first day of May

After a long hard winter, suddenly it’s the first of May and it’s still a bit nippy outside. However, today is also Saturday so in this post I’ll try and summarise what I found on this May morning in six themes for #SixOnSaturday Seedlings on my windowsill – green cucumbers doing rather well, all sorts of tomatoes growing nicely and, in the photo on the right, four new seedlings of the giant tomato Costuluto Fiorentino, which I thought had failed to germinate this year. Actually, make that five, I’ve just noticed a tiny seedling in the pot behind as well. … Continue reading Six on the first day of May

Six on Tuesday

It’s all go in the garden just now and somehow I’ve forgotten to blog about it. I missed SixonSaturday so here’s a wee update of sixish on Tuesday. These gorgeous self-seeded wallflowers are flowering in funny little corners of the front garden: 2. I got along to the allotment last week and used some spare bits of wood to create a sort of terrace for one of the beds which was threatening to overflow down the hill. Here it is in all its glory. Please excuse the weeds and note the almost complete lack of broad beans in this bed, … Continue reading Six on Tuesday

Chatting about the blog

I recently talked about the blog on a podcast – link here, recorded by musicians Besingende Ged├ílland for their Wordlende series. Wordlende is a ‘chance to talk, commune and conspire with individuals who involve environmental practices in their day to day life’. Other podcasts in the series tell you about music, foraging and the wonders of nature. You’ll find me talking mainly about vegetables, but also about growing up in Shetland, the joy of seedlings, sharing tomatoes and spiky cucumbers, the wonder of apples, making weed pesto, environmental issues and how a song by Joni Mitchell inspired the name for … Continue reading Chatting about the blog

October joys

On this grim November day, here is something to cheer you. I brought in the last of the tomatoes from the seed palace to ripen inside. Aren’t they beautiful? Here are some more of the colourful things that were happening in my garden as October came to a close: Apples, rowan berries, nasturtiums and pyracantha berries, all looking very orange for Halloween. October is apple month and birthday month in this house. What with local lockdowns in Scotland we couldn’t really celebrate the birthdays properly though I did manage to deliver cakes, pumpkins (well squashes) and apples to my birthday … Continue reading October joys

… and what to do with red tomatoes

Last week I told you about my green tomato glut and what do with it. This week some of them have ripened and I have red tomatoes. Not exactly a glut but a decent crop. In the past I’ve always thought that the best thing to do with home grown tomatoes was to eat them fresh and, preferably, warm straight from the plant, but I discovered a couple of years ago, when I really did have a red tomato glut, that the best thing to do with them was to make fresh tomato soup. So I saved up this little … Continue reading … and what to do with red tomatoes