Following on from yesterday’s post about all the potential crops, I just wanted to say that, even at this time of the year, we are still harvesting from the garden. Throughout the winter we have picked (and continue to pick) kale, mizuna, parsley and blood-veined sorrel and now we are about to have our first purple sprouting broccoli of the season:
In addition, because of all the preserving, we are still eating last year’s crops: bottled apples, bottled passata, frozen raspberries and red currants, apple juice and frozen chillies. We are also getting loads of eggs from the hens. Plus we are undertaking a different sort of cultivation by making yoghurt and cheese.
We are a very long way from self-sufficiency, but I am very proud of what we do manage to produce in our small garden. Even if you don’t have much space, you will be amazed what you can achieve if you have a go.
Posted by The Snail of Happiness on March 14, 2017
We are currently in the time of year known to vegetable gardeners at the ‘hungry gap’ – when we’ve planted our seeds (or at least some of them) but there’s nothing to harvest yet.
However, we don’t seem to be suffering too much this year… the purple sprouting broccoli and kale are both doing well and there are still leeks to be harvested. In addition, as we prepare vegetable beds for future planting, we keep finding overlooked potatoes – not enough to supply all our needs, but still a welcome addition to our supplies. We are also starting to be able to harvest some leaves – blood-veined sorrel seems to have established itself around the garden and the Claytonia is growing in profusion in one of the planters… in combination with some young kale leaves, these make a very acceptable leafy salad. Indeed, combined with hard-boiled egg and the surprise potatoes, I have been able to rustle up a meal or two completely out of the garden.
Because I was careful to store as much as possible from last summer’s harvest, we are also enjoying a wide variety of home-grown produce. There are still bottles of apples and a few frozen raspberries and blackberries. Plus, in the freezer I can find roasted courgette, passatta, pesto, vegetable soup, roasted squash, chilli and redcurrants and there are more bottles of passatta in the cupboard. We are by no means close to being self-sufficient, but I love to be able to eat something we have grown at least once every day.
However, it is the promise of crops to come that really excites me. The herbs are starting to perk up now – mint, chives and lemon balm producing fresh shoots. Plus rosemary and sage beginning to wake up and grow again. I’m restraining myself from picking any rhubarb yet – but there are now lots of tender shoots. The lettuce and mizuna seeds that I planted a week or so ago are germinating and the chilli and pepper plants need potting up. Some more compost translocation is required before we can plant potatoes and various seeds directly into the garden, but the weather forecast for this weekend is good and my labourer is home, so we should be able to achieve something.
I’m also delighted to report that, although Anna is still doing more sitting down than usual, she is no longer limping. At 3.1kg she is a big chicken, so physical injury (literally falling off her perch!) is a distinct possibility. I think she’s even laying again, although distinguishing eggs is quite a challenge… and Lorna keeps sitting on them whether she’s laid or not!
Anna (l) and Tiffany enjoying the sunshine (yes, there are two hens there)
Posted by The Snail of Happiness on April 9, 2015
It’s normally around this time of year that we are starting to eat courgettes… every day. But not this year. The southerly placement of the jet stream is causing us to have a remarkably soggy and sunless summer here in the UK. Pretty much any UK gardening blog at the moment will include references to rain, slugs, snails, wind and a lack of vegetables.
Broadbead flowers – just need a few more pollinators
Well, I’m here to set the record straight – there are some plants growing in the UK. They may not be all the ones we expect at this time of year and some crops are certainly sluggish (if you’ll excuse the pun), but there are some things to be harvested. We are currently enjoying delicious potatoes straight out of the planters, lettuce, rocket, mizuna and Hungarian wax peppers. OK, so there’s not a sign of a courgette, the runner bean flowers seem to drop off before they are pollinated, I’ve brought one of the tomato plants into the house to try and encourage it not to rot and my onions have disappeared under a glorious swathe of Calendula, but there are things growing. The broadbeans are flowering abundantly if late and the bunching onions seem to be coming along nicely, as does the oca.
As for dessert… we have raspberries and rhubarb along with a few strawberries and some red currants and blueberries just starting to ripen. On the herb front there’s mint, lemon balm, horseradish and rosemary. And the first flower of the bread seed poppies has opened.
And finally, our now well-integrated flock of hens is providing an abundance of eggs. Last night’s dinner comprised Spanish Omelette with a green salad… not quite all out of the garden , but not bad considering the dismal weather.
So the moral? Don’t rely on a single sort of crop… plant a variety of things and some will succeed. Oh, and have raised beds and containers so your plants don’t drown and can be moved indoors or into a more sheltered spot.
And have chickens so that all those vegetable-fed slugs don’t go to waste!
Hungarian Wax Peppers in the greenhouse
Posted by The Snail of Happiness on July 16, 2012
Although it has been a difficult growing season so far, we are starting to harvest a few crops now.
The new chickens are producing eggs already: Aliss lays a small egg nearly every day and these are getting progressively bigger, and Perdy is laying erratically, including one very long thin double yolker and two very small eggs on one day! Esme continues to lay almost every day and Lorna is doing her usual four days on ten days off approach to egg-laying.
Yesterday was, however, a triumph. Apart from a little chorizo, olive oil and black pepper, all of our dinner came out of the garden. No, I lie, two cloves of garlic came from the organic farm down the road. At the end of the afternoon we harvested a few potatoes from the bags in the ‘waste of space‘ area, I collected a variety of salad leaves from my polyculture plot (lettuce, Oriental greens, rocket), some red-veined sorrel (a perennial), rosemary and a ripe Hungarian wax pepper from the greenhouse. Added to the eggs from the past few day, this looked like the ingredients for a whole meal.
And so it was – chorizo omelette with rosemary and garlic potatoes and a green(ish) salad spiced up with a sliced Hungarian wax pepper. A roaring success and on a sunny day too.
Of course, it’s raining again now, but at least the raised beds are helping to avoid waterlogging.
Posted by The Snail of Happiness on July 6, 2012