Archive for vegetables

Making new frames for the vegetable beds.

One positive about the Lockdown is the time we now have to spend in the garden and at the beginning of the season too.  Neil has been making new frames for the vegetable beds and repairing some others where possible.

Some of our vegetable beds were in a poor state, and needed weeding as well.20200403_144531

Neil started by cutting 4.8m x 150mm gravel boards to 3.3 metres and 1.5metres length and then painting them with wood preservative.20200403_144433

He then made some pegs for the corners and also painted them.20200404_171045

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Adding damp proof course to the inside of the frames (secured with metal staples) means they will not rot so readily as the old frames have done in the past, due to the amount of rain we get in the Winter.20200405_160006

A central peg was put in the centre of the front  long side to stop the edge from bowing, this is because the beds are on a hill side slope.20200405_160018

The new frames were then put into place, piece by piece, ensuring the sides and ends were square to each other.20200405_165701

Neil added fresh compost to the beds and dug them over.20200407_105816

The finished result is much improved vegetable beds.  These first two beds are for our potatoes which we will plant on Good Friday as is traditional in the country.

 

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Growing potatoes in tyres

We have seen articles on growing vegetables in tyres but never tried it ourselves until now. Neil had kept old tyres when buying new ones for the car and this year upon finding some of last years potatoes that had sprouted, decided to try growing potatoes in tyres.

First he filled the tyres with soil, then placed a few potatoes in each and covered them with soil.DSC03044

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As they grew he added more soil, then another tyre or stones to make up the height.

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The warmth from the sunshine on the tyres kept the soil warm and the potatoes grew quicker than those in the ground, grown the traditional way.20190519_154854

They flourished, then died back and we thought it was time to harvest.

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A great yield of new potatoes both red and white was produced by this method.

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When we change the tyres on the car in future we shall definitely keep the tyres for this method of growing.

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Starting the runner beans off indoors

Although we have a big garden we do not yet have a greenhouse or a polytunnel, they are on my wish list!! So when I  sow my runner beans I always have to do it indoors.  I save up all the cardboard inners from toilet and kitchen rolls, cut the kitchen roll inners into two to make the right size and fill them with grow bag compost.  I place two runner bean seeds into each tube, add a little more compost and water.  I then placed the tubes on our new kitchen window sills which place West so catch the afternoon/evening sun.DSC00159

This is what they look like after 11 days growing on the window sills.

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When the plants are about a foot tall I will put them outside into the ground.  I plant the whole tube by each bean pole thus not disturbing the roots and giving the plants a fighting chance against the slugs that would have the growing tips off in an instant.

We have found this method to be very successful over the past few years, hence repeating it this year.

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A great haul of parsnips!

We have been digging over the vegetable beds, weeding them and preparing them for Spring sowings.  Yesterday Neil tackled what he thought was some weeds and lo and behold he dug up a marvellous haul of parsnips.

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It was quite a surprise as I had already dug up some parsnips a month or so earlier and thought that was all there was.  I had grown these from seed but obviously not marked the place very well, so we had not realised there were more.  We shall be eating parsnips with everything over the next few weeks.  I do love roast parsnips, especially with a little cumin sprinkled over the top!!

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I’m looking forward to peeling that large one on the top!!

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Wow what a whopper!!

I have been letting some of our courgettes (zucchini) grow into marrows to cut up for food for the chooks.  Today Neil picked this one which weighed 7lb 12 ozs, that’s as much as an average baby!!

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I chop it up and then stew it up for a short while to soften it.  Our chooks are well spoilt!

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There are a couple more really large ones growing on the plants which I have left to grow into marrows.  The others I either pick really small and we eat raw in salads, or normal size to cook up for ourselves.  These plants really do keep on giving!!

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French beans outwit the deer

This year, as well as runner bean I planted a dedicated line of climbing French beans alongside bean poles.   Unfortunately some deer got in and munched all the emerging shoots of the beans and stopped them from climbing up the bean poles.  But Mother Nature is so clever!  What did the French beans do?  They produced all their beans really low down on the bit of plant that was still alive.

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And some of the beans are really long, about 7 or 8 inches, much longer than you see in the supermarkets.

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I think its pretty clever that all the bean pods have grown at the bottom!  I thought our crop had been ruined, but not so!!

