Saturday, 28 November 2015

First of the winter brassicas

We picked the first of the winter brassicas today: some cavolo nero and leaves from cabbages, kale and sprouting broccoli. 

For lunch we had some bean casserole left over from yesterday (with onions, garlic, tomatoes, swiss chard stems and herbs from the garden), a small yellow/green acorn squash picked a few weeks ago, the cavolo nero, and brassica leaves and mash.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Bean seeds for next year

The last of the bean pods have been harvested for seeds. I am always loath to leave some of the biggest and best beans on the plants to mature and dry but I know it is worth it for the sake of next year's harvest. This photo shows just some of the varieties I have collected from the garden. The problem is that labels were lost many years ago so I have no idea which varieties they are apart from "runners", "climbing" and "dwarf".

The season is not completely over yet and the weather has been so mild this autumn that I am still harvesting runner beans. I'm not gathering a massive amount bit a handful is enough to add variety to a mix of veg in a risotto or a casserole.

Indigo Beauty

The last of our Indigo Beauty tomatoes has been eaten with great ceremony. This was our first time with this variety and we shall definitely be growing more next year.

I was intrigued by the description of the fruit in last year's Simpson's Seeds catalogue but their photos really do not do it justice. On the outside the top half /two thirds of the tomato is almost black with the rest turning a very dark red when ripe. Inside it is dark red.

As for taste and texture I rate it as very good and a nice, meaty tomato. My taste rating scale is: forget it; average; good; very good; excellent. A little more sweetness would have made it an excellent tomato, but it probably suffered from the poor growing conditions early in the year as did my other tomatoes (they are all outdoor plants). 

A couple of people have asked me about the yield per plant; all I can honestly say is average and about the same as every other variety I have grewn this year Again, the yields suffered from the erratic outdoor growing conditions. Definitely worth a go next year.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Home made yoghurt

This is my third attempt at making yoghurt and the best so far in terms of taste and texture. Rather than guessing the temperatures when heating and cooling the milk, this time I went out and bought a kitchen thermometer. I also wrapped the jars in several layers of bubble wrap before placing them in my shredded paper box overnight. The end result is served here with honey from Mill Green, which is just around the corner from us.

Although I use yoghurt in cooking I don't often eat it as a dish in its own right. I am unlikely to get through a large jar such as this very quickly so keeping a starter for the next batch "going" could be a problem. Apparently it can be frozen so that will be my next experiment.

The final squash?

I found yet another squash in the garden. It's the acorn squash second from the left. When it was picked a couple of days ago it was completely yellow but is now beginning to turn green. I'm almost certain that this is the last one from the garden, but I said that about the previous one!

The one on the far left, which was picked a couple of weeks ago, was green with pale green stripes but is now turning to a butternut squash colour.

We've already eaten the onion squash, two of the small butternuts, a green acorn squash, the green marrow type squashes (best description I can think of) and a very large green skinned pumpkin like squash. All very different in texture and flavours and all delicious.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

First parsnips of the season

Judging by the foliage, the parsnips are doing well. I have them in two different patches in the garden one of which was a bit stony and compacted. This is where I dug out my first parsnips of the season and not surprisingly they are not the prettiest of roots. But given the growing conditions I was pleased with them and they tasted good.

I'll be building up this bed over the next couple of years with compost and mulch, so there should be an improvement in the shape and size of any root vegetables we grow there.

Elsewhere in the garden the swiss chard is going berserk. As soon as I cut some for lunch it grows back with a vengeance!