It is now time to start harvesting the fruits of my labour in the garden, and as always there have been some winners and losers this year. Let’s start with the winners: as I mentioned last month, the leafy vegetables are growing incredibly well.
We will soon be making our sauerkraut again (my recipe for making your own sauerkraut can be found in the October section of the recipe book on our website) and all I will eat this week is coleslaw, colcannon (a traditional dish made from potatoes and cabbage) and fried rice with cabbage - that’s a lot of cabbage I hear you say, but one of the big cabbages has split and I need to use it up! Sometimes cabbages grow too fast and too big and the head just, well, splits, or... maybe an axe wielding cabbage murderer has been rampaging through my garden! I have also harvested at least two kilograms of chard (from just a few plants) and there is more to come. There is also lots of kale to freeze, to enjoy later during the colder months ahead. The winter cabbages are looking healthy too and growing as we speak.
Unfortunately there are plenty of losers in the garden this year too. I have only managed to grow 2 courgettes from 3 plants! Sadly, there will be no turnips (neeps) this year, but thankfully my second sowing of swedes paid off and we can enjoy some of these instead. This has really got me baffled, because our neighbours (and a representative who also grows her own) have had no success with turnips this year either, despite it being such a common Scottish vegetable and one which normally performs well whatever the weather throws at it. Carrots have not grown either (nor for the neighbours or the rep) but the onions have grown pretty well. I just hope these will store well too; it is always a challenge to dry them out when the weather is so changeable.
Remember the poor sweet pepper plants I mentioned last time? Well, I followed some advice I was given by the Facebook group and lo-and-behold the plants have survived and the peppers are even turning red now! They are not very big, but at least we have some sweet peppers this year. The runner beans are finally flowering. It might be a case of ‘too little too late’, but you never know. If we get a warm September I might still get some runner beans. The French beans in both the greenhouse and the garden have produced more than last year, so that was a pleasant surprise. I grew a purple variety this time round - they were easy to pick because it was so easy to spot them! They lose their colour when you cook them, but they still looked pretty on the plant.
What are we going to do with our Punky? She is one of our three hens and the one that’s broody all the time! When a hen is broody, she won’t lay any eggs and just sits on an empty nest all day long. Punky is the stupid one, sorry Punky but you are, it’s true. She was last broody a few months ago and now she just sits there waiting for non-existent eggs to hatch... again. The other two hens (Tufty and Caramello) are hardly ever broody and just enjoy life - foraging in the fields surrounding our house. Despite the fact that Punky has laid hardly any eggs, I have to admit that she is my favourite... just don’t tell the other two! Before she went broody, the chickens had to stay in their run for a few days and while Tufty and Caramello were trashing the place, Punky just stood there looking at me as if to say:”it wasn’t me, I didn’t do anything, mummy. I’m a good girl!” I never thought in a million years that I would grow this fond of chickens!