This blog is mainly a rambling kind of diary of the transition from smallholderwannabe to smallholder.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Disaster strikes

I had great plans for doing lots of things with homegrown tomatoes this year. I bought ten plants, because they were on offer and were advertised by Thompson & Morgan as being really prolific. I was given lots of plants and we also planted the first shoots to grow between the stem and the leaves and they all took and grew well.  All in all, I have 37 tomato plants. I thought it better to have them at the house rather than the allotment because it is easier to keep on top of the watering and feeding. It looks like a tomato jungle in my garden.

Or it did. I've got blight and had to pick the fruit there was and we'll have to burn the plants.

Total crop: 15.6 ozs cherry tomatoes from 37 plants. Gutted!

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Saturday, September 03, 2016

Autumn is on its way

With the weather today being cold, wet and windy it feels like we have suddenly turned a corner and left summer behind. I was hoping that summer would bow out gracefully and slowly. Hopefully we shall have a bit of warm sun still to come.

We went to a bbq on bank holiday Monday and a group of us went for a walk. The person whose house it was and therefore knows the area, suggested the walk.  We went along and took our three grandchildren who have all had birthdays in August and who are now 2, 4 and 7. Seven and a half miles later, we struggled back to the house.  The seven year old coped fine and obviously could have gone further. The four year old managed well for the first five miles and then had to be carried. The two year old managed a couple of miles and had to be carried the rest of the way. My arthriticky knee managed at first but by the five mile point, was protesting loudly and we still had a third of the way to go.  Not fun!

Naturally, as always, I had a plastic bag in my pocket to fill with any goodies for my rabbit as we were walking across fields and public rights of way. I did find various things for the rabbit but I also found some crab apples, elderberries and a few damsons.  I added a couple of windfall apples to this as well as a handful of blackberries and made five small pots of hedgerow jelly to add to my store.  It is a lot of work for such a small return but it has a fabulous flavour. It will be great with meat but will be just as good on my breakfast toast : )

I have more blackberries to pick and will make some more blackberry and apple jam. I'd like to make a little bit of chutney and mayber a pickle or two. My husband likes Branston and not much else but I love pickles and chutneys.  I have tried hard to broaden his mind but it remains firmly set on Branston and pickled onions. The only time I have managed to get him to try anything else (with the verdict of "It's alright but I prefer Branston") was a tomato and apple chutney made with tinned tomatoes. Windfall apples are relatively easy to come by if you know anybody with an apple tree. Tinned tomatoes are currently four for £1 at Asda so it is an inexpensive chutney to make. It also uses just ordinary vinegar, not spiced, and white sugar.

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