This week has been wet and miserable outside with a distinct lack of sun, dispite it being July! Never the less the garden is still growing well, though my butternut squash, outdoor cucmbers and greenhouse melons really need the weather to be a bit hotter as they are sitting sulking at the moment and not growing at all.
I have started to reap the benefits of my small kitchen garden and for a small amount of work I am harvesting some lovely vegetables and there are some lovely flowers for the bees and beneficial insects:
This week in my new kitchen garden:
My potatoes are beautiful this year with hardly a slug hole in sight at the moment (though this wet weather may change that). These potatoes are a variety called ‘Marfona’ which are a second early and they are absolutely delicious and have grown to a good size:
The lettuces are continuing to feed us well, together with the first spring onions I sowed in modules back in March. My greenhouse cucumber plant has produced its first two cucumbers as well, though the remaining fruits are a long way from being ready yet.
Also we are now eating tomatoes from the one greenhouse plant that I brought from the nursery….(the other plants I grew from seed). I bought this one plant in the hope I could spread out my harvest as I was a bit behind sowing my greenhouse tomatoes, so the plan was this plant would give me fruit until my others were ready….and the plan seems to be working.
I have picked my first onions this week and they were also really good and tasty. There was no sign of the allium leaf miner because I was very careful to cover them in environmesh. You can read about the damage the allium leaf miner does here.
I also had my first cut of curly kale. It has grown really quickly since I sowed it on 22nd April and it looked too tasty to leave, so we had it for dinner last night:
I also picked some parsley from my garden this week and I made a lovely parsley sauce to go with some fish that I bought:
And not forgetting the courgettes that are coming thick and fast:
And I picked some fruit this week too. There isn’t loads of it as my fruit bushes are young yet, but it’s not bad for a first year. I picked a few more gooseberries, some black currants and white currants and a few blueberries:
I always think that the currants look like ‘jewels’ when you first pick them.
One thing my family were happy about this week, was I picked my first kohl rabi of the year. I think it is a strange looking vegetable but it tastes lovely. You can cook it like a turnip, or grate it raw into a salad, but I just chop the skin off and serve it raw as a snack with a dollap of salad cream and it dissappears in seconds in the ‘Thrift’ house:
I have noticed a few things in my new kitchen garden will soon be ready:
My french beans and runnerbeans are growing well…
My red and white cabbages are starting to bulb up in the centre:
And in row of beetroot there are some I will be picking and cooking in the next few days:
And my outdoor tomatoes just need some good sunny days to ripen:
I also noticed that my swedes are growing nicely too, though these will be a while yet until they are ready. I sowed these in newspaper pots on the 23rd April and then transplanted them when they were a decent size. I always think this protects them from the slugs and snails as they are big enough to cope with a bit of damage when I plant them out:
So amazingly the kitchen garden is doing really well in it’s first year.
I absolutely love the ability to pick something and cook it / eat it straight away. This is one luxury I didn’t have with my allotment and I can honestly say I didn’t realise how lovely freshly picked lettuces tasted when you eat them immeadiately after picking them.
I have got to be honest I haven’t done a thing in my new kitchen garden this week, other than water my pots and harvest my fruit and vegetables…..I suppose this is the beauty of having a ‘small’ kitchen garden rather than an allotment, though I’m not sure if this is a positive or a negative thing for me as I still really miss my allotment plots.
However, this has given me some time to start to think about the rest of my garden that I haven’t yet planned. This is the area that Judy (our dog) runs around in and we sit in.
Unfortunately there was an old holly tree next to the fence that really had seen better days. It only has a few red berries on each year for the birds to enjoy and what few leaves it has, it sheds daily during the summer on the ground below…….so we decided it was time to chop it down.
We considered paying someone to chop the tree down, but it wasn’t really that big so we did it ourself by removing as many branches as possible first…..then while Mr thift sawed, I pulled the top of the tree in the direction we wanted it to fall, using our extendable dog lead as we didn’t have any rope!….yes you did read this right and yes ‘health and safety’ went out of the window for this job.
The top section cam down well and then Mr Thrift sawed the bottom two sections off easily.
I have since read that old folk law tells you never to cut a holly tree down as it brings bad luck…I am not superstitious but if we do have any bad luck from now on, at least we have something to blame it on!
This will free up another growing area for me, though I’m not sure yet if it will be ornamental or not.
In the home this week:
This week it is a year since my father-in-law passed away and I decided to make a flower arrangement for his grave side. I bought some yellow and white flowers to use as these are the colours he loved. I used bay from my garden which reminds us of the wonderful greek kababs he used to cook us and I used roses to make a cross as they were his favourite flowers and the cross symbolised the church that he loved so dearly. I hope he looks down and likes the arrangement and knows we still miss him so much:
This week I decided to make a victoria sandwich (using my ‘chuck-it-all in method) as I have been fancying one all week and it was lovely. I also made my usual bread rolls (white and brown) for the week and froze them so they are fresh each day for lunch and then I made some more dishwasher liquid out of soap nuts, as I had run out:
My daughter has been cooking again this week (I love it when she cooks). She used some of the homegrown vegetables to make a risotto and served it with a homegrown salad and some ‘whoopsied’ garlic bread…..a very tasty, frugal meal!
My daughter and her friend also made some dolly mixtures at home this week using ready made coloured icing. I thought they look brilliant!
They stuck the colours together by just wetting the surface:
They put them in a bag made of cellophane and tied them with a ribbon and they looked great….they would make a really good gift:
Finally this week I was about to hoover our bedroom carpet when I decided there wasn’t enough carpet left to hoover! This carpet was left in the house when we first moved here and it wasn’t up to much then……it now had more holes in it than actual carpet. I decided it was rediculous to keep it any longer, (especially as we kept falling over the edges where the holes were), but I knew we couldn’t afford a new carpet in this room yet.
I pulled some of the carpet up and found some lovely floorboards underneath. There were no gripper rods either to hold the carpet down. So being impulsive as I am, I shouted Mr Thrift and together we pulled up the whole carpet and underlay and took it down to the tip. There was dust everywhere as the underlay and carpet had disintegrated in lots of places and it took me ages to hoover it all up.
Unfortunately I didn’t take a photo of the old, horrible carpet with the massive holes, but I did take a photo of the floor boards that we uncovered and they look great.
I will sand down and re-varnish / paint the boards another time, but until then they look loads better than the old carpet.
Finally this week, Wilkinsons had a sale with lots of gardening equipment and seeds. I bought some seeds that I knew I needed for next year and I also treated myself to a sign for my garden that was reduced to £1.75. I placed it on our outhouse door that sits directly outside my kitchen window, so I can read it everyday as it sums up ‘my world’ perfectly:
Thank you for reading my blog today. I will be back next Friday as usual.
I hope you have a lovely weekend!