It’s the last day of 2019 …. didn’t that pass quickly? I’m sure there are things on my “to do” list from February that I’m still meaning to get round to!
October is such a busy time in my garden – harvesting, clearing, sowing, planting and getting everything ready for the winter months. Gardening plans have been hindered however by so much rain!
Now is the ideal time to sow many different kinds of vegetables and herbs, for cropping through the winter and into next spring, and beyond!
Hasn’t the month passed quickly? I can hardly believe that it is August on Thursday. Today I’ve been enjoying more of an indoor kind of day, catching up with things at my desk and general chores, because it has – finally, oh joy! – been raining. I love sunshine and warmth, but it has been very dry for my garden and the polytunnel has become so hot.
Over wintered and some spring sown spinach is bolting in the garden – it’s the time of year for spinach to flower – so we have an abundance of it to use. Yesterday I made two quite different dishes featuring spinach for the lunch for our compost course at Homeacres: rich chocolatey spinach brownies and a spinach pate, with a rich depth of flavours.
May: such a magical month in the garden. The growth is incredible and each day the garden reveals new delights! When the first strawberries ripen we know summer is on its way.
Kale, a nutrient dense vegetable high in vitamins, is well known for its many health benefits. Easy to grow and winter hardy in the UK, it’s a fantastic plant for the hungry home gardener. Kale’s delicious leaves make a tasty addition to all kinds of meals cooked and raw, but did you know that you can also eat other parts of this cruciferous vegetable and that growing it benefits wildlife too?!
The Queen visited “my” work kitchen garden yesterday, so I spent time on Wednesday making sure it was all weeded and spruced up. Ok, so perhaps the purpose of her visit to Bruton wasn’t to gaze upon my herbs and veggies but it’s not every day that one of the most famous people in the world pops down my high street!
It was thirsty work, so I enjoyed a refreshing cup of tea sitting in the sunshine on the wide timbers of the raised beds.
The Queen was in Bruton to open a new music building at The Kings School, a public (ie: private and very expensive for my international readers) and celebrate 500 years since the school received its Royal Charter. HRH also took time to visit Hauser and Wirth Somerset – where I run the kitchen garden for Roth Bar and Grill – and local race horse owner, Paul Nicholls’ stables.
New allotment plans, magazine articles, writing a new book and other plans for 2019.
It has been a busy time since my last blog post and how the garden has changed! The weather has been typically British, from unseasonably warm to icy cold (for Somerset) and back again. Mornings are misty, deciduous trees almost entirely without leaves now and anything frost tender has died.
The polytunnel has frozen a few times now, I love the patterns on the frozen polythene, although it is still reaching 30˚C in there some days. I have electronic thermometers in the greenhouse and polytunnel and it’s so interesting to see the extremes of temperatures undercover, compared with outside in the garden.
In my garden a bright jungle of colourful nasturtiums are rejoicing in the surprisingly warm sunshine-y October weather. After a summer of taking their prolific spiciness for granted, I’m keen to preserve what I can before the weather turns colder….
This week began with the Autumn Equinox, the festival of Mabon, which starts on September 21st
As summer mellows into autumn, the allotment and garden is full of ripening vegetables and fruit.
The best laid plans do not always come to fruition! Gardening is a great leveller. Whether you are growing on an allotment, in a window box or own a huge private estate, nature always has the upper hand – and that is exactly as it should be.
Like much of the country, Bruton has been very hot and dry for weeks and weeks. Frustratingly all of the recent rains have missed my small town.
The hedgerows are filled with creamy elderflowers. It’s time to forage! Choose elderflower heads that are in full blossom and at their most fragrant to make delicious drinks, skin care and preserves.
I’ve been busy in the kitchen making elderflower champagne, liqueur, vinegar, sugar, oil and dried elderflowers too. Here are the recipes.
Every year I mulch my no dig allotment with an inch or two of composted manure or homemade compost, but this year I am trying something different!
March has felt much colder, wetter and darker than usual. Occasional bursts of golden sunshine and hints of the warmth that will (surely it must?!) be here soon have brightened an otherwise most peculiar month.
Usually the end of February and early March heralds a dramatic increase of activity in the greenhouse – but the unusually cold weather means last week was more about snowing than sowing!
Happy New Year! I haven’t blogged for a while because Charles and I have been away. Before dawn on Christmas day we were at Heathrow airport and spent the day flying across Africa, to Cape Town. See how quiet the airport is at 4 in the morning!