Tag Archives: gardening

Let the growing begin….

8 Feb
Chitting my seed potatoes

Chitting my seed potatoes

Spring might be round the corner. Or it might not. Today was the first day since 16 January when the garden wasn’t covered in snow – it has finally melted. And of course it looks a right old mess. But never mind, we’ll get it tidied up, and nature will help soon, with things beginning to grow, and bud and a general coming back to life.

I headed into the greenhouse this afternoon, and set out the potatoes for chitting. I bought a ‘chef’s collection’ with three varieties: International Kidney (salad/second early); Anya (also salad/second early) and Ratte (maincrop). I think we’ll grow most of them in bags or tubs this year.

I also sowed some seeds in one wee seed tray: cosmos, rudbeckia and basil finissimo.

I know, flowers! But if we’re thinking of having bees, we’d better grow them some flowers to enjoy.

 

Trust your mother

14 Sep

You should always trust your mother; she knows best.

I know this to be true. It’s always been thus.

So why did I ignore her advice a couple of weeks ago?

We had gone home for a day at the end of August – it was a couple of days after my birthday, and I always want to see my parents around then. As a bonus it was the Gatehouse Flower Show. We used to enter flowers, and plants, and vegetables, and preserves and homebaking, and in the old kitchen at 29 Fleet Street we had a large display of winners tickets pinned to the wooden beam, proof of our successes. I haven’t even attended the Flower Show for too many years, most recently because working at Edinburgh summer Festivals meant I didn’t have the time off, and before that I was living in London and had too much of a London-head on me to make the effort. Shame on me!

And this year although we were attending, we didn’t enter anything. As Mum says, “That means we can confidently go around and say, Oh I could have won a prize in that category, without the contrary evidence of the judges’ decisions”.

I’m confident I would have won a prize in the wholemeal bread category (there were only 2 entries) and also the cheese scone category (my scones are exceptionally good). But I’m not allowed to enter all the categories – only people living locally are allowed to enter most categories, except for some random things like lemon curd (which I’m quite good at) and three hen’s eggs.  Or it might be three hens’ eggs, who knows? And I suspect the judges would never know either.

Anyway, while I was home I was telling Mum about the great apple harvest we were looking forward to this year. Mum bought me two apple trees three years ago: a Galloway Pippin and a Cambusnethan Pippin. The first year they didn’t really fruit, of course. Last year we had a couple off each tree. And this year we have an enormous harvest – the poor wee trees are quite laden down with the weight of the crop.

And here comes the advice bit.

Mum recommended I pick some of the fruit off the heaviest branches straight away, or the branches may break with the weight of fruit.

I didn’t.

The next day a wind whipped up, after weeks of relatively balmy and calm weather. The inevitable happened and the wind ripped a branch from the tree. A branch with over 30 apples on it.

We now have many jars of apple chutney, and there will be cinnamon apple jelly by the end of the weekend. They are also deliciously good with a chunk of mature cheddar.

Recipes and pictures will follow.

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