Categories
General Polytunnel/Greenhouse

New year, New beginnings

Winter is finally upon us. Last weekend we had a lot of snow and now the temperature has dropped to minus 10 degrees centigrade.

Snow

The garden is covered with snow, almost knee deep, so it is even hard to differentiate between path and raised bed. Together with a friend I cleaned up the snow inside the polytunnel before heavy frosts make it impossible to sweep the snow from the top. Inside, the calendulas are getting a beating. I am pretty sure that with a few days of heavy frosts they will finally succumb to the winter weather. Everything else is at a standstill. I still have a few spinach, kohlrabi, endive and cabbage greens but they are all small and not growing very fast.

Poly with snow

Seeds

So there is nothing else to do now but plan for the coming season and wait until spring comes around the corner. My organic as well as some heirloom seeds have arrived from Vreeken zaden in the Netherlands. They have an amazing selection of varieties and I spent some happy hours filling that shopping cart on their site.

Seeds

I decided on a bit more of an adventurous journey in 2016 with tomatoes. Last year’s tomato experience was an enormous success. So this year I have gone for the bush cherry tomato Whippersnapper, a beef tomato called Glory of Mechelen (a city in Belgium), and two varieties of medium large tomatoes. As usual I have probably gone overboard choosing four different kinds but since I started selling some of my surplus vegetables to colleagues I need to have some kind of business sense and want to present them with varieties of tomatoes you would be unlikely to find in the supermarket.

Chillis

I have bought a lot of chilli pepper seeds as well. As a big chilli fan, it is a must to grow at least two or three varieties. Last year I had little time for gardening and my chillis punished me for that. The yield wasn’t as big as I had hoped. This was all due to irregular watering…. and lack of talking to them. This year I am hoping to better myself and have set myself a new goal. I have bought the Caribbean blend which consists of 25 seeds of a selected variety of chillis. Some very rare ones. The funny part is that I will have no idea what I will be growing until the chillis are formed. Next to that I will grow Ancho chillis and Chilhuacal negro chillis and I will try to sing to all of them to keep them happy.

Colourful Chillies

Courgette

My colleagues love my homegrown courgettes. They claim the taste is so much better than the supermarket ones. I wouldn’t know because I hardly ever buy courgettes. I eat them homegrown when in season and out of season I eat seasonal vegetables. So the packet from Vreeken  All colours and shapes will appeal to my work mates. With 40 seeds I am pretty sure they will all get sick and tired of my courgettes …and maybe even my courgette chocolate cake – eventually!

Courgettes in the october polytunnel

The only outside of the box seeds I will be sowing are Canadian blueberries. I love blueberries but the plants are expensive to buy. It will probably take me a few years but growing them from seed will be cheaper and will give me stronger plants.

I just can’t wait to start sowing!

Categories
General

Let’s Grow In 2016

2016

Categories
Did you know...? Flowers General

A Sunflower is filled with Florets

Did you know…?
Sunflower with bumble bee
…that a sunflower looks like one large flower, but actually each head is made up of hundreds of tiny flowers called florets, which ripen to become the seeds.
Categories
Did you know...? General

Cinnamon as Rooting Hormone

Did you know…?
Cinnamon as Rooting Hormone
Out of rooting hormone? Open your kitchen cupboard and grab some cinnamon! Dip fresh cuttings into it and it will kill fungus and bacteria, helping to keep them disease-free while rooting.
Categories
Did you know...? General

Leaf Impressions

Did you know…?
Leaf print 1
The staining you see is from tanins and the decomposing pigments in the leaf. The inside of a teacup gets stained with very similar tanins if it is not washed thoroughly. These leaf impressions will eventually fade as the tanins are broken down by sunlight and washed or worn away by rain and passing feet.
Categories
General Recipes

Best Apple Pie EVER!

Our apple trees are bursting with ripe juicy fruit …so now’s the time to make the best apple pie EVER!

Homegrown apples

Apple Pie recipe for 8 people

Ingredients

Pastry:
300 g flour
200 g butter
150 g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Filling:
1.5 kg Jonagold apples (I used homegrown Golden Rennet) chopped into big chunks or slices
1 small pot of apple puree
Large tablespoon cinnamon
2 cups raisins
a little sugar to taste

Crumble:
90 g flour
40 g brown caster sugar
1 sachet vanilla sugar
40 g butter

Homegrown apples

Preparations

Mix all the pastry ingredients together, knead the dough (if needed add a little bit of water) and leave the dough to rest in the fridge for half hour. Divide the dough across a 26 cm pie dish, press firmly. Make sure there is a sufficient dough up the sides.

Preheat the oven to 190 C. Add the apple slices in a baking pan and bake them for a few minutes (the apples will soften and some of the water will evaporate which will prevent soggy pastry. Make sure the apple doesn’t burn! Mix the apples with the apple puree, raisins and if necessary a little sugar. Add this to the pastry dish and press firmly.

Knead the flour, vanilla sugar and butter and make a crumbly dough. Add the caster sugar but hold off on the kneading. Divide the crumble evenly over the top of the apple pie. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 50 minutes, making sure the crumble topping is golden brown.

Enjoy!!!

Apple pie