Last Post 999 days 5 hours ago
27 August 2010 02:11:17
Bolivian Hairy Chili
This is our first year to grow this variety, the plants are only about 2ft tall but about 4ft wide! at the moment!!!! with these lovely chillies that are about the size of a small lime!! all still green but ripen to a lovely bright red! will be saving seed from these if anybody is interested???? this is a rare chilli that will come true from seed! and is a good choice for over-wintering!
25 August 2010 18:13:23
First batch of cookers!
Picked the first of the cookers this morning and brought them home at lunch time, came home this evening and as soon as i opened the front door the smell of fresh apple pie hit me!! Maggie had another busy day in the Kitchen!!
24 August 2010 16:00:48
Really surprised at this plant! it was only bought about 12 months ago (Aldi) it is only about 12" tall and it is only planted in a 1.5ltr pot!! but it now has about a half dozen figs on it!!!!! is this normal for such a young/small plant?
24 August 2010 15:19:33
Ornithogalum saundersiae (for Jacinta)
This bulbous plant is deciduous and dormant in winter. It forms an erect rosette of dark green, shiny, sword-shaped leaves of up to 50cm long in spring. Flat-topped, many-flowered inflorescence's of up to 1.5 m tall are produced in late summer (Aug to Oct). The star-shaped flowers are ivory or white with a pronounced black ovary in the centre, the bulbs multiply rapidly to form dense stands, it can survive frost in winter as long as the winters are dry so to be on the safe side if you have it planted in the flower boarder i would lift and replant again the following May/June.............
24 August 2010 12:52:53
This mornings pickings
The weather for this afternoon is to be unsettled! plenty of showers!! picked a few more lbs of tomatoes and courgettes this morning so i think the afternoon will be spent in the kitchen with ketchup and soups on the agenda!
23 August 2010 14:01:30
Results for Indeterminate tomatoes
Have finally finished compiling the notes for the above, while these toms will keep producing fruits till the first frosts i feel that i have enough info to give an over all result! so for us and our friends that helped taste test this years toms! the top 5 for flavor are as follows, with out doubt the best tom for flavor was Black Krim, really top class, Black Russian, another top class sweet and smokey flavored tom, Orange Giant, lovely sweet and juicy tom with a great old style tomato flavor, this one was without doubt the best cropper producing dozens of 12oz + toms per plant, didn't know much about this tom when we started sowing seeds this year, we got the seeds from Estonia and had to get Jurga to translate the packet for us!! really big plant, we stopped it at 7ft but great performance and the best all rounder! Cherokee purple, another great flavored tom, really juicy with a nice amount of sweetness, Black from Tula, rich and creamy flavor! not a big cropper for us, but made up for it with the taste!! they would be our top 5 but others worth a mention are, Pink Giant, another big cropper, lovely juicy toms with a real old style tomato flavor, another good all rounder, Boxcar Willie, another meaty old style tomato with great flavor, Brandy wine, great sweet and juicy flavored tom, Amish Paste, great flavor, good cropper and another good all rounder, well this is the result of 6 months of notes on all the 22 different type of indeterminate tomatoes we have grown this year! its been hard going at times but really rewarding with all the info we have gathered and the amazing flavors we have encountered! hope this will be of help to you when you sit down to pick your own varieties for next year..............
22 August 2010 13:39:43
This is Ornithogalum "Saundersiae" we are lucky to have 3 of these in flower at the moment! tall upright stems (100cm) with these lovely flower heads, they will flower from August through till October, lovely late summer early autumn colour for the garden........
16 August 2010 19:45:01
Courgette and Dill soup
Receipe as follows
1 Onion, peeled and Chopped
6 Courgettes sliced
2 Potatoes peeled and diced
1litre/1.3/4 pints water or light stock
salt and freshly gorund black pepper
2 tbsp chopped dill
Melt butter and sweat the onion until soft, add potatoes and soften, then add courgettes and season add stock/water bring to boiling and cook rapidly until potatoes are tender. Liquidise, add dill and server either chilled or with small amount of creme fraiche. This soup freezes well too. If you freeze just heat soup dont boil it.
Hope you enjoy
16 August 2010 18:44:36
RTR THE EARLY DAYS!!!!!!!!!
