Category Archives: home grown food

Rhubarb cordial

Rhubarb ~ May 2013

Rhubarb ~ May 2013

I have been playing around with the rhubarb patch in the garden and think I may have finally found away it is palatable; Cordial.

I’ve tried two different recipes, the first one from Colour It Green this one has a very strong rhubarb flavour which I oddly really like.

And the second recipe I based the second batch on was from Life on Pig Row. I did change this one a fair bit but it has more water in it to start with and it does make for a weaker flavour so I think I shall be playing around with the first one a little more. When I first read the second recipe I was sure that I read it had ginger in so a whole hand of ginger went into stew with the rhubarb and I couldn’t find the grater for the orange peel so no orange went in.


Pick of the crop; self-sown potatoes - 17th July 2012

Pick of the crop; self-sown potatoes – 17th July 2012

I harvested all but one of my sacks of potatoes during a thunder storm and down pour on Sunday; they haven’t really done very well this year and I only got a small bucket full from three sacks (no weighting this year as I wasn’t that organised). Still there is enough for a few meals and I might well try planting the sprouting volunteers I have to see what the results of that are.

The potatoes that seem to have done the best have been these self-sown ones which I harvested last month and managed to produce a reasonable harvest even though they were growing in only shallow box shared with some strawberry plants. I’m not sure if they have done better because they are better suited to growing in my garden or because they were in the ground from so early in the year.


As seems to be the trend on gardening and allotment blogs thoughts are starting to turn to next year and plans for it and inparticular mine are turning to garlic.

My great Garlic Project of this year didn’t really got very well; firstly my careful labelling washed off in the rain, even after I went and bought special marker pens and everything, and then I think I harvested it a little to late as a lot of it seems to have pasted the nice big bulbs-with-lots-of-juice-cloves stage and split and formed into tiny little bulbs. This has meant I don’t really know what has grown well, or even if any of it has grown well. Apart from my Elephant Garlic which I couldn’t find a single bulb of so am classing that as a fail and probably won’t bother again for next year at least.

However one of the few things, ok only things, I have planned a head with is a garlic bed for this year which has been manured and rotting down under some black plastic, and a tonne of squash which have stretched themselves out over the top of the next bed, for most of the summer now and I would say is ready, right on time too.

Now the tricky part is; what garlic do I grow? Last year I tried Iberian Wight, Wight Cristo and Early Purple Wight. The first two were chosen after reading up on garlic and what might grow and then store best on my soil, etc. and them the latter was chosen as it seems to be a favourite of shops (and I had a voucher to spend). I could try the same and hope that it does better, or I could try something else.

The other thing I am trying to take into account is price and quantity. I want to grow A LOT of garlic as we use a lot of garlic, 2 – 3 bulbs a week and I would eat more if we had it, and growing garlic seems to cost a small fortune and if it doesn’t do very well then I am still going to buy in a lot on top of buying the growing bulbs themselves.

Whatever I decide I am going to have to make up my mind soon as this month is the month to be planting garlic; anyone have any suggestions for me?

Poppies cakes for a Poppy

Corn poppy getting ready to flower - 11th July 2011

Corn poppy getting ready to flower - 11th July 2011

It isn’t really surprising that given my name and the fact that most of my life is spent with my hands in some kind of dirt that many people give me packets of poppy seeds as gifts and I have quite a little collection. Mostly they just sit in my seed box as I don’t really have a use for them, with a few being sown here and there every so often.

Now I have a poppy plan though; after having a poppy seed and carrot muffin I want to grow and make my own. So out came the seed boxes and I have been through all of the poppy seeds I have, I mostly have lots of smaller headed poppies but there are a few ‘good ones*’ and I am not too late to sow some of them, including this one which actually talks about eating the seed heads in the description.  

Carrots don’t seem to be doing so well this year but there is still time for them too.

*If anyone has any large-headed poppies I can add to my collection they would be gratefully received

More potatoes

Sorting and weighing; self-sown potato harvest - 3rd July 2011

Sorting and weighing; self-sown potato harvest - 3rd July 2011

Yesterday I spent the morning manning the allotment which were open to the public as part of the village open gardens. It wasn’t busy, two people drove in, stopped and looked from their car and left without even opening the door, so we managed to get some things done.

Whilst I was doing some smaller jobs my HelpX helper dug up some of the self-sown potatoes and it wasn’t a bad harvest at all – 9.9kgs from only about half of the plants which haven’t even had the time of planting put into them!

