Our daily veg (and fruit)

So, here we are in the depths of winter and I realise that we are still managing to eat something home-grown at least once every day. Considering our small garden, I’m terribly pleased about this.

Aliss - star layer

Aliss – star layer

First, there is the fresh produce… currently we are getting an egg every day from Aliss (none from any of the others, but that’s not surprising from the two oldies). In addition, I’m able to go out into the garden and pick kale, broccoli leaves, blood-veined sorrel and a range of oriental leaves (my favourite in salads is red mizuna), or dig up some oca; plus a few chillies are finally ripening up in our very soggy greenhouse. There’s also still sage growing abundantly, which I love to use in stuffing. NB: all photos in this post were taken today (26 December 2013).

Red mizuna (mostly)

Red mizuna (mostly)

Second, we have stored produce. We still have many kilos of potatoes left: we’re currently eating Colleen, the last of our first earlies which have simply been stored in a cardboard box in the loft. We’ve got some of each of the other three varieties left – Valour, Milva and Mira – so those should keep us going for quite a while yet. Maybe next year I will manage to be completely self-sufficient in potatoes. Other stored produce that needed little or no processing are the winter squashes (two big ones left) and the dried beans (Czar runners), dried chillies (Lemon drop), poppy seeds and sunflower seeds.

Broccoli - not sprouting yet, but the leaves are good

Broccoli – not sprouting yet, but the leaves are good

Then we have things that needed some work to allow them to be stored: bottled apple, apple butter, frozen stewed apple* (does there seem to be a theme?); frozen stewed rhubarb; frozen raspberries and blackberries (the latter foraged rather than grown ourselves); frozen vegetable soups; frozen passata; and frozen chillies (Alberto Locoto, which don’t dry well because they are so fleshy).

I know that I couldn’t supply all our needs, but it is lovely to know that we eat food from our garden every day – food not doused in pesticides, not grown using chemical fertilisers, vegetables of heritage varieties, many from local producers or from saved seed and with very very few food miles. To me, that feels like a real triumph that I want to celebrate.


* OK, I confess this is all from the lovely Perkin… homegrown at High Bank rather than Chez Snail.

PS There’s a new square on the Masterpiece page, if you are interested.

Leave a comment


  1. Congratulations. You’re getting to be more like Tom and Barbara Goode each day.
    xxx Hugs Galore xxx


  2. highbankcottage

     /  December 26, 2013

    *friend-grown produce is more or less the same thing as home-grown. There is the same amount of love involved. xx


  3. There is absolutely nothing like a home grown spud for flavour. I do find the flavour improves in direct proportion to the virtue: there’s an inordinate amount of satisfaction to be had in ‘putting up’ food for later. Regarding chillies: have you considered roasting them in the oven and then storing them in olive oil? Double the whammy: chillies and chilli oil.


  4. gentlestitches

     /  December 27, 2013

    I am very impressed and inspired! I also have a Very Good Idea for my square! 🙂


  5. The fact that your chooks still lay in winter, and you are still harvesting/using your own crops, is very inspiring. Here in Canberra we tend to think that we are up against it climate-wise, and in particular, that winter crops are too hard. Certainly we get more extreme temperatures than most of Australia because we are inland (from high 30s C over summer to heavy frosts and – 15 C in winter). Unfortunately Australian gardening magazines almost exclusively focus on more temperate Australian climes untroubled by frosts.
    However, your successes as set out in this post have made me realise that I really have to get real and stop ‘tinkering around the edges’ of productive gardening. I have therefore challenged myself to do a permaculture course in 2014. Thank you.
    aka Nandina


    • Good luck with that Meg… probably the biggest thing that permaculture taught me about gardening is to experiment and then build on what works. Unfortunately, there is also a lot of ‘dogma’ – you mustn’t dig, you should have a forest garden etc etc. All this I choose to ignore and do what works for me. I also don’t tend to put too much store in gardening books and magazines – I use them for inspiration rather than definitive advice!
      Good luck with you winter gardening x



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