Got a good bit of work done today, cleaned up the greenhouses, cut back some of the toms, took out the last of the determinants (so much more room!) and of course picked more tomatoes! checked the onions that are drying out, found about a half dozen that were a bit on the soft side so took these out and will use them up tonight, picked the first of the butter-nut squash, think Maggie has a plan to make soup with those, started to sort out pots that were used this year, want to get them washed and put away ready for next year but the rain has put an end to that, called up to Jacinta today to pick up some compost for potting on the Echium plants we have grown from seed, had also promised to give Jacinta some of the courgette and dill soup Maggie had made (hope you like it!!!) had a great chat as always and Jacinta kindly gave me 2 bags for the compost bin!!! i can only assume that Jacinta's is full! (couldn't resist that Jacinta x) rain might ease off and we might get an hour in the garden!! will post later............
16 August 2010 00:51:54
Maggie's trip to the Cooley mountains
Maggie has for years had a big interest in Hill walking and tries to get away at least once a month for a days walking, On Sunday she took off to the Cooley mountains for the day with the walking club and surprisingly took the camera and took some lovely shots! have put up a small album with a few shots, i think they look great!
16 August 2010 00:01:18
Hi Jacinta, this is the info i received with those seeds, Pods can be eaten raw or cooked. They are excellent as a snack or added to salads. They may be pickled in vinegar, or lightly stir-fried. In India they are cooked in ghee and used in curries. The pods are most spicy when raw as they lose pungency with cooking. Pods are best when freshly picked, but may be kept chilled for a month or so.
15 August 2010 22:30:02
Spent the day pottering around the garden, got a bit of weeding done and potted on a few plants and watered all! picked another 14lb of tomatoes which has brought the total picked this year to 149lb, and there are still plenty more to be picked!! we now have 2 chest freezers and the freezer on the fridge full with soups, tomato paste, beans and peas! we had 4 80ft drills of spuds on the allotment, we have picked 1 and a 1/2 drills been eating them for the last 2 months, given plenty away and still have about 6 stone stored under the stairs! we have 60 garlic bulbs drying at the moment along with the 400+ onion bulbs! the chili crop is coming along nicely as are the Jerusalem artichokes, we are still picking beetroot, radishes, courgettes, cucumbers and squash, the winter cabbage, Brussels sprouts, carrots and leeks are all doing well, and we hope to be picking the apple harvest shortly, and we are in the same boat as Jacinta regarding the rat-tail radish harvest! all in all its been a very productive year so far, hope to look over the notes for the indeterminate tomatoes tonight and post the results tomorrow!
15 August 2010 13:59:52
Another beautiful Day
Not long out of the bed! had breakfast and read the paper! off for a few days now, not back in work till Wednesday! need the time to get stuck into the allotment and the gardens, took a walk through the old orchard yesterday and it wont be long before we will be picking the cooking apples! allotment needs a lot of weeding! will take a day to bring that back into shape, will spend today pottering in our own gardens, tidy up the beds and pick some more tomatoes! will be on my own today as Maggie's gone hill walking for the day and wont be back till late tonight, anyway best get out and enjoy the weather, will post later, enjoy your day folks.................
13 August 2010 02:27:47
I picked the last of the determinate type toms today and disposed of the spent plants on the compost heap! there were still a good few green toms on some of the plants but these were picked and will be ripened indoors, well i spent about 2 hours this evening compiling my notes that i used grading the different varieties according to taste, crop, amount of uses and disease resistance, there were at least 3 different tastings over the last 6 weeks, and not just with us but various family and friends were sat down and force feed different types of toms to get as broad a range of opinions on taste as possible, and the most popular tasting determinate tom we had grown this year was a yellow tom called Mountain Gold, it was tasted by 10 different people and each were asked to score it out of 10, it scored 79 out of 100 which was an impressive score, next was a red tom called Max which scored 75 out of 100, but was a much heaver cropper than Mountain Gold, 3rd spot went to Roma, a lovely Italian red which scored 72 out of 100 and was also a heavy cropper, 4th spot goes to another orange/yellow tom called Golden Jubilee which scored 69 out of 100 and 5th spot was shared between 2 reds, Siberian and Snow Queen with both scoring 67 out of 100, we have grown 15 different varieties of determinate toms this year and the first to set fruit and indeed to be picked was a yellow variety called Dulcia which also produced a heavy crop but was a bit on the bland side, heaviest crop was obtained from Max, a really good all round variety closely followed by Roma, of all the top 5 varieties Golden Jubilee produced the smallest crop, but it was only from 1 plant but its flavor was good and it deserved to be up there, another that deserves a mention and will get another chance is Nebraska Wedding, the 2 plants we had grown got set back early on and i don't think they really recovered! a friend of ours grew 2 plants and was delighted with the flavor/crop etc and has already penciled it on to his list for next year! for me out of our top 5 the top 3 will all be grown again next year and i would have no problem recommending them to anybody who would be interested in growing determinate tomatoes, great croppers and most importantly for determinants, great flavor!
