Friday, September 6, 2013

Sunny weather and busy in the kitchen!

The good weather is continuing which is great in the garden as I can harvest for a little longer! One year we had our first frost on August 31 which was a bit early for my liking!
Our sunflower patch is looking good and is also glad of a late frost as I planted them a little late! There are about 100 plants!

This one has captured one of the many hundreds of insects flying in to visit the plants!

The runner beans were also a bit late planting as I managed to kill the first lot which I also planted pretty late due to the slow cold spring. But they are starting to produce quite a lot now and the bees are enjoying the mass of late blooming flowers.

I have planted a wide selection of lettuces which can cope with a bit of frost....It will be a good move eventually!

 I have been harvesting tomatoes like crazy. The other day I picked 2 large buckets preserved them for the winter. We dried a big bath in the dehydrator and I made about 20 jars of tomatoes. It is very easy to preserve tomatoes as you just roughly chop them and then shove them into a jar, then I use a whisk to smash them in the jar and release the juice. I then put the lid on and submerse them in water and boil them for 35 mins for half litre jars. The lids create a vacuum when it cools and there you have it.... a jar of tomatoes ready for sauces, stews or whatever!
The same day I made 9 small pots of chilli salsa, endless jars of apple sauce and some jars of sliced apples ready for an apple pie! It was a hot day in the kitchen with lots of pans of water boiling on the stove! My mum asked me how long it all took and it was interesting to work out that even though it took me all day, it was still cheaper than going to the shops and buying it all and of course my stuff is a lot better than what ever I could buy in the shops!!!!

Back in the spring we got interviewed and made it into Tractor World....... Whoa!!!

The title says farming without a tractor! There are some nice photos of the garden looking pretty bare and the bottom right shows the cannelloni beans under their cloches which I am very glad I did as the later plantings (unless we do not get a frost for a while longer) will not reach the right stage to harvest for beans (the seeds) for the baked beans I have been making.

Today I blitzed the broccoli patch and collected a mountain of heads. This is not the first lot we have eaten or frozen, it has been a good year for us with almost no damage from caterpillars and very healthy plants. I did find caterpillars in the heads but they seem to have done very little damage indeed. They were grown on very good soil which was packed full of manure, charcoal, seaweed and had a thick mulch of un-rotted manure, direct from the sheep house, over the surface when the plants got big enough.

Because we have frozen so much this year I decided to load the dehydrator up and see how they turn out. I steamed them for a few minutes, then cooled them in cold water, drained them for a bit then loaded them up into the trays. I have started to steam them before freezing them too as we found the stems rather tough. I hope that this makes an improvement. I will do a big post on all our preserving in the not too distant future as we have done a lot this year and even have to bring in some new cupboards to house it all!!!
Watch this space......

1 comment:

  1. As always - an amazing achievment and such hard work. I think Gardeners World TV programmers should make a programme about you and your farm. love Mum


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