Sunday, 2 August 2015

Feeling jammy

A typical day's harvest 
The harvest season has well and truly begun. Everything is a month behind but cropping very well. Hopefully we'll have a warm autumn so that the later crops will ripen as well.

First jam and chutney of the year
We (or rather our guests) have been gathering 1kg of strawberries a day and a good lot of gooseberries, too. So the jam-making machine has sprung into action. The total so far: 10 jars of gooseberry & elderflower jam, 6 of strawberry conserve (where you soak the whole fruits for a day, then briefly boil and leave for another day before making the jam - this makes for a very intense strawberry flavour) and 4 of strawberry & rhubarb jam. And 15 jars of beetroot & green tomato chutney.
A rare chance to dry
There's been no need to water the plants, with frequent showers every day, but we've had two days without rain this week. The ideal window of opportunity for our onion harvest. They got one day in the sun, before being sorted into immediate use and winter storage piles, and are now filling up every available space in the house. They'll need to dry for a month or so to develop their skins. We have a lot more than last year, but probably not enough to last until the next crop. And there is one whole fish box for immediate consumption. Today we had French onion soup for six, and onion chutney making is already planned for this week.

Drying in the kitchen
And in the bathroom
The wild flower border has burst into colour all of a sudden, with lots and lots of poppies.

Wild flower strip
The Finnish poppy corner
The top corner is basically done. Seven herb beds made from old tyres, with stone surrounds. Even though it's a bit late in the season, I've sown some coriander, thyme, oregano, summer savoury, lemon grass, camomile and caraway. Let's see if anything comes of it; otherwise it will be coming into full use next year. My friend Sally has kindly donated a whole bunch of nice-looking non-edible perennials (whose names I can never remember, other than astilbes) and they've been planted along the wall. Now all that remains is to sow some grass in the remaining area and maybe plant a few spring bulbs.
Jim finishing off the new herb beds
And another piece of good news: The first asparagus seedlings have popped up!


  1. With your harvest it seems you will need a lot of storage space for your jams and conserves - where do you keep them? Surely not all in the fridge(s)?

    1. We only have one fridge but we don't use it much, apart from for dairy products and a little bit of meat, so half of the current preserves are in the fridge and the other half in a storage cupboard. However, we have been looking at the IKEA website to get some bigger kitchen cupboards.

  2. Sonja,
    Love the bathroom that blue is great. My onions were left out in the blistering heat and we just twisted the tops off, mind they were bone dry - just like the garden. Two days of rain in almost three months is well beyond a joke. I've never been so aware of the consequences of drought and I can still water from the mains. Can't even begin to think what it would be like if it was only what fell from the sky that watering the veggies.