12 August 2010 22:43:15
I meant to put up this photo a while ago, its a photo of the flesh of a Orange giant tomato, lovely flavor and adds great colour to salads.......
12 August 2010 21:45:41
Courgette and Dill Soup
This is the same soup simmered down! and the brown bread is just out of the oven............
12 August 2010 21:06:15
Courgette and Dill Soup
This is a photo of one of the batches of courgette and dill soup!
12 August 2010 20:16:07
Busy in the Kitchen!
All afternoon we have been busy in the kitchen, first up we made tomato ketchup, 12 jars! and then onto the soup, courgette and dill! 16 servings! we also had another tomato tasting, we are now finished with the determinate types and i will put up a post later with the results! i am just taking a quick break as Maggie had to go out and get more containers for the freezer! and when we finish this batch we will be looking for another freezer as the two we have will be full!! we now have a huge supply of soups and tomato paste for the winter months! better get back in the kitchen and finish off the production line, sit back and open a nice bottle of wine................
10 August 2010 22:20:56
Homemade Tomato Ketchup
Hi All, here is my recipe for homemade ketchup for all those abundant tomatoes;-
1 large red onion, 1/2 Fennel Bulb and 1 stick celery, peel, trim and roughly chop.
Thumb-size piece of fresh ginger and 2 cloves peeled and roughly chopped.
Half red chilli deseeded and finely chopped
Bunch of basil leaves picked and chop stalks. 1 tsp coriander seeds, 2cloves and tsp freshly ground black pepper.
1kg of mixed tomatoes chopped, 200ml of redwine vinegar and 70g soft brown sugar.
Put all the veg into a large pot with a big splash of olive oil together with ginger garlic, chilli, basil stalks, coriander seeds cloves. season with salt and black pepper. Cook gently over a low heat for 10 to 15 mins until soft stirring every so often.add all the tomatoes and 350ml of cold water. Bring to boil and simmer gently until sauce reduces by half. Add basil leaves the whiz the sauce and push through sieve twice to make it smoth and shiny. Put sauce into aclean pot and add vinegar and sugar. Place the sauce on the heat andsimmer until it reduces and thickens to the consistency of tomato ketchup. Spoon through a funnel into sterilized containers. Lasts up to six months inthe fridge.
Hope this helps anyone who wants to put their surplus toms to use.
10 August 2010 18:42:54
Picked another 16lb of toms today, we will mix all the different varieties and make some more ketchup! will store up to 4 months if kept in the fridge!
10 August 2010 16:05:04
Picked this monster today, weighed in at just over 1lb 3oz a meal in its self!
05 August 2010 16:14:25
Tomatoes picked today!
Put up an album of the collection of toms picked today, i think Rachel thought it was a waste cooking the toms down to a paste but as you can see we just have so many!!!!
04 August 2010 23:56:37
Toms cooking away!
Well on thier way cooking down to a paste!
04 August 2010 23:51:30
Toms in the pot!
Toms ready to go!
04 August 2010 23:30:10
Toms ready for the pot!
We are cooking a few batches of tomatoes down to a paste tonight! here is another batch waiting for the pot!
04 August 2010 22:38:47
Brown Turkey Figs
Had never grown figs before we bought the plant we have now, we bought it last year in Aldi, it was about 8" tall and consisted of 3 leaves, we transplanted it this year into a pot 1 size bigger ( 2ltr pot) and it is now about 12" tall with about a dozen leaves, yesterday i noticed it has about 4 baby figs appearing from the stem! is this plant not a bit young/small for producing figs?
