Garden update…

Just a quick garden update for you…

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We’ve had a steady supply of tomatoes, patty pans and turnips over summer, plus lovely crunchy carrots and potatoes (not pictured). And I picked my first stash of sloes to pop in the freezer. I’m hoping to pick the majority later in autumn, after the frosts, but experience has taught me not to rely on these, no matter how laden the bushes – the birds are far to fond of them!

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This was how my pumpkins were looking earlier this week, before a badger (we think) decided to try to dig between the pallet frame and the fence. The result was a flattened pallet and both pumpkins snapped from the plant. They are now sitting in our conservatory, where I’m hoping they’ll finish ripening. Annoyingly, these were my favourite calendula, and so the ones I was leaving to set seed – now lost under the weight of the crash!

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My butterbush are looking good though!

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As are my sunstripe toms. I did lose one of my gardener’s delight to a bacterial disease this week, but it was positively laden with fruit, so made me 6 jars of mixed tomato chutney. This was a major hit last year, so hopefully will be again…

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Radish, peppers and my hanging basket patty pans – an experiment I’ll definitely repeat for ease of care.

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And my nasturtiums. These have gone crazy, taking over the garden, despite my regular pulling up of over-enthusiastic plants (which are now doing spectacularly well in the compost bins!). As well as providing us with tasty salad leaves and regular colourful posies and fulfilling their main role as sacrificial plants for the caterpillars (they’re amazing for this – my broccoli have barely been touched, whilst the nasturtium have been infested!), they’ve set the most enormous seeds, and I’ve already collected more than I could possibly need next year! So if anyone fancies a few, do give me a shout… I personally like the African Queen colours, but if pastels are more your colour scheme, please feel free to take some Whirlybird off my hands!

Elsewhere I have collected blackberries and made a winter supply of jam, am in the process of making up elderberry vinegar (I’m told it makes a great substitute for a fruity balsamic) and have collected about two thirds of the elderberries I need to make up a traditional Elder Rob. This is a basic syrup which can be drizzled over ice cream or fruit salad, used to make a hot toddy, or taken by the spoonful, to prevent winter colds. Elderberries are currently the subject of medical research in both Scandinavia and Israel, as they prevent against more strains of the flu virus than Tamiflu – but with none of the harmful side effects! So if you’ve seen trees laden with berries somewhere nearby, it might be worthwhile picking a few and making up a syrup to see the family through winter…

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