Green Your Life

Talking about amazing eco-friendly products and access to my online Wikaniko shop.


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The Joy of Gardening

Much of the hard work has been done (well, except the weeding – that is never ending), and now the fun part of having a wildflower garden and a vegetable patch is here!

First in the wild flowers…..

Oldest section in 3rd summer of flowering, It starts in early spring and continues through to late autumn.

Oldest section in 3rd summer of flowering, It starts in early spring and continues through to late autumn.

Middle section with loads of flowers grown from seeds saved from last year - anyone know what the purple flowers are?

Middle section with loads of flowers grown from seeds saved from last year – anyone know what the purple flowers are?

Most recently dug and planted, courtesy of the wonderful Farnham Local Food along with our home-grown seeds

Most recently dug and planted, courtesy of the wonderful Farnham Local Food along with our home-grown seeds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lesser Trefoil (I think) hiding in the grass with vetch seed pod ready to burst!

Lesser Trefoil (I think) hiding in the grass with vetch seed pod ready to burst!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This little bumble bee flitted between the flowers, fabulous to watch

This little bumble bee flitted between the flowers, fabulous to watch

Bugs or beetles enjoying this yellow flower

Bugs or beetles enjoying this yellow flower

Sitting and watching for just a few minutes and I could see lots of insects among the flowers. No idea what this one is though!

Sitting and watching for just a few minutes and I could see lots of insects among the flowers. No idea what this one is though!

Many of the wildflowers in my garden came from our fabulous Wildflower Seed Balls – the best time for planting wildflower seeds is early autumn or early spring, so you can start preparing a wildflower zone in your garden now!

Over in the veg garden, some things survived the slug invasion!  The wet spring and summer has not been kind to the gardener with little time to spare!

A whole punnet of strawberries from the garden - despite the slugs!  And a lovely lettuce

A whole punnet of strawberries from the garden – despite the slugs! And a lovely lettuce

‘Mummy, why do garden peas and strawberries taste so much better than shop ones?’ asked my (almost) 4 yr old!  Now if that is not ringing endorsement for growing your own, then I don’t know what is!

Sadly the strawberries are nearly over now – we have had a steady supply for about 3 weeks from mostly 1st year plants.  Punnets made their way to the kitchen, but I have no idea how some of my WI friends manage to make jam!! They must have acres of strawberries.

Peas did not do well this year – too many slugs!  However, getting a few off the plants and these add to the kids lunches.

Many-legged carrots - hard to clean and peel, but oh so tasty!

Many-legged carrots – hard to clean and peel, but oh so tasty!

Carrots just simply are not straight when they come from my garden!  They need to have at least 2 legs and appear to be in dire need of the toilet!

Beetroot is a great vegetable to grow - it hardly ever goes wrong and slugs don't seem that fond of it!

Beetroot is a great vegetable to grow – it hardly ever goes wrong and slugs don’t seem that fond of it!

Beetroots were roasted in the oven and then pickled – do love pickled beetroot and loads more ready to be picked too.  We have a spiralizer so plan to get some beetroot spirals – perhaps for a salad or stir fry!

The chard is coming on really well too – need to think of some more recipes for that as it lasts in the garden for ages!

There is still time for planting this year – quick growing things such as radishes, lettuce, beetroot, carrot (choose an autumn variety such as our Autumn King) can all be planted and harvested into the autumn.  They may need some protection though if frosts are predicted before harvesting.

Please do visit the Garden section of my shop (www.greenyourlife.co.uk)  to see how we can help you with your garden dreams.

 

 

 

 


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What do you do with a glut of tomatoes?

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Jars of Green Tomato Chutney – a great achievement for me (in my opinion!)

The tomatoes are nearly over.  There are a few in the greenhouse, but I am not sure if they will ripen – may have to bring them into the house and place them in a warmish spot alongside a ripe banana!

However, despite losing a load to blight and having to dig up and burn or bin the plants, I think I have done well from my tomato glut this year:-

In addition to eating loads (between us a minimum of 6 tomatoes a day) over the last couple of months I have made:-

2L+ of grated tomato – bagged and frozen.  (grating is a really easy way to prepare and store – cut in half around the middle and grate the flesh and bin/eat/soup the skin!

Tomato Soup for about 8 – tubbed and frozen (I am no good at following a recipie and tend to use them as a guideline.  I don’t like recipes that say ‘get rid of half the tomato – seeds, skin etc.  So I tend to keep the lot.  Then I look to see what else is in the fridge or kitchen.  In this case it was carrots and onions (latter from the garden too).  Method:- chop, fry onion, chop other veg, cook up, add whatever herbs have to hand, add a bit of pepper, cook, grind, cool and freeze.  Yummy!

Go on, ripen!

In the height of summer, all looking healthy!

A large pan of My Passata/Paste – well, as almost all of the recipes said to get rid of both skin and seeds, I ignored them and kept the lot.   Method – chop tomatoes, put in pan.  Add some salt and some vinegar and some honey (all to taste).  Add lots of dried basil (not my garden stuff, sorry) bring to boil for a bit (run off deal with small person needing something, come back and remember to turn it down) and then simmer for about 1.5 hours until looked sufficiently gloopy and yummy.  Pour into ice-cube trays and freeze.

10 jars of Green Tomato Chutney – per usual totally incapable of following a recipe, so used two and made up the bits in between!  Actually tastes OK, especially with a bit of cheese.

Lessons for next year:-

  1.  Don’t plant quite so many plants! Give away young plants if I have more than say 15 plants!
  2. Make sure the outside ones have good support and enough room to grow.
  3. Try to get around to pinching out slightly more often than I did this year!
  4. Make sure have some cherry tomatoes as they are really tasty.
  5. Remember not to plant any tomatoes or related plants in the areas that had blight this year.

How did your garden grow this year?