The Kitchen Garden Harvest & An Old Holly Tree

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:

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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:

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And not forgetting the courgettes that are coming thick and fast:

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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:

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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:

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I have noticed a few things in my new kitchen garden will soon be ready:

My french beans and runnerbeans are growing well…

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My red and white cabbages are starting to bulb up in the centre:

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And in row of beetroot there are some I will be picking and cooking in the next few days:

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And my outdoor tomatoes just need some good sunny days to ripen:

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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:

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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.

Homegrown potatoes, kale and parsley cooked within 45 minutes of picking

Homegrown potatoes, kale and parsley cooked within 45 minutes of picking

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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.

An old photo of the holly tree on the right hand side

An old photo of the holly tree on the right hand side

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!

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This will free up another growing area for me, though I’m not sure yet if it will be ornamental or not.

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In the home this week:

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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:

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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:

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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!

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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:

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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:

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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.

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I will sand down and re-varnish / paint the boards another time, but until then they look loads better than the old carpet.

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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:

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Thank you for reading my blog today.  I will be back next Friday as usual.

I hope you have a lovely weekend!

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25 thoughts on “The Kitchen Garden Harvest & An Old Holly Tree

  1. I feel like ripping our living room carpet up now!! It was a good quality 100% wool one which was already down when we moved in 25 years ago!! Although it’s still intact, the swirly pattern gets on my wick!! It’s been worth it’s weight in gold though – never shows any dirt or stains and still looks relatively new, even after 3 kids growing up with it and various pets.

    • Lol Mrs LH, I reckon our carpet must have been about that old too, if not more. I think it had been in another room first as it didn’t reach the edges of the room and we had no gripper rods….I think it had been good quality when it was first brought, but it was so old it it had started to disintergrate and leave the massive holes

  2. Brilliant post as usual – we’ve had a great crop of potatoes this year with no slug damage. Isn’t that lucky! (We cut down our holly tree – you have nothing to worry about. 🙂 )
    xx

    • Lol Mum, however it’s fascinating that old farmers didn’t cut holly down because they said it would cause bad luck to their crops. This is the reason why you can often see holly in hedgerows.

  3. The floor boards look good, though as another person has said, might be chilly in the colder months.
    Judy obviously approves!
    Best wishes,
    Angela (Devon)

  4. Hahahaa!!
    I wasn’t reading the last part of your blog very carefully, and I thought I read that you’d put dish liquid in your rolls!! So I went back and read it again 😶
    I want to go and bask in your garden! I have sone how managed to catch a cold I top of my cold, and feel like utter garbage, and the thought of laying on a chair with you in your back yard with some smoko sounds SO nice!
    We have mostly floor boards in our house, and in winter (now-ish) we have a lot of rugs down on the ground, but we still wear slippers and jumpers and what not!

    • I hope you feel better soon Mrs Yub, you have really been through the mill lately haven’t you and yes you could probably do with a rest in some nice sunshine (though we haven’t had much of this lately here lol)

  5. Your floral arrangement is stunning! The bay leaves have such a deep green and make a beautiful contrast to the light flowers. Lovely. As for the rest, I envy you your crop; AND of course your discipline. I am still plodding along in my garden. 🙂

    • Gardening is all about enjoying what you do….if it becomes a chore it isn’t enjoyable so you must do what is right for you. As you know I absolutely love growing and I find it a release for all my stresses as when I am out there I concentrate on nothing else.

      Thank you for saying my floral arrangement was stunning, I thought I would give it a go and I was really pleased with the results.

  6. You have done so well and got so much produce from a small space, it really is a huge inspiration for us all. It is so very cold here and all the vegs have stopped growing, really hope for some sun soon. The rolls look delicious, i make bread but havent made rolls for years, i shall be making some for the freezer this weekend, great idea. Your victoria sponge does look delicious, off limits to me as trying to loose some weight at the moment, so i quickily skipped that bit lol. The flower arrangement you made looked so professional what a wonderful idea.
    We have just ripped up the carpet in our sons old room, he married a year ago and now feel ready to decorate and make the room into a study, the carpet had been down 27 years so i know about the dust! Do have a great week.
    Sue

    • Yes there was lots of dust lol. Hope your rolls work well….I think I prefer the rolls to the bread I make. I have been trying really hard to eat wholemeal cobs as they are healthier (I still make white for my family as they prefer them)….unforfunately my taste just doesnt want to change and I still prefer white instead, but I’ll keep at it.

    • Thanks Sue, though I do so miss all the mountains of allotment produce I used to get. We have already eaten all my peas that I grew this year and the freezer is still half empty….I suppose it will take me time to get used to it.

    • It really is easy to make Sara using the ‘chuck it all in’ method. The recipe is on the recipe index and it makes a really light sponge. I always get lots of compliments when people eat it and yet it really doesn’t take more than a few minutes to make lol

  7. Looks like your garden is ticking along nicely. I am impressed with your curly kale. And I’m glad you can see the benefit of being able to just step outside for your next meal 🙂

    • Yes there are lots of benefits but I have to be honest and say I really do still miss my allotment and all the produce that came with it…..but I can honestly say I don’t miss all the hard work that came with it lol

  8. That is such a good motto on the sign! I am so glad to find someone else who can’t resist raw Kohl rabi! It is lovely on its own but even better dipped in houmous. I used to get them in my veg box or occasionally from one of the market stalls in town, but I grew my first ones this year and they were delicious 🙂

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