Monday, 29 August 2016

I say tomatoes

Medley of tomatoes: Dattelwein, Black Cherry and Orkado

I didn't think there was such a thing as too many tomatoes. I was wrong. Carried away by the new space in the polytunnel (and the interesting tomato seeds I got sent), I plumbed for 40 plants this year: 30 in the polytunnel and 10 in the greenhouse. I had lofty ambitions of making enough tomato sauce to last the winter.

Batch of tomato sauce in the making
But I have to admit that it's hard to find the time to process all these tomatoes. Maybe when we don't have so many other jobs that need attending... Like painting the garage (including the roof). After half a day on the garage roof inhaling bitumen paint I just don't feel like peeling several kilos of tomatoes, simmering them for a few hours and then canning them.

Only one more coat on the roof to go
I'm already thinking about how much to grow next year. 25 tomato plants is more realistic. Less tomatoes, more cucumbers. No more achocha (they make nice table ornaments but unfortunately aren't very tasty) and okra (too little yield to make them worthwhile, sadly). More peas and potatoes. Less cabbage but more different kale varieties. The experimental new crop will be scorzonera.

The autumn raspberry season has started and our first ever pears are hanging on the two pear trees. Unfortunately it will be a while before our first grapes, but the vine has expanded quite a bit.

Autumn Bliss
First ever pears! A Glou Morceau

Grapevine in the polytunnel
The new crops are doing well. The first of the oca is beginning to die back. It will be time to earth them up soon. The grains are appearing on the amaranth and the quinoa looks laden. It will be interesting to see what the yield is.

Grain amaranth

Quinoa seed heads
We went on an excellent mushroom foraging walk with Mark Williams of Galloway Wild Foods. We learnt lots and brought home our first ever dinner of Galloway chanterelles. Quite a lot of tasty mushrooms around these parts and hopefully they will increasingly be on the menu.

Mushrooms found on our foraging walk
I do love the crisp sunny days at this time of year, with just a hint of coolness in the air. Obviously the sunflowers enjoyed the recent rays as well. The four survivors are just about to open up.

Almost there


  1. Mmm, mushrooms in tomato sauce, maybe? What terrific collections of both.The quinoa looks incredible, when will it be ready to harvest?

    1. The quinoa should be ready to harvest pretty soon. Sometime in September. Must read up on the harvesting and processing instructions...

  2. I will be following your progress really closely - we eat quite a lot of quinoa so it may be a new crop for us to consider for next year. Let us know how it goes! Lis - not so anonymous :-) (Have given up trying to comment through Wordpress, it's just not happening!)

    1. So far sowing and transplanting the quinoa has been easy. The plants seem hardy, even in quite strong winds. This is the 'Temuco' variety from Real Seeds. We wanted to grow a grain, but most of them are difficult to grow and process on a small scale, the quinoa seemed the easiest one and it's such versatile stuff.

  3. Hi Sonja, we're the same with the tomatoes can't cope- everything is arriving at the same time - think twice about those cucumbers unless you are going to pickle them! Tell Jim I'd gladly swop the watering for the grass cutting! Amaranth - what an amazing looking plant it's like a decorated Christmas tree! Am well impressed with the quinoa your plants look laden with grain. Just finished sowing more trays of stuff for outside and the polytunnels for over the winter - ever the optimistic gardener. I have visions of eating 'greens' throughout the cold months.

  4. I don't think we really want to swap. Your post has brought it home how lucky we are with the water supply here! But catching up with the mowing after a break to paint the garage is hard work. I was going to try growing some gherkins next year for pickling, though I've read that pickled sliced Jerusalem artichokes taste very similar so I'm going to give that a try this winter. That would be an easier solution! I'm sure you'll get greens all through the winter. I'll start sowing some winter salads (Valdor, Density, Merveille de Quatre Saisons, tatsoi) at the end of this month (now that there is some space in the polytunnel) and then some cauliflowers and peas Douce Provence in October. Off to peel another three litres of tomatoes...