Saturday 17 December 2016

Lost - one Mojo...

I've lost my blogging Mojo, as they say. With the garden being predominantly dormant at present, I'm finding it hard to find anything new to write about, so I'm going to take a Blog Holiday over the Christmas period, and hope that my enthusiasm will return early in the New Year.

There's only so long that anyone can maintain an interest in looking at pictures of Parsnips, but I'm going to inflict on you one more batch of them. Actually, just to liven things up a bit, this time the Parsnips are joined by some Beetroot! ;/

All but one of the Parsnips are "Duchess" (the other is a "Tender and True"), and the Beetroot are "Boltardy".  They are the very last Beetroots from this year's crop - just the little "tiddlers" left once all the others had been used.

Most of the "Duchess" Parsnips were nice and regularly-shaped, with one exception:

The Parsnips are going to be cooked later today, roasted as an accompaniment to a Goose crown. The latter is an essential part of our preparations for the big Christmas Dinner: the fat from tonight's bird will be saved and used for cooking the roast potatoes next weekend.

Before finishing today, let me just wish all my readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thanks for reading. I hope to be back in a few weeks' time...

Monday 12 December 2016

Harvest Monday - 12 Dec 2016

There's not a huge amount coming out of my garden at present, though even the little harvests are welcome. This week Jane has been making and freezing some of the food for our Christmas dinner, so Sage from the garden has gone into Sage-and-Onion Stuffing, and Bay leaves into the Bread Sauce. I have also used some Leaf Celery in a couple of the dishes I have made.

Rather more substantial was this batch of Parsnips:

These ones are of the variety "Duchess", which has become a favourite of mine. It produces long, regular roots with very few forked ones.

This shot gives a better idea of their size. That's a washing-up bowl in which they are sitting.

One or two of the bigger ones had some canker around the crowns, but the smaller ones were largely clear, which is a relief.

A mild dose of canker around the crown

The Carrots are nearing the end of the line, having produced for me a sizeable (if not pretty) crop. After this batch I think there will be just one more of a similar size.

As usual, this batch included a range of different shapes and sizes. They a mix of all four of my varieties - Autumn King, Norwich, Darina and Kelly.

Well, that's the extent of my harvest this week. I'm linking my post to Dave's Harvest Monday, over on Our Happy Acres.

Monday 5 December 2016

Harvest Monday - 05 December 2016

My only harvest this week has been these chillis:

On Monday evening I picked all the remaining fruits from the plants which are still outdoors, albeit inside my plastic greenhouses, because a heavy frost was predicted.

Sure enough, it has been very cold for the last several days, with severe frosts most nights. The chilli plants are now dead, I think, so it's just as well that I grabbed their last fruits while I could.

The big fat ones are Rocotos - "Alberto's Locoto".


These are "Ring of Fire". I have been a bit disappointed with them. I grew two plants, hoping that they would be my main crop of culinary chillis, but they were very slow to develop and only produced their first ripe fruit at the end of October.

Ring of Fire

There were a few of "Serrano".


These are the last of "Turkey, Small, Red".

Turkey, Small, Red

None of the "Nosferatu" ones have ripened (they go red when ripe), but at least they have developed into some interesting shapes!


That's all I have to offer for this week, so you had better head over to Our Happy Acres to see if anyone else has harvested something more substantial!

Friday 2 December 2016

Hazel beanpoles

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had been promised some Hazel beanpoles. They arrived yesterday.

I have long been hankering after poles like these. There is something rustic, old-fashioned, cottage-garden-ey about them. I have often felt guilty about using imported bamboo poles, but have until now not been able to find a suitable alternative. The so-called beanpoles stocked by my local Garden Centre were a joke - too flimsy, too short, too expensive and like the bamboo, produced in far-away China!

I contacted the Countryside Services department at my local Council, to enquire if there was anywhere in our District where I could legitimately cut Hazel beanpoles for myself. They responded saying they could give me some for free, since they were carrying out some coppicing work in the Autumn. Furthermore, when they heard that I would find it impossible to collect them (no van, no roof-rack), they agreed to deliver the poles to my home! How about that for "services to the citizens"?

Well, the poles they have given me are great. I had asked for 15, but I think they have given me 24 - it's 2 bundles, each of 12, I believe. They are a good size too, slightly longer than the 8-foot bamboo poles I have used hitherto. [I know this because I had some difficulty storing them in my garage.]

They are even sharpened at one end, so they will be easy enough to push into the soil.

I think Beans will love these poles. The surface of the bark is much rougher than bamboo, which will allow the beanstalks to grip better and hopefully therefore climb faster.

Whilst I am very pleased to have received these poles, I'm a bit hesitant about advertising their source. How would it be if all the veg-gardeners in my area were now to ask for a similar favour? On the other hand, I'm hoping my local Council will be pleased that I have mentioned their good work. I have to say also that all my communications with Countryside Services, via Twitter initially and then email, have been very friendly and courteous. What a great bunch of people! I can hardly wait to get these beanpoles into action...