Category Archives: Garden

November Apples

We enjoyed our first apples in late August, and we’ve recently been harvesting our late apple varieties .

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There are three varieties – Annie Elizabeth*, Pixie and Katja. We (my children, husband and I), did a taste comparison of each. All four of us voted the Annie Elizabeth as our favourite.  It being the sweetest of the three; our vote may just indicate we all have a sweet tooth! In fact, the Pixie apples were very similar in flavour but were very firm.  So we’ve put these into store. The Pixie is also a smaller apple. An ideal size of a children’s lunchbox.

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The Katja apples have a good sweet flavour too. The flesh shows some pink flushes, and is softer than either the Annie Elizabeth or Pixie.

In terms of cropping, both the Katja and Pixie have given a reasonable crop for the size of tree. In fact, it is the best crop we have had from the Pixie. The Annie Elizabeth however had a much heavier crop last year, compared to this year. So we will savoured the few apples we did have and hope that next year it will return to it’s bounty of the 2016 season.

It always pays to grow a couple of varieties of fruit tree, as we have certainly found they all have good, and bad years.

*Interestingly Annie Elizabeth is listed as a cooking apple on many websites. The Victorian Nursery website (UK) does say it is so sweet it doesn’t require sugar. So I am not sure we have it properly labeled. I double checked in my garden notebook and it is definitely listed as Annie Elizabeth and was planted in 2006, but it could be the original label was incorrect.

Apple tree

Apple tree – Annie Elizabeth in 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sea buckthorn

In previous years, I have written about our sea buckthorn crop. This year, we (well more correctly my husband) have been much better at harvesting the berries. They are fiddly to pick due mainly to the small size of the fruit and large size of the thorns.

Sea buckthorn

Sea buckthorn

We’ve been juicing the berries. While my husband is happy to drink the tart juice straight or half diluted with water, I prefer mine mixed with warm water and drunk like a tea. We have two varieties of berries, and one is definitely more palatable that the other. We have frozen some of the juice in, in ice-cube trays so that we will continue to benefit from the berries many good properties over the winter.

 

September garden update

October is knocking and the dark nights are rolling in. It is the time of year for warm fires, stews and hot soups. But still the garden is providing despite the early frost of a fortnight ago. Cabbages have had a good year, as have onions. I do wonder though if the onions will store well as they have grown so big. The tomatoes were late but are still ripening. We’re enjoying apple and raspberry crumble too.

We haven’t bought any eating apples for a good two months now and these red pixie apples are still to harvest.

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Eating apple, Pixie

One of the great things about autumn is free seeds. I have been harvesting some from my flowers and already have lupins, delphiniums, campanula and some wild flowers including ox-eyed daisy, foxgloves and ragged robin germinating and growing.

The chicks are growing too, and are spending most of their day in the greenhouse in a little enclosure that keeps the from digging young lettuce plants up!

Growing chicks

Chicks