Just Plodding Along

Monday, December 17, 2007


I've had these plants for a week now, with no let up of pouring rain or extreme temperatures until today, and even then I had to wait for evening to come before planting them, as it was over 30C today!

I planted two courgettes and a pumpkin plant along the north-east fenceline. I put two tomatoes in against the north-west fence next to a stake that I heavily composted around. They all look lovely and healthy too, I'm hoping they survive the hot weather that's coming.

My other plants are doing okay, with one tomato plant already bearing half a dozen fruit on it.
The kids had fun picking some red currants and making 'juice' with them. They squished the fruit in their hands and mixed the juice with some raro from the fridge and loved it. I'm sure they had fun doing it.

I still have some broad beans on the plant to gather, and also have some beans to plant out. I'll make them grow up something though, and may end up putting them up against the south fence, it gets a lot of sun.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007


So on Sunday the kids and I went to a hardware shop to look at prices of wood and equipment for building a platform as a treehouse for Son. Oh, Daughter will be playing in it too. I picked up some Great Lakes Lettuce while I was there, just small plants, guaranteed to have at least 12 plants. Well, I planted them on Monday and there were 26 plants. Woot! Some of those won't make it as Monday turned out to be very hot in the afternoon, and a few of the plants looked quite sad by nightfall. Good to get another thing done in the garden. I'm waiting for the rain to ease off so I can dig at the compost and spread it around where I want to plant stuff. It was 30C yesterday, so of course I didn't do it then!
The next thing will be to pick all the broad beans and dig their nitrogen rich roots in so the ground will be ready for the next crop. Still not sure what I'll put there over summer. May even put some tomato plants or try my luck at making a bean teepee!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Broad BeansI harvested 10.8 pounds of broad beans on the 4th December. Wow! I made some into my lunch of beans and bacon. I have already given some to a neighbour, and some to SIL#1. Yesterday I blanched and froze 2 pounds of shelled beans.

I have srpouted some pumpkin seeds from a delicious pumpkin I grew last year - well one of many actually. So I've put three of the sprouts into small pots, then I'll put them in the garden when I have cleared some space out the back yard. Today I'm in the garden pulling weeds out of the front gardens. I have already cleared next to the broad beans where the brocolli and brussel sprouts had been earlier on in the year. I want to get a line of peas sown before it gets too close to Christmas. Hopefully after Christmas we'll have some sweet peas to eat straight from the plant. I'm looking to grow Greenfeast peas again, as they have given me a good amount of pods on each plant. These are the huge broad bean plants on the left, and the cleared garden on the right.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Making Jam

So Dad gave me some rhubarb last week, and instead of letting it go to waste I made it into a rhubarb and ginger jam. Equal amounts of sugar and rhubarb boiled for 15 minutes with some ginger root bruised and tied in muslin. Then remove the root and add 50g of chopped crystallised ginger, and boil for a further 5 minutes. Then you wait for the jam to reach setting point. This was about 3 minutes later for me, but it varies on different ovens and different weather conditions. It's a cooler day here. This made only three jars, though the two larger jars are quite large! I had about 1.1kgs of chopped rhubarb for this batch. The total weight of the jam (in the jars) is 2.5 kgs, with the largest jar measuring 1.2kgs all by itself.
This jam is lovely and sweet, though I can't distinguish the rhubarb taste from the ginger, so when I give one of the jars to my SisInLaw#1 she'll be able to taste it for herself.
I still have plums from last year to make into jams or pies in the freezer, so I will get a batch of plum jam done too over the next few days, or once they have thawed.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Tomato Planting Time

Got the tomatoes in the ground finally. I've got one Supertom straight from Athol McCully's Garden Center, along with a Pinnacle which is a little smaller. Then I've planted two of the baby ones, which are about 4 inches high, they are either Beefsteak, Plum or Sweet 100. I've also got about another six or so inside waiting to see whether the first 'baby' plants survive. I have grown the baby ones from seed saved from delicious tomatoes I ate last year, so it'll be interesting to see if they even grow fruit. I've put plenty of compost in under the tomatoes, and then some on top near the base with some rotted lawn clippings on top to try to hold the moisture in as where the plants are gets quite dry. I'm hoping the warm bricks on the house will help them grow well.