04 August 2010 19:26:09
Onion Harvest 2010
We went to the Allotment and lifted the onion harvest, we lifted over 400 onions, around 120 Red Baron and the rest were Stuttgarter Giant, delighted with the size and the quality, will put up the wire shelves in the small greenhouse this evening and start to dry the crop out! this harvest will see us through till next Spring.......
04 August 2010 02:31:20
The never ending Chili !
Just another update on the never ending chili! this plant was grown from seed sown in Febuary 2009, we decided to try and over-winter the plant, and although all books and info we sourced stated that this type of chili plant would not be suitable for that task it has thrived!! it was originally about 4ft tall but i cut it back to about 12" last October in order to try over-winter the plant, the plan was to reduce the watering and let the plant under go a dormant period, but it wouldn't stop producing chilies! we picked them Christmas day, we picked them again in March, and in April we placed the plant out of the house and into the garden thinking it might slow down production! But No!!!! now the plant is about 2ft tall, bushy! it has about 6 fully ripe 5" chilies and another 23 waiting to turn red! its an amazing plant that has now become part of the family!!!!!!!
03 August 2010 21:31:35
Garden Pearl for Sallysarah
Hello all, this is a photo of the 3 Garden pearl tomato plants we have growing in window boxes on the shed window, we just plant them and leave them to thier own devices! water and feed every 2 weeks, no matter how wet or cold the summers have been over the last few years we always get a bumper crop!
03 August 2010 02:07:43
New Tomato varieties for 2011
Have already started to browse seed collections for new tomato varieties for next year! we have managed to find about 15 or 16 types this year out of the 41 we tried that we are happy with, we still have some varieties to try so i reckon that if we get about 20 varieties that we are happy with that would be great! that 20 will be listed in order of 1 to 20 according to taste, weight of crop, amount of fruit produced, time it took to produce a crop, disease resistance, amount of space taken up and length of cropping season, the top 10 will have seed saved from them and will form the base of our tomato seed bank and most will be grown again next year, 5 types that are very strong contenders for a top 10 place are Black Krim, lldi, Max, Cherokee Purple and Black Cherry, the latter's only failing being the amount of fruit produced hasn't lived up to our expectations! will see how other people fared out with thier plants, have also been searching for different types of heirloom tomatoes to trial for next year, wont do as many as this year but would like to try 6 or 7 new types, have already compiled a list of about 12 types that i will try and find as much info as possible on over the Autumn months before making our choice, the list includes such names as Dr Wyches Yellow, Kellogg's Breakfast, Crnkovic and Monomakh's Hat! no doubt one or two more will appear on the list over the coming months..........
02 August 2010 20:49:24
Another Lilly in Flower
Took this photo this evening of another one of our lilies in flower, Starburst is its name and is probably my favorite of all our lilies!
02 August 2010 16:26:15
Results of Flavor test!
So far this summer we have tried about 20 of our 41 varieties of tomato and have found some amazing flavours as well as some bland ones!! some plants have been producing huge harvests while others are not as plentiful as we thought they might be! a lot of notes have been taken and a full table of results will be posted at the end of the Season, so far flavor wise the ones that have stood out among the determinate types are Max, Polar and Siberian, we still have a few more determinate types to taste so another one or two will be added to make a top 5 list of determinate types! Max has impressed in every aspect and will definitely be on next years list! the top 3 cherry types so far are lldi, Black cherry and Garden pearl (an old favorite of ours for many years) with lldi another that has impressed and will be on next years list! the indeterminate division is going to be really tight with a lot of varieties producing some amazing flavors! it will be a tough job thinning that list down to a top 5!! without doubt the star so far has been Black Krim, one of the tastiest tomatoes either of us has ever tasted! really large fleshy toms with amazing flavor, also impressive have been Brandywine, Boxcar Willie, Cherokee Purple, Black Russian, Black Prince and Pink Giant, we also have a few types left to taste including Green Zebra, Orange Giant and Amish paste (another old favorite) so to finally get this down to a top 5 will difficult but extremely enjoyable!!!