Sunday, October 19, 2008


There is only one thing to do with cranberries and thats to make them into a fabulous cranberrysauce or chutney for Christmas.

Our plants are ground cover for our 15 blueberry bushes. Well, it makes sense as they enjoy the same conditions. They wil be harvested in the next week or so and turned into delicious preserves to eat over the festive period. As a bonus the plants are easily propogated by layering.

Putting raised beds to "bed"

Some of our raised beds (such as the ones above) are being left fallow over the winter. I am a firm believer of not feeding the plant so much as feed the soil.
With that in mind the beds are topped up with a mix of vintage manure

and plenty of well rotted leafmould
and are then covered with membrane. Over the winter, worms will draw down the manure and leafmould mix and the cover will prevent weeds from growing. A welcome bonus is that the soil will be a few degrees warmer come spring than that which is exposed to the air. This will allow me to plant some crops out a little earlier than I could do in traditional beds.

Winter Crops

The beds are still quite full of winter crops. Above is spring cabbage planted through membrane in an attempt to keep the weeding down to a minimum.

Our Swedes are looking good although some are quite cylindrical rather than round. Never mind, they all will taste just grand when cooked.

We use lots of celeriac. Its grand mashed with spuds or added to stews. Ours are bulking up fabulously now.

These tomatiloes are not a winter veg but as they are in the tunnel they will be harvested for another few weeks or until the frosts finally come. We have used them to make a proper Mexican salsa today and mighty fine it tastes too. A good job as we now have 6lb in jars to last through till next year with a lot more to come.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The asparagus experiment update

The 1st year asparagus crowns were planted in 25 litre drums, filled with a very rich compost well rotted manure mix in the spring.

They have grown exceptionally well and as they are not a permanent bed where good practice states they are not really harvested till the third year, they will be brought into the tunnel after Christmas to be brought on to give an exceptionally early crop of English asparagus.

Trying to push the boundaries is one of the great gardening challenges.

Feed the birds.

The sunflowers have now gone over and the heads are just bursting with seeds. We just cut the heads off and leave them stuck on a cane.

It does not take long for the birds to make the most of the feast, as the above "cleared out" head shows.

What a bountiful harvest!

Ok, so they are covered in mildew, but the courgettes are still producing fruit and very welcome it is too. This one will keep going till the first good frost.

Our spinach bed has produced and produced all summer long. We have even resported to steaming it, squeezing the water out of it and freezing it ready for use in the kitchen. Hopefully this will stand over the winter.

The yellow flag iris by the pond on the plots have flowered well and have now set seed. This ripe pod will be setting its seed by the pond and I will of course, scatter some hither and yon.

Ab fab for bees, grow verbena bonariensis and you will attract all manner of pollinating insects. Its great as a cut flower too. It really is a "must grow" on any plot.