Monday, 11 December 2017

August 2017 harvest summary

Weight  35.652 kg

Garden harvest shop/market price £88.15

Foraged £73.26


Garden crops

Weight g

Shop price

Runner beans992£5.95
Red cabbage682£1.15
Purple Sprouting Broccoli474£4.74
Cherry plums310£1.55
French beans298£1.79
Sweet peppers92£0.92


Weight g

Shop price


Herbs - estimate £4.00
Salad leaves /lettuces estimate £5.00

August 2017 in pictures

Cauliflowers not huge this year but at least they survived the cabbage white caterpillars.

An interesting looking squash emerging from the compost spread under some of the runner beans.
Tomatoes are doing well this year. First time we've grown Brandywine and Costoluto Fiorentino.

A good crop of runner beans across the garden.....  

...and  the grapes have excelled themselves this year.

Plenty of wild fruit for foraging: elderberries, damsons, blackberries, apples and plums.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

July 2017 in pictures

Golden sweet mange tout. Very pretty mauve flowers, yellow pods and delicious but not very prolific. I'm not sure it's worth growing them again in any quantity.
Flowers and bulbils on Babington's leek. Nice garlicky flavour. I used some in cooking and kept some bulbils for growing on. 
Monster purple sprouting broccoli. This beast stood at 3ft 6in. The others around it were a normal 2ft max and had long finished sprouting. This one had only just started. It lasted another month and would have probably gone on for at least another year had it not been so shallowly rooted. A few blustery winds and it started to keel over and eventually I had to remove it. But it died give us plenty of broccoli spears and leaves before its demise. 

The start of our garlic harvest. I did label the three varieties that I planted but when it came to harvest the labels had disappeared! So I have no idea what is what. I'm not sure it really matters as I will use the cloves from the best specimens for replanting this autumn.

First of this year's cucumbers

Potatoes, Golden Sweet peas and first of the runner beans

Cherry plums

Grapes forming

Gorgeous colours on this monster that landed on a grapevine leaf. It was one inch long and buzzing loudly. I thought it was hornet of some sort but it is a hoverfly - the Hornet Mimic Hoverfly also known as the Belted Hoverfly, Volucella zonaria. Harmless.

Rudbeckia adding a splash of colour
Cinnabar moth caterpillars munching on ragwort.

The temperature may be in the 30s but Ms Moggychops
has found a cool, shady spot in the garden

July 2017 harvest summary

Garden harvest total 6.020kg

Garden harvest shop/market price £48.90


Garden crops

Weight g

Shop price

Garlic (46 bulbs)1180£23.00
Purple sprouting broccoli174£1.80
Cherry plums148£0.60
Runner beans130£0.90

Herbs - estimate £4.00
Salad leaves /lettuces estimate £5.00

June 2017 in pictures - it was hot!

It was hot this month!
One of the parsnips was overlooked during the winter harvesting and started to sprout leaves. We decided to leave it to go to seed. When they get to this stage they are euphemistically referred to as "architectural plants", that is they are big! We managed to harvest a good quantity of seeds and will see how worthwhile the exercise was next spring when we sow them. 
A good year so far for our raspberries and our handful of strawberry plants. The strawberries are beginning to multiply so we should have a good harvest next year.

Garlic scapes, onions and peas. Plenty of garlic scapes this year and delicious steamed as a vegetable or chopped and added to salads.

Regular supply of lettuces that were planted earlier in spaces in pots and between other veg.
First potatoes of the season from the garden. I had a gentle rummage around the top of a few of the containers and came up with these beauties. Also some onions and various greens.


And wonky carrots. Really pleased that we are finally starting to get some even though they are "individual" in appearance. They were delicious!

Brandywine tomato

White Versailles currants
Gooseberry - Winham's Industry

Perfect weather for drying washed duvets over the kitchen wall

Goatsbeard (Aruncus dioicus)

Sunday, 3 September 2017

June 2017 harvest summary

Garden harvest total 7.534kg

Garden harvest shop/market price £37.10


Garden crops

Weight g

Shop price

Swiss chard496£3.75
White currants280£3.00
Cabbage/brassica leaves124£1.20
Purple sprouting broccoli28£0.30

Herbs - estimate £4.00
Salad leaves /lettuces estimate £5.00
Garlic scapes ? - not exactly commonplace in the shops!

May 2017 in pictures

Really pleased to see that the pear blossom and fertilised flowers survived/missed the frosts. It looks as though we shall have at least a dozen pears this year, up from last year's single fruit that survived.

A typical Sunday Lunch for this time of the year. Starting at the top and working around the plate clockwise: steak and ale pie from Reading Farmers' Market; pea shoots (kitchen window sill); stuffed purple sprouting broccoli leaf (garden) stuffed with risotto; purple sprouting broccoli (garden); carrots (Reading Farmers' Market); potatoes (supermarket); various brassica leaves (garden).

Typical daily veg collection for May and on this occasion the veg was for a shared meal at a meeting and AGM of Transition Town Reading (TTR). Includes swiss chard, purple sprouting broccoli, onions, cavolo nero, various kales and oregano.

And this is what I made for the TTR AGM: winter/spring vegetable quiche, spicy vegetable and chickpea flour muffins, and sprouting broccoli leaves stuffed with vegetable risotto.

At the front of the house, the new(ish) rosemary bush is now well established and liking the hot dry environment. The surplus garlic cloves that I planted as an experiment are also doing well. 

Some of the runner bean seedlings that were started off under cover. Having been caught out with late frosts in previous years these will not be planted out until late May or the beginning of June.

I bought some interesting varieties of tomatoes and chillies from Homecrafts in Caversham, and was forced to use the bath as a "waiting room" for them a while. Tomatoes were Brandywine (pink beefsteak variety), Principe Borghese (red egg/plum shaped fruit)  and Costoluto Fiorentino (red beefsteak).

Although there is a lot just beginning to grow some of the crops are finishing. Last year's planting of swiss chard is now going to seed but there are still several meals worth left before they need to be pulled out.