Thursday, 20 July 2017

Here Come The Carrots

There is a notable addition to the harvest table this week: carrots. It is also the final picking of the gooseberries, broad beans, potatoes courgettes are all going like the clappers, but it is the carrots that take star billing.  That's because of their problematic history.  We eat carrots all the year around and lots of them.  Only organic shop bought carrots will do, but even these cannot compare with home grown. Yet mastering the carrot is not so easy: They don't like a rich soil (or they will fork). Sandy but not stoney soil is best. Germination can be poor if sown too early or with old seed. Watering is left to nature except in drought conditions (like April this year). Above all you have to take measures to keep the carrot root fly off or you will get a useless tunnelled crop. Fine thrip netting (see below) is the answer but even then there is the danger that weeds will overrun the carrots. Out of sight is out of mind and you will find many warnings about carrot root flies just waiting for you to lift that netting so that they can get access.  It is said that they can smell thinnings from a mile away.  So a lot of people sow sparsely and never thin or weed.  That is what I did last year, and the weeds got the better of a pathetic crop)
After a poor year last year I decided on the double or quits approach and sowed lots. I did thin and weed - just as quickly as was practical. So it was with some trepidation that I dug up the first of the crop. They came up clean, a good size and undamaged by root fly grubs. It looks like we could be eating our own carrots well into next year! 😀

Carrot Protection

Monday, 17 July 2017

Not Bad For a Newby

I always resist digging up any potatoes until July,  having years ago dug a row that provided only enough for a single family meal.  This year I stuck to my principles, especially given the long dry April and half of May.  So imagine my surprise when this specimen saw the light of day in the first week of July  That's 12 1/2 oz (352g) of Epicure potato and this was not the only one around that size.  The downside with these larger tubers was that there was some hollow centre, which the books confirm is caused by wet weather after dry weather.    There are plenty of not so giant tubers which are unaffected.  The later sown maincrop is now about 4ft high (see below) and I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out to be a bumper year for spuds.

(No one mention the b word)

Monster Veg

Friday, 7 July 2017

Pronto Pesto

With all my propagation experiments I have ended up with enough basil... make my own pesto.


Saturday, 1 July 2017

Vegetables Having a Dance

Raspberries for Freezing
Despite the  weather the raspberries continue to ripen. I have been picking them every second day.  It is time to resort to freezing and jam making as we can't keep pace. Although the strawberries have stopped the rhubarb is really appreciating the rain. I had to pick some just to stop the encroachment onto the parsnips and carrots. The second lot of peas are ready for podding and one of the two lots of broad beans (The Sutton) are big enough to harvest.  Add to this the potatoes (not pictured) and the vegetables are having a dance!

Friday's pickings 

 Vegetable Dance

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Psssst - Bottling Fizz

The Elderflower Champagne has been bottled and tucked away in the coal cellar.

The elderflower lemon and sugar solution had spent a week fermenting in a bucket (covered with a muslin) before straining and bottling.

Psssst ?  It is still fermenting a bit so I have been letting the excess pressure off. The last thing anyone wants is an exploding bottle.


Saturday, 24 June 2017


When you are digging potatoes and cutting cabbages it qualifies as a harvest!

I have been resisting the urge to start digging spuds until now. Today I set to with a fork and was relieved to find good sized Epicure potatoes. A couple of Greyhound cabbages were ready too. So it is going to be homegrown veg from here on. Woopee!

On checking my records, these (the first row of potatoes) were planted on 17 March several weeks before the other earlies and over a month before the final maincrop which was in by 19 April,  See  Diggin

Potato Patch 19/04/17

Potato Patch 24/06/17


Thursday, 22 June 2017

For the Record

It's great when the soft fruit gets going (and some peas)

Just so I can keep tabs here are the last four pickings of strawberry Marshmello on the scales - each at two day intervals:





Not to be left out the raspberries have started ripening:

Time to hone my preserving skills.  Judging by the mess I made of the gooseberry jam (it caught) honing is definitely required.