Last year I claimed a small piece of garden as my veg patch, it was covered in brambles and I declared war to clear it and took pictures for my Blog.
I don’t have alot of experience with gardening but I definately enjoy it, and I’m learning by doing.
This year I grew Cabbages,Purple sprouting Brocoli, Broad beans, Runner beans, potatoes, courgettes, Salad leaves, tomatoes, cauliflowers and carrots.
In the conservatory I grew peppers, chillis, and planted a lemon seed that is growing 🙂
This pepper plant survived winter in the conservatory.
Even though it was looking a little sad I still watered it and it repaid me with lots of lovely peppers, infact theres still a few on there now.
The first things I planted in the Veg patch were Purple sprouting Brocoli and cabbage seedlings.
I got a good crop off of them but they bolted and grew too quick too fast.
They didn’t go to complete waste, I ate the young greens in stirfrys and as sides they were delicious.
Cabbage butterflys on the other hand were a BIG problem for me this year, I picked off catterpillers (they crawled back)I removed the eggs, (the butterflys laid more)I squirted the leaves with a watery solution of washing up liquid and water(the rain washed it off).
The other problem I experienced but learned from this year was Chocolate spot that attatcked my Broad beans.
Chocolate spot disease caused by Botrytis fabae manifests itself as small red-brown spots on leaves, stems and flowers of broad bean plants. These enlarge and develop a grey, dead centre with a reddish-brown margin. Spores form on the dead tissue and spread the infection to other plants. In severe infections leaves and flowers may fall and badly affected stems may keel over.
Chocolate Spot is a type of funghi it likes shade, it likes the beans to be close together and dampness.
If I grow Broad beans again, I will consider all those points.
My runner beans on the other hand gave me a fantastic crop, every night I watered them they grew another inch! Slow at first but they have just recently finished (October) and I have pulled them down and saved the large pods for seeds next year.
Strawberries, during the summer it was great to compare with fellow garden enthusiasts how red they were getting how big the crop and strawberry size.
There are many diferent ways to plant up your strawberries and now they have sprouted runners next year I will have plenty more to plant and sell.
Some different Ideas for planting;
October in my garden, there’s not much to forage, a few courgettes some baby carrots, the last of the tomatoes,my cauliflowers are in and I will keep an eye on them.
Most of the plants are coming to an end and dying back, so cutting and replenishing the soil before I plant any winter hardy veg is up next on my list of jobs.
With all the foraged items from my local area and own Garden I have put together a post about preserving.
There are so many ways to preserve, so many recipes that no excess gatherings need go to waste,
Just a few ways of pro-longing there lives are;
- Chutneys & Pickles
- Pickling in brine
- preserving in brandy
- chopping/stoning uncooked items & storing in well labeled freezer bags in the freezer
- Cooking items and storing in the freezer
- Blitzing items in a processor and freezing in ice cube trays
- Baking/Drying things like nuts on a low heat in the oven/airing cupboard and storing in an air tight container.
The thing I love about preserves is that you can gather your items and freeze them until you are ready to make your jam/chutney, it’s a really good idea if you think you might not have time to make it before the fruit/veg goes bad.
Before I have even started to gather my foraged items I start to ask every one to save me their clean jars.
I like jars with metal lids(because things like vinegar don’t corrode them), but even jars with out lids can still be used for jams/chutneys, instead you cover your jar with a see threw plastic disc and a rubber band and a pretty cover made of paper or material(like the ones in the picture above).
I find Hellmans mayonaise jars are best for pickled onions, because of there wide necks and size.
I don’t use a thermometer, I do fiddle with recipes and I have a few trusted methods to see if things like jams have set.
My good friend in Aylesham bought me a great preserves book it was very inspiring, the most in depth book I own on the subject. Below are a few of the books I own about preserving….
In my next Post I will include some recipes and photos of jams/chutneys I have made 🙂