Sunday, September 12, 2010

2010 successes - home garden

Well, 2010 is not over yet, but we're transitioning into the colder autumnal darkness. Worth marking what were the successes and failures in the summer garden this year.

Upside down tomatoes - not prolific, but no blight. They are starting to ripen now. Yummy!
Courgettes doing great. Onions and shallots were fab - all harvested, dried and stored.
Some potatoes that self seeded produced a huge crop in a raised bed, and the spuds in pots yielded reasonably.
Garlic got rust, but it seems to be fine - lots stored, and lots saved for planting more in a month or so - will plant loads of hard neck garlic.

Sunflowers in a pot are great - just about to bloom. The cherries ripened, and were very small and tasty in September. No Damsoms. No pears - a few apples on one of the trees.

Lettuces did great in window boxes until July.
Beetroot didn't do so well. Carrots were a dead loss. Sunflowers in the front bed were decimated by slugs when they were several feet tall. Also wasps were harvesting cellulose from other sunflowers and weakened the stem, so the wind blew them over.

We saw lots of butterflies, bees and other bugs in the garden - which was great, the long hard winter would have decimated them. We will leave our teasel to provide homes for them again this year.

The tall beans are getting decimated by the wind - as always - but some nice borlottis growing there.

I have planted a lot of daikon and corn salad for the winter - and the leeks seem to be doing well. Have planted spinach also, it has germinated and is thriving in seed trays.

The home garden was neglected a little in favour of the allotment, and I have left a lot of leeks to go to see to save seed - they have now occupied the same area for > 12 months, so a good weeding is in order. The seeds don't seem to be turning into the small black seeds that I would expect - anyone know anything about saving leek seeds?

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Rhubarb and Strawberry crumble

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This is not a timely recipe at all, but I came across this photo and wanted to share it with you. At the start of June, we had plenty of lovely tender rhubarb at the school garden. So we made a strawberry and rhubarb crumble. It was truly delcious - they are such a great combination.

I've had an item to make rhubarb and strawberry cordial on the to-do list since then, but I think that will have to wait until next June. Something to look forward to after my exams!

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Rhubarb and Ginger Chutney

Rhubarb has such a unique flavour, and there's only so much crumble you can make. I like to freeze rhubarb when it's plentiful - I just wash and dry it, cut it up and bag it - and come back to it when there's time.

Last week was my first week in college since 1984 - I'm back studying to become a maths teacher. I was more exhausted each day, and had no kitchen time at all - thankfully my supportive husband took care of feeding me (and the rest of the family) very well all week. But after a great sleep, I wanted to feel like myself again.

So I spent a little time in the garden, filling up a recently renovated raised bed with compost. It will settle in readiness for the spinach I planted in trays last week, and for the hard-necked garlic I saved.

I felt a bit more like myself after then, but some kitchen time was in order too. So I made some Rhubarb and Ginger chutney - and here's the recipe. Tastes pretty good - but with chutney you have to wait a bit - hopefully it will taste even better!

Rhubarb and Ginger chutney

1.5 kg rhubarb
2 large onions - chopped up
300ml white wine vinegar
350g white sugar
100g brown sugar
2 large thumbs fresh ginger - chopped up
1 teasp ginger powder
5 chunks crystallised ginger
100g sultanas
1 teasp salt

I simmered all the ingredients for an hour or so, and when everything was soft, and the bubbles were lava like, I potted it up into sterilised jars. If you try making it, let me know how you get on!

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