Thursday, 5 September 2013

Feeling a little smug..

We definitely deserve a pat on the back for a good growing season. As we hit Autumn it is finally time to really start to reap the rewards of Diz's diligent watering and my care for the plants grown and feel particularly proud of providing ourselves with all of our own vegetables for the year.
The fruit crop earlier in the year was plenty and produced a number or delicious jams and the spring vegetables mixed with the home grown meat have not only fed us daily but also filled the freezer for the winter.
And now it is the turn of the Autumn cropping. As you will remember lasts years potato crop was a disaster, with nothing to show for all our hard work, even the pigs didn't find anything to dig up while pigavating the ground. This year I am delighted and a little smug.
I didn't plant half as many as last year, but I am delighted to have some, which will take us through the winter. They are our favourite's 'Desiree', a versatile cooking potato and is far better than anything we can buy in the shops in Ireland. Might have to have a baked potato tonight, drooling just thinking about it!

The thirty tomato plants are cropping fantastically and I have already bottled three shopping baskets full. Last year it was October before they even started to turn red so we are fortunate this year. I grew several plants of 'Beefy' tomatoes and most of them are bigger than the palm of my hand! And Diz's favourites are the Cherry tomatoes which he tells me are very sweet and quite delicious. I can't stand the taste of raw tomatoes but will eat them cooked.

Sweetcorn was very late to grow this year (for me), but there will be a few cobs although they will be smaller than previous years and a month later.

We tried something new this year on the recommendation of a friend, Kohlrabi. It's not the most attractive vegetable, but it has an interesting taste. It's a bit like a turnip but milder or the stalk of a cauliflower/broccoli. Can be eaten cooked or raw, it is best eaten about the size of a tennis ball and needs peeling first like a spud. Different and might be worth trying again next year. I'm looking for a few different things to try out next year.

The strawberries are on their second go and taste wonderful.

And as long as I can keep the Turkey's away from them, the Raspberries are fruiting well. The sheep gave them such a hard time at every opportunity, I doubted we would see anything on them. Not bad though, maybe more last year.

And the grape vine has had a bumper year, the grapes have had so much more sun this year so have grown plump and juicy. They are very very nearly ripe, another few days and we can dive in. Not sure what we will do with them all, not enough for wine but too many to eat as bunches. Never had this problem in previous years, will have to get onto my mate Google for inspiration.

The winter vegetables are coming on nicely, Brussels, leeks, parsnips and we should have another crop of cabbage and cauliflower before the end of the year. The sprouting broccoli will be our early spring crop.
A couple of weekends ago we had a spit roast with one of our lambs, which went to slaughter a couple of weeks back and we invited our like minded friends to celebrate the years crops. I'll write more in a different post later to tell you all about it.

I am not daft to think that the hard work is over it will still be a constant battle over the winter trying to keep the harvested crops protected, all depends on what type of winter Mother Nature decides to throw at us, but for now I will continue to feel smug and proud of this years achievements and start planning for the unknown next year.

Bye for now.
Stell n Diz