Friday, October 30, 2009

Still seeing red!

Gorgeous tomatoes picked from the greenhouse today. Mostly Roma, but a couple of Sioux in there too - the ones that made it to the kitchen that is. There are still quite a few on the vine just turning pale orange, so a few Indian summer days and there will be even more passata!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

First Frost

We had our first ground frost last week.

I like a winter that has some hard frosty weather.

It makes the kale taste sweeter and kills off all the pests.

Bean yesterday - garlic tomorrow.

I had lots of help clearing the bean bed today.

James really worked hard and we had a great time. He put his new (to him) trike and trailer to a lot of use.
He loved helping to fill the wheel barrow with mulch.

And now we have a beautiful bed ready to plant our garlic as soon as it arrives. Once again I have ordered from The Really Garlicky Company. I was so pleased with my harvest this year - definitely the best I have had. The bulbs are strong with nice fat cloves and they taste great. I have sent away for 40 bulbs this year, so should get around 150 cloves from that.
I love gardening - there is always something new to look forward to. With 3 of us now working the plot who knows what we can achieve next season!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Winter Wheat - a straw revolution

I've decided to try growing some winter wheat, so we combined the two beds used for alliums earlier this year and broadcast the seed today. I was very inspired by reading Masanobu Fukuoka's short book - The One Straw Revolution, so I also sowed green clover seed before covering the bed with a straw mulch. The theory, at it's most basic, is that the straw, clover and wheat will act as a weed suppressant, and later when the wheat is harvested the straw is laid directly back on the soil and another crop sown with a green manure. The late Mr Fukuoka planted rice followed by barley, so I am unsure really where I am going with this experiment. I have discovered this wonderful website which I will be perusing over the winter, an hopefully emerge next spring with a clearer idea. Meantime, I just need to keep those hens away from what must look like paradise over their fence!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mixed beans

We have had a mixed result with our beans this year. The broad beans (super aquadulce), earlier in the year were a great success. The runner beans (Scarlet Emperor) are still coming in thick and fast, although getting a bit stringy now. When they get to this stage, I pod them and cook the beans in their candy pink coats, removing them later to reveal the tender beanlets, which are then turned in some olive oil and garlic. A wee bit more work, but definitely worth it.
French beans (Aguillon) have been OK - a few delicious side dishes have been provided but I did not plant enough, and my successional sowing plans did not quite get going. Also, I put them in the wrong place and they became overshadowed by the runner beans and the peas - oops! Next year they will be given a lot more space.
Climbing beans (Barlotta lingua di fuoco) looked very promising. As with all the other beans, i started them off in root trainers in the greenhouse. Normally with borlotti beans, I have trouble even getting any to grow at all, so I was very happy when my 16 plants were ready to go out. Very slow growth though and the harvest has been very disappointing. Many of the pods were empty and it looked like some kind of weevil had got to them. You can see in the photo how skinny they are, but we did add what we harvested to a risotto today, so they didn't go to waste. James helped me pod them and I told him the story of Jack and the Beanstalk as we worked.
Maybe I should be like Jack's mother and just throw the beans on the ground next year!


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