This week nature has produced some beautiful sites. It started with the most beautiful red morning sky last weekend:
And then a covering of snow that made everything look very pretty:
I’m very pleased to say that the snow disappeared as quickly as it came and this week and I managed to get into my garden to start my winter ‘clean up’ and start my preparation for the new growing season ahead.
I started by emptying the compost bags I had in my greenhouse as I want to clean my greenhouse in the coming week. Nothing really grew very well in these bags, but I think this was due to my watering system overwatering the compost and the dreadful, dull weather we had last year.
I spread the compost over two of my beds to help improve the condition of the soil:
I started to put manure around my rhubarb too, but unfortunately I ran out of it so I need to but some more. However I did manage to surround one of my rhubarb plants:
I then cut down my old runnerbeans, leaving the roots in the ground as the nodules add nitrogen to the soil, which will be good for my brassica’s which will follow them:
Next I cut the tops off my jerusalem artichokes which I grew in a large bottomless pot to contain the roots. I will dig up them next week to see if I have managed to get a crop:
So this area now looks better, though I do need to tidy my utility area behind:
I also turned my attention to my leeks which have been very disappointing:
As you can see from the photo above they have been targeted by the allium leaf miner and some of my leeks have started to rot. I have written about the allium leaf miner here, it is a fairly new pest in this country and only appeared in Britain in 2002.
The allium leaf miner only ever affected my onions at the allotment which lulled me into a false sense of security, so I didn’t bother covering my leeks with environmesh…..but unfortunately they were were hit hard this year, so I will have to make sure I cover ALL of my alliums from now on.
I took the photo above of the small brown pupae that I found in some of them to show you. They are approximately 3-4 mm long, embedded into the stem.The pupae will overwinter in the plant or in the soil. In the spring, the adults will emerge from the pupae and lay eggs and the first generation of larvae will then feed in April and May. The second generation is likely to feed in mid-September.
But I am pleased to say, some of my leeks were ok, so I did get a amall crop:
This week I also tidied a bed that I had covered with environmesh in the Autumn, to give a bit of protection for my summer lettuces. The summer lettuces had been picked a long time ago and I thought there was nothing underneath, but to my surprise I found a row of winter radishes that I had sowed in late summer and completely forgotten about:
They have grown lovely and so I picked one straight away and later grated it into the salad we had for tea:
I had a quick weed around them and then put a cloche over them to give a bit of protection:
I also picked some winter purslane (sometimes know as miners lettuce) that I had been growing in a pot in my greenhouse and also added it to our salad:
I love being able to pick winter crops to add to salads and I am very pleased that I have acheived this in my new kitchen garden, though I want to do a lot better for next winter.
I also sowed my first seeds this year, which I always find exciting:
I planted overwintering broadbean (Aquadulce), which over the years I have found they grow best in pots planted this month and then transplanted in the spring. I also sowed leeks and the remaining garlic cloves that I had left over and these wil sit happlily in my cold greenhouse for the moment. I also sowed my peppers, but these will be kept inside a propagator in the warmth of my house for the time being.
This Week In The Home:
I sat and finally sorted my seed tin as it was in a bit of a mess. I listed down exactly what seeds I have and I worked out exactly what I want to grow this year in my garden.
I now have a plan of exactly when I need to sow my seeds and what I still need to buy.
I am hoping to grow even more this year in my new improved small kitchen garden.
I then caught up with a few things for the freezer…..each are small things that help me a lot to save time:
My daughter wanted some chocolate chip cookies, so I made them and then froze them so that I can take just a couple out of the freeze each day, so she doesn’t eat them all at once:
I sliced some lemons up and froze them on a plate, ready to put in a freezer pot when frozen. This way we have a ready supply of lemon slices to add to water when we need a drink. As the lemons are frozen they also cool your water down without having to use icecubes:
I then made a double batch of white sauce. I froze one of the sauces in a freezer bag after it had cooled down. Next time I need a white sauce I will just defrost it and reheat it in the microwave. This way it is easy to use it as it is, or just add parsley for a parsley sauce or cheese for a cheese sauce.
I made and froze leek and potato soup in portions. Again I can just defrost a portion and then reheat it in the microwave for my lunch:
I made the leek and potato soup using the leeks that I dug up this week:
A Leek and Potato Soup Recipe:
800g potatoes peeled and chopped small
800g Leeks chopped
1700 ml vegetable stock
800mls hot milk
Add the potatoes, leeks and stock to a large pan:
Bring to the boil and then simmer, covered for approximately 30 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
Heat your milk while you use a hand mixer to blend the vegetables to make them smooth and then add the hot milk to the pan. Bring the soup back to the boil and continue to cook for 5 minutes, stirring all the time:
Serve and enjoy adding salt and pepper to taste!
Thank you for reading my blog today. I will be back next Friday as usual.
Have a great week!