Saturday, 18 November 2017

Corn Stripper

Corn Patch Former Glory

A Mixed Bunch

Given that it is November and we have frosty nights it is time to accept that the sweetcorn harvest time has arrived.  Then comes the process of saving the edible part of the crop.

I've used what Lakeland call their Corn Stripper.  It looks like a computer mouse (remember them?)

The underside houses the cutting edge.

Running the device along the length of each cob strips the kernels into the chamber above which can then be emptied into a freeezer bag.

If you have, as recommended, blanched the cobs in boiling water the whole process is still fraught with hazard. Disposable gloves are recommended both for hygiene and some protection from heat!

Debris from the Corn and Courgettes
Music maestro please:

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Gardening On A Windowsill

We have had three sub zero nights here in Edinburgh, so the outdoor gardening is severely curtailed. 

Time to retreat to the kitchen (windowsill).

I bought this kit early in the year in a fit of  online gardening enthusiasm but haven't deployed it until now.

It is simply a water tray with a drainage tray propped on top of it.  The growing medium (a sheet of kitchen towel) you supply yourself!

Once the tray is filled with water and the paper wetted you sprinkle the supplied "microgreen seeds" on top and, using a water spray, keep them moist for two weeks....

The microgreen seeds I have selected are coriander and basil.  Perhaps unsurprisingly they appear the same as my other coriander and basil seeds.  There is a little voice at the back of my head that says. "Ah but these have been specially selected for microgreen growing and have no fungicide or insecticide treatment that garden seed might have been treated with" but I really do wonder if they are any different.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

A Consort of Violas

You may have detected that I am not really a flower gardener.  Very much of the edible tradition I admit.  But I am learning.  At this time of year violas are thriving when all else has gone to sleep.  Today I potted up the seedlings above.  

But I also potted on these All The Year Round cauliflowers..... add to my collection of overwintered broadbeans

So I haven't entirely abandoned my principles!

Monday, 30 October 2017

First Frost

-0.7 C registered on the outdoor thermometer last night.  Ice on cars this morning.  Like a punctuation mark at the end of a sentence we had our first frost of the season. So it is goodbye to these Bishop of Llandaff dahlias that have been so stunning by the front door all this summer.

I will of course attempt to dry them out and store over winter, but the greenhouse temperature was down to 0.6 C and the shed was down to 0.9 C so I am not sure I will find a suitable home for them.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Successional Sowing Success

In the past I have annually regretted my lack of foresight when it comes to successional sowing. But this year I have experimented with late sowings of cut and come again salads sown in half seed trays. The dates on these four are 19 August, 8 September, 26th September and 7th October (see below).  The earliest tray has already been chopped and is regrowing. The second is currently being trimmed  one section at a time and the last two are coming on nicely.  Looks like our lunches will continue to be pepped up for a few weeks yet.  Although this picture has been taken in the greenhouse the trays have been sitting out in the elements and have only just been moved inside now that the tomatoes and peppers have been cleared out my small greenhouse.

While I am on the subject I will admit that the successional sowing at the plot has been a little disappointing.  Second and third sowings of beetroot, lettuce, pak choi, even leaf beet  have produced very patchy or non existent rows -  probably as a result of all the rain and the resulting slug action.  In future I will sow more thickly to allow for poor germination and heavier predation.

Sometimes it is a good idea to sow more more more.

Diminishing Returns

Specifically the courgettes are giving up.  Here is today's harvest...

and last Sunday's.

I think that's it for this year.  Can't complain because  two plants kept up a steady supply throughout the summer. A third yellow one came to nothing - I think it was wind damaged soon after planting out.  Two Jaune et Vert Squash failed to produce any fruit either.  Kabocha (I guess it is a winter squash) produced a half dozen fruit even though it was crowded out by the Sharks Fin Melon which was as rampant as ever.

previous crop of sharks fin melons

Really Going Down

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

One Man Went to Mow...?

Nature likes a bit of a mess, and on that basis we have regressed to a very natural garden.  The "wildflower meadow bed" is looking as bit raggedy and the leaves are littering what remains of the lawn. In the past I might have felt guilty about this scenario, but now I have that warm autumn glow of knowing that I am a habitat creator. 

Earlier in the season it could still pass as a formal garden of sorts:

Of course some of the wildflowers are biennial and won't flower until next year (foxgloves for one).  Others require a cold snap before they will even germinate (Yellow Rattle for one). So it would be unfair to judge the project so early on.

Reverse view now

Reverse view in summer (Scottish Summer that is)
Other environmental enhancements in recent years also mature year on year.

Pond Set Up

Pond with Bee Nesting Annex

Bug Hotel Newbuild

Bug Hotel Today

Here is a gallery of just some of the meadowflowers that flowered in the first year:


Oxeye Daisy - or is it Corn Chamomile?

Red Clover