Jam season!

 

And so jam season begins. My blackcurrant bush yielded 5lbs of berries. We have picked these and made blackcurrant jelly!

I didn’t follow an exact recipe, I simply washed and stewed the fruit in 500mls of water and then passed the pulp through a jelly bag. To the syrup I added one kilo bag of sugar and brought to a rolling boil. Stir continuously to prevent sticking.
Pour the jelly into hot sterilised jars when it reaches setting point.

Label jars when cold.

My currant crop had quite a few green berries in, this helps add pectin to set the jelly. If needed you can add pectin which you will find in most high street supermarkets under the brand name “certo”

Can’t wait to try this on some fresh crusty bread!

Spuds!!!!!

I haven’t had a lot going on in the garden this year. Our house is up for sale so I didn’t want to have a whole lot of goodies planted then let someone else reap the benefits of my hard work!!
All we put in were a few spuds, tomatoes and lettuce. The lettuce was a waste of time, it’s done absolutely pot all. I’ll be old and wrinkly waiting on lettuce at this rate! Tomatoes are coming along, just some sun required to ripen a few and our spuds are just ready to harvest.

Small sprog is out collecting away in the muck, so far I have enough to fill my veggie box in the kitchen with more left to lift. This is the first year I planted them and left them to their own devices, so far it’s looking like a good crop, so much for all the loving care I put in last year!!

Garden Update

I ended up making a big batch of tomato sauce which I’ll freeze. Not much else ready in the garden so far. All my potatoes have been lifted and are almost gone!

One thing I did find tonight, though it’s too dark now to take a picture, my fig tree is sprouting fruit. I’m really surprised as I didn’t think I would see anything until next season. I just bought the plant in the early summer.

I look forward to picking those when they are ready, yummy!

Potatoes or tomatoes?

These little beauties appeared on my potato plants recently. I was puzzled and thought that my potatoes and tomatoes had cross pollinated, they are after all from the same family. However after a little research on the wonderful world wide web, I discovered that these fruit are actually the fruit of the potato plant.

Good job we didn’t save them to eat though, it turns out that they are highly poisonous!

Yukon gold potatoes are the most likely to produce fruit out of the potato varieties, guess which variety I’m growing?

As it turns out, I could have saved the seed from the fruit to grow more potatoes, ooops! I have them composted now and it’s a bit late to go fishing them out!

You can read more about the experimental growing of potatoes from seed here

Fruits of my labours!!!

I’m really starting to see the rewards of my hard work in the garden and greenhouse this year.

I’ve posted some pictures up so you can see what’s going on so far!

My first tomatoes staring to form on the plants. They might be small so far, but I’m hoping that they will be really flavoursome tomatoes later in the season.
Alpine strawberries, these were grown from seed last year and overwintered in the greenhouse. They are small but have so much flavour. I’m hoping to get runners from them for new plants next season.

3 cucumbers forming on the greenhouse plant. I lost one cucumber earlier this year. It went all squashy at one end so I thought it best to remove it to prevent damage to the plant. It seems to have worked ok with no ill effects.
Plenty of pea pods forming on the garden plants. I’ve sown these in succession this year so hopefully I’ll have a continuous supply rather than a glut.My first ever raspberry! There are plenty of berries forming on the cane but this one for some reason is ripening quicker than the rest. I’ll have to dig out my netting to prevent the birds from snacking on them before I do. I also have a new cane coming up on this plant, so I’ll split that off next year.

Also on my agenda today, I’ve strained off the elderflower concoction into demi-johns to ferment out. I’ve also just bottled one without any added yeast to see what it does. It will be an interesting experiment. If it ends up undrinkable, I’m sure my composter will enjoy it!

Next on my to do list this evening is to haul out my material stash and get cracking on some bags, now that I have my gorgeous labels to sew into them. I really could do with gardening too this evening but I don’t think there’s going to be enough hours today :0)

I’m enjoying the sun!