Sorted; self-sown potato harvest - 3rd July 2011

Sorted; self-sown potato harvest - 3rd July 2011

Today I sorted them into sizes – Large, medium large, smaller, salad and smallest. There seem to be two different types with some being a little like Charlottes and I’ve no idea about the others. Some have already gone into a potato salad and a few more are in the oven roasting for tonight’s dinner.

I’ve also managed (or between us we have) cleared some of the back garden which I’ve hardly even been in for the last month, prick out 72 loose leaf lettuces, pot on sprout plants (which I hope to sort and grow in the back garden along with other winter veg) and collect and sow some chive seeds.

Not a bad day really.

New potatoes

First picking; new potatoes - 15th June 2011

First picking; new potatoes - 15th June 2011

On Tuesday I noticed what looked like it might be the start of blight on one of the sacked potatoes growing at home. I checked the other sacks over and it seemed to be just the one sack that had it and so there was nothing for it but to dig them up and eat them before it spread (if in fact it was blight…)

Home grown dinner; new potatoes with omelette - 15th June 2011

Home grown dinner; new potatoes with omelette - 15th June 2011

We’ve been holding off on starting on the home-grown potatoes as we still have half a sack of stored potatoes left that need using first but it was nice to be finally starting on the home-grown crop.

The potatoes weren’t a bad size and we collect 1.2kg of them. I can’t remember what verity they were but they were planted on march 1st. We ate half of them boiled with a cheesey chives and garlic omelette.

Plant growing and sowing

What a difference a day makes, I started writing this yesterday and today when I have gone round all my pots again checking that I hadn’t missed anything off there were green shootings in most of the pots of soil from yesterday…

In spite of my best laid plans I have managed to lose track of what I have sown; some of it through my own laziness, “I will write labels later” kind of thing, and some of it because the permanent markers the I bought especially for writing on plant labels fades and washing off.

I have completely lost track of my garlic project and, other than the elephant garlic, have no idea which the other bulbs are and have just put them in so as not to lose the crop whilst trying to piece together what is what out. I’m sure it will still taste good but it would have been interesting to see the results of what did best.

Spring Greens - 20th April 2011

Spring Greens - 20th April 2011

Still to be sown: Carrots,  

Indoors waiting to appear: Poppies, sweetcorn, runner & bobby beans, courgettes, self-saved squash seed two types little green ones and last years Boston, peas, 100s & 1000s red toms, aubergines, strawberries, a module tray that I think contains some sort of flowers and possibly some sort of Brassica just starting to push up it’s tender green leafs

Soaking seeds - 15 April 2011

Soaking seeds - 15th April 2011

Outdoors waiting to appear: Cauliflowers, red & green Sprouts, Spring Greens, broccli, pansies, peas, parsnips and bush dwarf booby beans

Up, outside and waiting be potted on or planted out:  Spring Greens, Sunflowers, Sweetpeas, leeks, Boston Squash, Patty-Pan Summer squash, Green Bush courgettes, Jack O’ Lanterns pumpkins, beetroot, yellow cherry pear toms, sweet basil, purple sprouting, kale, parsley, chillies and lots of salad

In grown at allotment: Potatoes, garlic, cauliflowers, beetroot

The tiddler pot

I can never bare to thin out any of the seedlings that are technically too small when I am potting things on and so at the end of each ‘potting on’ I end up with a tiddler-pot;

Spring green's 'tiddler-pot' - 20th April 2011

Spring greens tiddler-pot - 20th April 2011

Hidden treasure

Lost seeds - 23rd March 2011

Lost seeds - 23rd March 2011

I buy too many seeds, or have done. Only buying what I need or will use is something that I am working on and getting good at. This has meant that this year I am concentrating on using up the seeds I already have up and of most things I have more than enough to last a few years.

This morning I found a nice little surprise when I was unpacking a draw unit that hasn’t been used for a few year – a whole draw full of seeds that I completely lost track of!

Red hollyhocks, sunflowers and PSB - 23rd March 2011

Red hollyhocks, sunflowers and PSB - 23rd March 2011

After sorting through them and dusting off the packets I started on using them up and have sown some red Hollyhocks, sunflower seeds and some Purple Sprouting Broccoli. Most of the seeds are herbs which I haven’t really grown many of before so I’m looking forward to try them out and seeing how I get on.

Signs of spring #2

I got my first egg of the year today!!

Other people’s hens seem to have been laying again for a while now and I have spent lots of time looking at different hens, comparing comb colour and worrying about egg eaters or wild birds getting in to the house and taking them before I get there.

There would have been a photo but it has already been cooked and eaten.