Also today I picked the first of our runner beans.  They were similarly munched by the deer but managed to put out other shoots and still climb up the bean poles.

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Our sweetcorn are coming on nicely too.  I think it is all the lovely sunshine we have been having lately

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I have also been picking the courgettes (zucchini) and let one or two of them grow really large into marrows to cut up for the chickens.  It’s going to be a bumper year for all our crops this year.

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Growing our runner beans and an update on the veggie garden

We don’t have a greenhouse yet and we do suffer from slugs and snails here as we have had such a wet Winter, so I start off our runner beans indoors in the inside of loo roll tubes.

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We end up with seeds growing on all the window ledges in the house.

After a couple of weeks they have started to sprout.

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And when they are 8 to 12 inches tall I put them outside.  By putting the whole tube into the ground it gives the beans  some protection against the slugs and snails, and gives them a fighting chance.

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I tie each little bean plant up to its bean cane so it doesn’t get blown around in the wind.  This year as part of our “no dig” experiment we have laid newspapers down around the bean poles to deter the weeds.

After 10 days or so they are already climbing the bean poles, so a success.  Just need to wait another month now before they produce some lovely beans for us.

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Our other veggies are growing well too.  Here are our peas climbing up their pea sticks.

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And our cabbages growing in their shrouds to protect them from pigeons and cabbage white butterflies.

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This year we spread grass clippings around the potatoes and onions as mulch and again to deter the weeds.

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The sweet corn are still small, they need some more sunshine to boost their growth.

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We shall have a bumper crop of strawberries this year

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And the gooseberries are already forming on the bushes

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We are also growing lettuce, tomatoes, courgettes, radish, chard, parsnips, carrots, turnips and purple sprouting broccoli so we should have lots of lovely veggies if everything grows OK.

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Loads of spuds!!

We’ve had a really good crop of potatoes.  For regular readers of my blog you will remember that we tried the no dig method of planting through cardboard to stop the weeds coming up.  The potato plants grew up and we didn’t have to earth them up.  So when the foliage died back we started harvesting them.  Yesterday we dug up the rest.  Firstly we pulled the cardboard away.

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This exposed some potatoes near the surface which meant we did have a few with a little green on them unfortunately.

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Our first earlies were Aaron Pilots which were quite successful.

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For maincrop we had planted Desiree and Maris Piper.  I haven’t weighed them yet but I think we have a fair few pounds, enough to last us well into next year, so now we need to wash, dry, and store them in a hessian sack out of the light.

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There’s nothing quite like home grown spuds, steamed with a bit of fresh mint – lovely – no food miles here.

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Lovely Runner Beans

Our runner beans are plentiful and we do so love them. I went picking this afternoon and picked loads.

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We are having them for dinner every night, but we don’t mind as we love to eat fresh and in season, they don’t taste the same if you freeze them.

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We have enough to share with neighbours and friends and in turn they supply us with some things we can’t grow as we don’t have a greenhouse yet.

We still have some vacancies in the B&B in September so contact us for more details.

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What to do with all these courgettes

This year we have had a bumper crop of courgettes (zucchinis).  I bought 4 plants as my seeds didn’t look like they were coming up, and then of course, much later a few sprang into life and I had 3 more plants.  Seven courgette  plants for 2 people is way too many, so I have been giving them away and we have been eating loads.

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I have left a couple on the plant to grow into marrows and these I chop up, cook and feed to the chickens, they seem to enjoy them.  I left one on quite a long time and it was enormous.

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When I picked it I could  hardly believe how heavy it was, so I thought I would weigh it.  It was 9lbs 11 1/2 ounces!!

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We have yellow courgettes as well as green ones, and I have found they don’t last as long in the fridge so I have to use them straight away.  Small yellow ones are lovely cut up raw in salads.  But for the rest of the courgettes I have been making courgette and tomato bake.

In an oven proof dish slice courgettes and alternate with sliced tomato.

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Sprinkle with a little olive oil and place into a hot over 200 degrees C for 25 minutes.  After 25 minutes take out and sprinkle grated parmesan cheese over the top and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes.

The resulting bake is delicious.

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Of course there are courgette fritters to make and a courgette cake (bit like a carrot cake only with courgettes) and many other things to do with courgettes.  I don’t mind having a glut of them, I do like to eat seasonally and fresh.

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