Sweetcorn…

We have just eaten the first of the sweetcorn from the garden.  I waited, patiently, for the silks to turn totally brown before picking the first ears, although I couldn’t resist the odd nail into kernel test (you’re looking for a milky liquid to squirt out, if it’s clear they aren’t ready yet) but I know from my impatient past that if I do the nail test too often, it make’s it easier for the earwigs to move in and I do not like earwigs.DSC_0186 I planted the variety Lapwing this April, starting them indoors for planting out after the last frosts.  Only 10 of the plants survived a rabbit attack and instead of the usual 4 per row in my raised beds, I crammed them together in 2 rows of 5.  As this is quite a small area for wind pollination to take place, I gently stroked the top pollen onto the silks each time I passed the plant and in doing so (I like to think!) that I made sure there were no missing kernels (each individual silk has to be pollinated in order to form a kernel, hence the idea that you need to plant in large blocks, ideally 4 x 4 minimum).DSC_0189

If there’s one crop I will always make room for it’s corn, the taste is so amazingly delicious, so much better than anything you could buy.  I’ve mentioned in the past how even my oldest, Felix, will eat a fresh cob of corn and one of his worst nightmare vegetables is frozen or tinned sweetcorn.  As we’re away on and off over the next week or so, I decide to freeze the remaining cobs so they don’t go past their best.  I simply didn’t have time to blanch them and one recommendation I found is to leave a couple of leaves in place and freeze the corn raw, so this is what I’ve done.  I’ll be interested to see how they taste once cooked directly from the freezer.

That’s all 🙂

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Tomatoes, potatoes and ‘TomTato’…!

We ate things from the garden this weekend, which kind of makes it all feel worthwhile.

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Last night I made pizza, using the first of the tomatoes.  It seems a shame to be roasting and pureeing home grown tomatoes, I feel as though they should be eaten raw, maybe in a salad, but the sad truth is I don’t do raw tomatoes, it’s the only thing I don’t eat and F is the same. DSC_0193Luckily, my youngest LOVES all vegetables so he has been snacking on the little cherry toms – Ildi – which I think deserves a place on my yearly list, as they are cropping beautifully with huge clusters of tiny fruit.  The Brandywine above were roasted as they were a little damaged underneath, where the weight (they are MASSIVE) had pushed into the edge of the bench where I’d propped them to mature, but C is looking forward to eating some sliced in his vegi-burger bap, at a later date.

DSC_0195There’s the first of the plums (San Marzano), these are also cropping well, in fact this year is looking good for tomatoes in general.

DSC_0198 Which brings me to a TomTato update.  As per this earlier post, the TomTato is a tomato plant grafted into a potato, so I should get a crop of both.  The plant was quite expensive so I’ve been looking after it with regular feeds and it’s been growing happily outside, in one of my large pots.

DSC_0201The potatoes are showing their first flowers

DSC_0204and I was excited to see the cherry tomatoes colouring beautifully, almost like the Thompson & Morgan promo photo below…..

8830534975518almost!

DSC_0205My other large potato pot, full of Lady Christl has given us its first meal, I grubbed about and managed to pull out a few tubers for our lunch and they were delicious, eaten with a little butter and salt.  It’s a new variety for me, I nearly always grow Charlottes but these are equally lovely.

The broad beans are nearly over, they are getting a little large now, today’s were blanched and then the skins removed and the beans added to a feta and pea salad.  C had a courgette (zephyr), also from the garden added to his frittata for lunch (the rest of us eat meat, so we had Jerk chicken), so all in all it was a good day for eating garden produce.  If I’d been better organised we’d have also pulled some carrots and the sweet corn is almost ready, but ideally needs a few more days.

Off the water and feed the greenhouse now, and enjoy the last few days of sun, before the rain arrives 🙂


We’re having a heatwave…

I started writing this post on July 16th, but the title still stands, we are most definitely still feeling the heat here in the UK.  It’s left the grass brown and the flower borders are struggling, but I have managed to keep the patch vaguely watered and the greenhouse gets a daily dose.DSC_0017 Earlier this month, I was very lucky to be invited along to the Hampton Court Flower Show.  I took some photos on my iPhone, but they aren’t great quality so I’ll skip posting them.  I really enjoyed the show, it’s the second time I’ve been….my main thoughts are there are less show gardens than I expected and they are quite difficult to see after midday, due to the crowds, we were lucky to get around most of them pre-lunch and then zoom through the flower tents afterwards, which are a real treat.  I bought some plants back, mostly for the boys

DSC_0022 C got a new succulent for his room, I was told that if we snap off the flowers, let them dry out for a couple of days then push them into soil, we’ll get new plants, so we are certainly going to try this.  I’d also bought the boys fly catchers, but these have gone into the bathroom so I remember to keep them watered (with rain water only), otherwise I’m sure they’ll be dead in a week.  The grass on the left is ‘bunny tails’ which has, as the name suggests, little fluffy tufts of grass heads on medium stalks.  It’s gone into the giant planter that has sat empty for months, along with herbs but that deserves a post of it’s own.DSC_0034 My crazy mixed bed where I threw all the reminder of the flower seed packets in has been dominated by self-seeded poppies.  They grow all over the garden and I’m making a point of removing the heads so I have a little more control over where they germinate next year.  They are nice, but not quite the shade I would choose.  I prefer darker reds, these are more of a pink hue, still, they do add colour when there isn’t a lot else going on.

DSC_0027The same bed is now full of marigolds (Indian Prince) which also self-seed all over the garden.

DSC_0188These are top of my ‘cut flower’ list so I don’t mind at all, they look a little scruffy in the photo as I’ve just been away for a few days, so the poor garden has dried terribly and no-one has been picking or dead-heading the plants.  You can see a single cornflower trying to push through, and there are nigellas as well, out of shot.
DSC_0195The only flowers I specifically planted that have made it are zinnias (just about to flower) and cosmos.  This chocolate colour was not expected though!  I was sure I’d be getting hot pinks but this might be another self-seeded number as it originally appeared in the gravel and was transplanted to its new spot in the raised bed.

In the next week, I need to get any winter veg started and hopefully we’ll get to eat the corn, potatoes, courgettes and broad beans that are nearly ready.  I HAVE to get some work done outdoors, but the heat is getting to me and I’d rather not go out there unless I have to.

DSC_0061I’m also up against it with my sewing work.  I’ve managed to finish and list this ‘gardening’ apron, but there is so much to get done for the busy season that is Autumn/Winter in the shop.  Too many things and not enough hours, but then isn’t that always the way 🙂