Posts Tagged fruit bushes

Our first peas and glorious fruit from the garden

We have had a week of lovely sunny weather here and it has done the garden good, bringing on the fruit and veggies after all the rain we have had.  Yesterday we picked our first peas.

Our first peas

They were lovely fat pods of really sweet peas.  We have never grown peas before so this is a definite success.

shelled peas

We had them last night with baked trout and our home grown potatoes – yummy, followed by home grown raspberries that have been so abundant this year we have been eating them daily.

Home grown raspberries

We have the raspberries served with meringues and squirty cream, an unbeatable combination.  Not only do we have raspberries but loganberries and for the first time tayberries, which are a cross between a raspberry and a blackberry, so quite dark in colour.

Also the blueberries have been plentiful.  I think all the rain made them swell up, we have never had so many big ones.

home grown blueberries

Our gooseberries are now ripe and I have been picking both green ones and red ones.  I made strawberry and gooseberry jam with some of the green ones and raspberry and red gooseberry jam with the others.

Green gooseberries

Red gooseberries

So what with the blackcurrants and strawberries we had earlier our fruit garden has been bountiful.  With regard to veggies as I said we have harvested peas and potatoes, our beans and cabbages are coming along OK and we have had several courgettes, but our sweetcorn doesn’t look up to much, got dashed down by the rain we had, and the seeds of our carrots, parsnips and beetroot have all come to nothing.  Also there are very few apples on the trees.  Our British weather has a lot to answer for, but we must be grateful for the fruits we do have!!

Our B&B guests will be enjoying freshly picked fruits with their breakfast.  www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

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glorious goosegogs!

Last year we saw a small advert in the local Londis shop  “Free to good home, 2 mature gooseberry bushes”.  So we phoned the number and the lady said to come round to collect them.  When we got there, she presented Neil with a spade and said “you’ll have to dig them up!”. So he did, and they were big and we only just got them in the car.  We brought them back, dug them into the garden, and over the next couple of weeks, all the leaves fell off.  We wondered if we had killed them, moving them, but thought we would be patient and see what time would tell.

This spring, we noticed the first few leaf buds, then flowers, then slowly the growing of little gooseberries, until they were glorious and ripe and ready to pick.  One bush is red gooseberries and the other the ordinary green.

Red gooseberry bush, JUly 2011

So the other day I picked a load of lovely red gooseberries, sat in the sunshine and topped and tailed them all, then made them into jam.

Glorious goosegogs, topped and tailed

This is how I made the jam:

Ingredients: 600g topped and tailed gooseberries

450g jam sugar (Jam sugar has added pectin and as gooseberries have natural pectin I used less sugar to jam than normal)

Knob of butter (I used Flora)

Method:

Heat the washed gooseberries and sugar in a large saucepan on the stove top.  Mash the gooseberries with a potatoe masher to break them up.  Stir to disolve the sugar.

When the mixture is hot and starts to bubble, add a knob of butter and stir to disolve.

Bring the mixture to a rolling boil (when you cannot stir the bubbles down) and let it boil for 4 minutes.

Take some of the mixture on a spoon and drip onto a cold saucer.  If it firms up then the jam is ready, if not put back onto boil for another minute or two.

Tip the jam into warmed jars and seal straight away.

This mixture made 3 small jars.  for a greater quantity just multiply up the ingredients.    I shall be serving this to my bed and breakfast guests with their breakfast. Yummy!

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“Pick you own” at home

When we lived in Langley, I used to go down the “Pick your Own” at least once if not twice a week.  When we moved here that was the one thing I missed, as there was no PYO nearby. So the first year we were here we had to content ourselves with shop bought produce whilst we planted bushes and fruit canes.

This year we have a veritable “pick your own” at home!!!  The raspberries have just got going and they are wonderful, and we are still picking strawberries.

Today's picking of strawberries Monday 11th July 2011

Last year we planted out 4 blueberry bushes that we had brought with us, that had previously been growing in pots.  We got nothing from them, but this year they have come into their own and we are getting better blueberries than we have ever had.  You can see them amongst the raspberries. When we finally open as B&B I hope to serve some of our fresh fruit at breakfast with cereal or natural yoghurt.

Today's pickings of blueberries and raspberries 11th July 2011

Mind you not everything is a raving success.  My lettuces have bolted, the runner beans are slow climbing the bean poles and my tomatoes are a bit ho hum at the moment.  Let’s hope the sunny weather like we have had today will bring these other plants on a bit better.

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Mr Blackbird is well fed up

Neil’s mate Fid arrived today to stay for a couple of days.  Neil and he set to work on putting up the netting for the fruit cage.  It was difficult getting the netting over the top of the poles to form a roof, and then tensioning it so it was equal all the way round.  This took several attempts. They then built a door in the side , which hinges to allow entry.

We could then remove the temporary netting we had had over the gooseberry bushes and some of the raspberries.  As we were sitting admiring the work, we noticed Mr Blackbird getting in a spin.  He was barging against the netting trying to get in.  Now I know who has been stealing my raspberries.  With the netting there his thieving will have to stop but he’s not happy.  He’s hopping all around the netting trying to find a way in but to no avail.

So Blackbird zero, us and the fruit cage one point!!

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Suppressing the weeds!

Whilst the soil here is very fertile and everything grows well, that includes the weeds.  We have been battling the weeds in the fruit cage area all Spring, pulling them up and putting down old carpet to act as weed suppressant sheet, and then spraying the grass with weedkiller until it looked like this below.

killing off the weeds and adding old carpet

Today we laid 100 metres of black suppressant sheet in the fruit cage area.  We cut round the raspberry canes and fruit bushes to cover the whole area, until we ran out of the black fabric.  Quickly went to Ebay and purchased another 100 metre roll so now have to wait for it to arrive before we can finish the job.

Laying the black weed suppressant sheet

A little toad came to join us in the task………….

little toad

We love all little animals here, so he was welcome to join us. 

Why don’t toads, hens, cats eat weeds?  that would make our life easier.

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Abundant fruit

The fruit bushes down in the paddock are bearing abundant fruit.  The strawberry plants we put in last year and got nothing from, have really come into their own, with enormous strawberries.  We’ve been eating them for breakfast and dinner for a week now.

The first of the strawberries and blackcurrants

The blackcurrant bushes that we got when someone was giving them away on freecycle, are also doing well. There are quite a few, enough for pudding for us two, but not masses, I expect we will get more as the bushes mature.

Our 2 red gooseberry bushes, given to us by a lady in Combe St Nicholas are also bearing plentiful fruit, this time enough for crumbles, and jam. And the raspberry canes, again planted last year when we got nothing from them, are now bearing fruit.  It is a rush to pick them before the birds get them, so we are trying to net them. When we finally get out large fruit cage net up it will save all the fruit hopefully, until then we are grateful for what we can pick.

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