… 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

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

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

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

Weeds – or tiny joys in the garden

I posted six photos on Twitter for SixOnSaturday this morning: all things that needed to be done in the garden today: There was weeding to be done: dandelions blooming and fading in among the flowers, daffodils needing to be deadheaded, a wild rose rambling under the paving stones and reappearing in the thyme, a massive dock growing amidst the aqueligia, tomatoes getting a bit weedy and needing bigger pots and more light and potatoes coming up through the cardboard, requiring a bit of extra compost to protect them from late frosts. So only six pictures but a lot of work … Continue reading Weeds – or tiny joys in the garden

Seedlings and potatoes

This weekend the vegetable growing really got going. First of all, though, please admire this amaryllis which has been sitting on the bathroom windowsill for about ten years, doing absolutely nothing. Well that’s not entirely true. It has produced green leaves every year but no flowers for a very long time. This was the year it chose to flower. We may have to wait another ten years for the next flower but I am patient. Back to the vegetables. The seedlings on my windowsill have been romping away Cucumbers, tomatoes and huge mass of out of date basil seeds which … Continue reading Seedlings and potatoes

Sowing seeds of hope

We are living in strange times. Plans are being cancelled, people are worried. Yesterday, I tried to keep a focus on the future by sowing seeds. Here are some I sowed earlier, some mixed salad leaves, in a pot in the seed palace, just germinated but ready to grow into something exciting in a few weeks: Yesterday I made a start on the more delicate seeds, sowing tomato seeds in a little propagator indoors. I’ve started with two varieties: Tigerella and San Marzano. I have some others in packets but I’ll sow a few at a time to see what … Continue reading Sowing seeds of hope

Twelfth night

It’s twelfth night, the festive season is officially over and for many a return to work, school etc. I don’t return to the day job till tomorrow, having taken an extra day to take my mother to a non-urgent hospital appointment. This was tedious for both of us but mum and I made the most of our journey on the bus, watching the beautiful light in the sky, then came back to my house in the subsequent rain for coffee, Christmas cake, cats, scrabble and the very last of last season’s tomatoes* This little beauty was the last of the … Continue reading Twelfth night