Harvest festival…

… was surely invented by someone who was bloody glad everything was in. I think it was just a good excuse to have a day off and a rest.

I’ve been picking all the crops from the back two patches, which looked like this first:

Just before it got really wet, it looked a bit like this:


I’m not going to embarrass myself by showing you what it ended up looking like, but I think there were more crops than weeds. Just. The weeds might have been higher, but I think there were fewer of them. Anyway, I’ve had about 6 kg of beetroot so far, and yesterday, I started on the carrots and onions.

Last year and the year before, carrots were a real no-go. They just wouldn’t grow. I don’t know why not. Maybe the seed was old, maybe the ground wasn’t just right, or the temperatures, or maybe a load of ants ran off with the seed. Anyhow, this was the first year of carrots.

I planted two rows of 5m. To be honest, I was a little gung-ho with the seed. I think I thought it’d just evaporate. And then I planted everything too close so I couldn’t go and thin it all out. And the carrots were plentiful but small. Lesson learned. I can grow carrots, but maybe fewer and further between!

And what started as this:

(weed included…)

ended as this:

That’s about 2/3 of one row. I got 2.5 kg of chopped, blanched carrots from them, which I’ve frozen.

I’ve also started to pull up the onions. To be honest, the onions have been temperamental. The white onions are tiny – more for pickling, I guess. The red onions went to seed. However, those that didn’t are pretty big. I’m going to make red onion marmalade today and get all of that clear before doing another run of pickled beetroot and beetroot chutney.

It’s worked well to plant the three together – they were very healthy crops and have really kept the insects away from each other. However, next year, they’ll be further apart and I’ll be able to thin out and weed between them!

I’d also planted some radish for Steve, but it never got eaten, so radish is off the list for next year, despite being so easy to grow. I don’t like it and I don’t eat it, so it’s not a hard choice. I’d planted some pak choi which got very confused about the weather, grew hardly at all, then bolted.

And despite all day of picking, digging up, washing, cooking, bottling, freezing, I needed to get the dogs out for a walk. I went a new route yesterday and it was a very good walk for blackberrying. Where I might not have plums or cherries, I have hedgerows full of blackberries. Swings and roundabouts.

I think you have to be philosophical about these things. It’s not been a brilliant year for some things, but then I’ve hardly had to water anything and I have a freezer full of broad beans, peas, borlotti beans, carrots and beetroot where last year I didn’t have much of any of these.

Today will be about clearing the decks before the pears get picked. Might leave the quince a little longer. They’re small this year, which is weird given how much rain we had. I thought rain would make them massive! Clearly not!

I’m hoping for 6 kg of carrots, another batch of beetroot chutney and pickled beetroot, a few jars of red onion marmalade, a couple of jars of pickled onions and a few borlotti beans today.

Still, despite the fact it’s been long days of preparation for the future, walking the dogs is always such a simple pleasure. Tilly is fab on walks, despite the barking. Heston is great too, though he gets nervous. He needs some walks without Tilly barking at every dog, or else he’s going to bark at every dog and be a pain.

The fields are mostly empty now, but for maize and sunflowers. Most of the sunflowers are past their prime, but I came across these few still holding their heads up for more sunshine


What’s not to love about sunflowers? They surely are the smiliest flowers of all.

And a shot of Tilly Wiggle’s bum heading off up the lane, and Heston. You can see how tall Heston is now. He’s going to be a big boy!

He’s all legs at the moment. At least now his tail isn’t longer than his legs and body! He was all tail a couple of weeks ago. He can now hop up onto the couch and the chair and sits there looking proud and naughty at the same time. I don’t know why he looks naughty. Tilly sits wherever she likes and often sits at the table outside with us as we eat lunch. I know it’s not a good habit to have, but she’s so goddamn cute. She’s snoring like mad today. She’s already had a good play with Heston, playing which is becoming more and more boisterous. I think a little boy dog somewhere in my house needs to learn some play restraint, otherwise there will be tears before bedtime.







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