These hawthorns berries aren’t native Irish ones but an American variety. They are larger than our native haws and have a pleasant apply flavour. I just love the way they glow in the sunshine.
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.
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.
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.
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!
This week’s one a week challenge is “orderly“. I am not an orderly person so finding an orderly photo wasn’t that easy. But lupins are probably one of the most orderly flowers in my garden, particularly before the flowers open fully. And they are also loved by bees.
We woke this morning to blue skies, but also white encrusted grass. The sun soon had things gently steaming and the frost quickly disappeared. It was just the confirmation of what we already knew – autumn is here. The frost wasn’t sharp enough to do away with the beans – so we may get another couple of meals. But the squash and pumpkins, which didn’t have a good year anyway, are gone for another year. It is the cycle of seasons, but this one is always one I am reluctant to let go.
We are definitely having an early autumn this year. Leaves are already beginning to turn and blackberries are ripening. While the summer seems warmer than last year, these last few weeks have been showery with very few dry or really warm days. In the garden, we’re enjoying the first plums and apples but like last year the pears have a very bad case of scab and are splitting and seem inedible. Not sure if this has been exasperated by the damp and often humid weather.
The weather has definitely brought on the potato blight, which we get each year. But this year the potatoes did go in on time and those we have harvested are a good size. Cabbages too are appreciating the plentiful rain and where not ravaged by slugs, snails and caterpillars are getting big.
Runner beans have done much better than last year too. Not sure if it is because I got them in early and they had a couple of warm, dry weeks in May to get well established.
Interestingly the courgettes outside are doing better than the one in the polytunnel or greenhouse. The older plants have established much better.
Carrots again failed to germinated well and / or were eaten by slugs! The same with beetroot, which last year I grew in modules before planting out. I must remember this for next year! Squash, are small and will probably not come to much. I feel that each year you need to grow a variety of vegetables and then hopefully something will do well!
So is growing your own vegetables and fruit a sign of “thrift” – defined by the Oxford dictionary as “the quality of using money and other resources carefully and not wastefully”?