I’ve been a little light on the blog front for a day or two, for two reasons really. Number one has got to be Olympic fever, I’ve been surprisingly completely absorbed in the games and I’m loving it. Not just the fact that TeamGB are doing really well, I’m loving watching the incredible ability of athletes like Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt and the amazing young American swimmer Katie Ledecky. I know she broke our lovely Becky Adlingtons heart, but I guess that’s the nature of sport, you are never really a “sure thing”, victory is never guaranteed and no one can deny that Katie Ledecky at just 15 years old was absolutely incredible, she just stormed down that swimming pool and made it all look so very easy, it was fantastic to watch. However, I have to say female weightlifters – eeek, there are some scary women in that event!
My other reason is that I have been harvesting our fruit and veggies and cooking and freezing as much as possible. I’m determined that after the making the effort to grow my own this year, I’m not going to let it go to waste. Surprisingly after the washout summer loads of my plants have really starting cropping. I’ve had loads of Broccoli this week, every day there seems to be more ready. So I have made loads of Quiche, pizzas and soups and just blanched and frozen some for future use. My raspberries and blackcurrants have just gone crazy and I’m fighting off the wasps to get them all collected. I have frozen boxes of them for future crumbles, pies and maybe some jam if I can get the time. I have also kept a box for the obligatory Raspberry Martini or two!
I’ve had one Cauliflower already and about a dozen more, that hopefully will continue to mature, my figs are still progressing nicely, whether they ripen or not remains to be seen. I’ve had tons of herbs and a few chillies with several more ready in a day or two. My onions are a few weeks away from harvesting and I have stacks of lettuce.
I have managed to get all my jars ready for making chutney and apple sauce once my apples are ready. It won’t be the usual bumper crop this year sadly, as we’ve had too much wind and rain and not enough sun. I also lost two trees during a storm. But I should still have plenty to make my Christmas chutney. If the rest of my chillies ripen, then I’ll make some chilli jam and if my Cauliflowers grow enough I’m going to try to make piccalilli.
It has so far been incredibly rewarding and I’d encourage anyone to try it. Like I said in my Grow your own post, you really don’t needs tons of space or effort to enjoy your own produce. Apart from my orchard (which was already here when we bought the house) I have grown all of mine in my pallet planters. No heavy digging and turning of soil, no creeping around on your hands and knees to weed, in fact in the pallets there is very little weed intrusion. The only work involved once you have made your pallet planter, is watering and pest control. I’ve done all of mine without any form of chemicals whatsoever, so everything really is organic and tastes fabulous.
It has spurred me on to increase what I will try and grow next year. I’ll definitely be more organised and start earlier. That way I can add potatoes, beetroot and carrots to my veggie list. Even potatoes and carrots can be grown in buckets and barrels, you can also buy reuseable potato growing bags that also make harvesting really simple. I’m going to buy a few of these at the end of the summer so that I have them ready for next year. I’m also going to grow more chillies, I only tried one plant this year as I didn’t think they’d grow, but they have and have started to yield a lovely crop. I’ll see how my onions develop and if they work I’ll maybe try some garlic too next year.
Give it a go if you can, you will honestly love harvesting and cooking your own produce and you will save money too. Along with the constant supply of eggs from my now impeccably behaved chickens (I’m going to regret saying that), I am definitely spending much less and our girls, especially our toddler are loving eating things from their own garden. This has been a real winner for us.