As the title says, I’m enjoying our sunny weather. I’m making the most of it as it could very well be our summer here! So please accept my apologies for not wanting to be inside updating my blog :0)

Roll on tomorrow afternoon, I finish work for a week, yippee!!! I’m hoping the weather will hold so I can get a lot more planting and weeding done in the garden. The sun might be nice and helping the plants, but the weeds aren’t slow to shoot up either.

Hope it’s sunny and warm wherever you are!!

It’s all growing in the garden!

The weather here has been pretty dismal for the past few days and so I haven’t been able to get much done in the garden.

I have been out though keeping an eye on the progress of my plants and it appears that things are starting to grow!

This is my raspberry cane which currently is residing in a pot. As you can see we have small flower formations, so hopefully we will have some fruit this year. Also on the same cane, we have a new cane appearing, I’ll let this continue to come up and then split it off for a new plant next season.


The alpine strawberries, which we grew from seed last year are also forming flowers. We did manage one single strawberry last year in November of all times! Fingers crossed for a good crop this year. I will then allow the plant to put out runners next year. This will in turn lead to new strawberry plants.


Finally we have peas making an appearance. We lost the first batch that we planted. The seeds rotted away for some reason and the few that remained were in the rotting stage. I’ll start another batch of peas off in the next week or so. This will ensure a continuous crop. Last year we ended up with a glut, so I’m trying not to let that happen this year!

This has to be the best result for me so far………….. butternut squash! I saved the seeds from a squash we bought in the supermarket last year. I just scooped them out and washed off the flesh, then allowed them to dry out on a piece of kitchen paper. When dry I popped the seeds in a bag and stored them in the freezer. (It will be an added bonus if we actually get some fruit from these plants.)I save all my seed this way, it stops germination and allows the seed to get all warm and cosy when you plant them in the new season, thus encouraging them to sprout.

Also in residence in the greenhouse are tomatoes, a melon plant, a cucumber plant, assorted herbs, a courgette plant and later on in the season we will be trying some sweetcorn. Dad is starting this off for me in his heated propagator so that by the time we are ready for it, we have hopefully got warmer weather.

In the garden patch, the potatoes are up and will need earthed up this weekend, carrots have finally started to show and my onion sets are sprouting well. The experimental asparagus doesn’t seem to be doing anything so far. I’m a novice on this front and the crowns weren’t in any way expensive. So if the crowns don’t produce anything, it hasn’t been a big loss.

I decided this year not to grow any brassicas. The butterflies got to them last year and all the plants ended up looking like net curtains. I felt for the effort I had put into them, I didn’t get much in return so I’ll have to stick to buying those from the greengrocers.

Garden Update

This is how the bottom end of the garden looks now that we have finally completed the greenhouse and created a path for ease of access. Quite a few bags of stones later and we are all done. There is another little bit of stoned path to the left of the greenhouse that you can’t see in the picture. I’m using that part to set my fig tree on once it’s in its pot and also to set pots of mixed leaves on.
Inside the greenhouse we have at the top left of the picture, cucumber plant and pots of herbs to the front of that. On the right side we have 2 white buckets with mixed leaves just beginning to sprout, more herbs and you can just see the edge of my strawberry pot.
This lovely terracotta pot was given to me by my Mum. (thanks Mum!) I haven’t yet decided if I’m going to use it for strawberries or if I’m going to turn it into a herb planter. It might actually be a little on the small side to use as a herb planter. Hmmm, decisions decisions!!

Outside in the garden this weekend I have also got some planting done. So far in the ground we have potatoes, spring onions, asparagus, onion sets and carrots. As yet the carrots and peas I planted in pots have yet to germinate. I might try soaking the peas for a few days to see if that helps the germination process? Pepper plants and aubergines have germinated and will be planted out as soon as the weather allows. Leeks are coming along nicely too. Other seeds planted this weekend are butternut squash and little sprog planted a pumpkin!

Tomato plants are coming along nicely at my Dads house and I think those will be ready to go in the greenhouse around the end of May. Dad is also starting off some sweetcorn for me to try in the greenhouse.

Last to go in the garden is a raspberry cane, currently residing in a pot, a blackcurrant bush in a pot at my Mums house and my fig tree which will be re-potted.