171 days ago
The first three and a half litres of home made ginger beer should be ready within 24 hours. The ginger beer bug plant is bubbling away and the next batch will be ready for bottling a week today. Meanwhile, the elderflower bush at the top of our upper field by the churchyard is in full flower, flowers we picked on Saturday afternoon.
418 days ago
The sprawling massd you see before you are the two butternut squash plants I put down earlier this year which seem to have merged into one. Behind them lie half my tmatoes and under the white netting winter cauliflower and cabbages. I hope that the last of the cabbage whites will soon bugger off and I can remove the netting allowing my plants to shoot higher. Underneath the squash foliage I have, so far, found five squashes but there may be more. The first two picked are shown below.
634 days ago
Having parted company with the chap who managed the garden I am now in sole charge and I know that I shall make blundering errors and will just have to learn from my own mistakes. In fact, as a kind reader pointed out, I made one with my early radish planting, something I have started to correct today.
647 days ago
Last night, the remaining squashes stored from the Autumn went into a stew. Today at lunchtime we ate the last of the winter potatoes seasoned with almost the last of my dried herbs, some rather miniscule sprouts from the winter crop and a small cauliflower from the same vintage,all of which you can see below. The last of my stored apples were used to make an apple sauce for a joint of pork.
787 days ago
Describing neighbour C as an earth mother is, of course, a compliment. The Mrs knows that I view the idea that food comes from Tesco with true disdain. However, the husband of earth mother C, another C, wandered in the other day and saw four onions on a string in the kitchen and quipped “that’s not much of a decoration.” He touched on a sore nerve as he, generously, dropped off two bottles of his home produced, but pressing outsourced, apple juice. I am the first to admit that not only have I dreaded stringing my onions and my first stab, which C spotted, was no great success. However…
795 days ago
We use them in soups and salads but still we are drowning in gherkins from the garden. I am not a great pickling man but needs must.
797 days ago
Stringing the harvested garlic and onions is what I was dreading but I took the plunge and did the garlic last night. I followed a “how to” video on the internet from one of those utterly infuriating folks who make it all look so simple. His garlic is so clean, the stalks never break and it all looked so well presented at the end. Mr garlic threading expert: I hate you. Having said all of that, I did follow his instructions and, as you can see, it worked. Triumph!
803 days ago
It seems it is not just my Irish neighbour B, with his somewhat eccentric conspiracy theories, who is convinced that the food shelves of Britain will be empty by Christmas. The looming panic is across all the newspapers today. Maybe B was ahead of the curve after all? If it is all true, here at the Welsh Hovel we will miss the Christmas Duck if this is the case although, I suppose, I could always try and snare one off the river. Maybe this might be the excuse need to persuade the Mrs to allow me to get a gun. Not only could I shoot a duck for Christmas but I could shoot at anyone trying to steal my food in storage or my winter vegetables in the ground which are flourishing.
814 days ago
So far I have done the easy bit, the hard yards come in about ten days time. But this is a big harvest. For cultural reasons – the Mrs being of Indian descent – we use quite a bit of garlic and onion in the cooking here and if I have got this right we will not be heading to the shops for supplies all winter.
828 days ago
We all agreed that an Indian recipe i found on the internet was the way forward for dealing with my gherkin glut. Okay there are a few cheats here, notably that I had bartered a few gherkins for a few tomatoes and a cucumber or two grown by the parents of one of Joshua’s friends. But anyway…
2535 days ago
Yesterday was Christmas day number one as my daughter came down to Bristol for a Christmas meal. I am rather worried that having scored a perfect ten on this one it will be hard to up my game for Christmas Day itself.
2698 days ago
As I mentioned at some stage last week my step mother is keen that fruit from the garden in Shipston does not go to waste. And so I returned home for an all too brief weekend in Bristol with a punnet of gooseberries that I had picked. Oakley's friend Tara was buried beneath the rhubarb earlier this year and, I apologise if you regard this as tasteless but it had come up amazingly.
3486 days ago
I left England in April with a well behaved herb garden. I returned to Bristol in May to find that all my plants had prospered but that the parsley was completely out of control. What had been a pleasant little plant was now more than 1 yard long and 1 yard wide. The true horror of its expansionism could only be appreciated from above. The poor lavender bush had almost been swamped.
Part one of my solution was to transfer the lavender bush to a patch vacated by a failed attempt to grow a raspberry bush. It had started to sprout but in my absence someone had snapped off its small branches and I feared the game was up. The lavender bush appreciated its move and is now thriving.
But still the parsley grew. By my calculations at current rates of growth it would have covered the entire garden by late August and by 2017 it would have headed off down the A4 and be approaching the outskirts of Bath. And so yesterday afternoon the Mrs was demanding a romantic supper and so I took the scissors to the parsley and put a quarter of it in the pot.