Monday, 21 November 2011

October harvest: week four/monthly summary

I was waiting to post this when I had a photo to attach, but at this rate it'll never get done, so here's the text-only version.

A quiet end to the month in the garden - but busier than ever indoors. Outside, the weather has been mild, with no sign of frost (we did go down to around 5ÂșC a couple of weeks ago), alternating sunshine and rain.

The kitchen is taking shape, at last, and just in time - I have been drying tomatoes at just over 50ÂșC before bottling in oil, which is a job I wanted to do but didn't expect to have the facilities for (i.e. an oven with a low heat setting) before next year. After that, I did apple slices, which I'm filling a large jar with - a great way of using up two bags of fruit that I'd bought reduced and had sitting around for a couple of weeks. They're chewy and intensely sweet and apply - a great snack. I've also commenced a couple of projects that will keep me busy in the absence of daily gardening tasks - I've started curing bacon, using maple syrup, juniper berries, and salt, which I will then smoke, slice, and freeze, and I have a batch of ale (from a kit, as I'm a beginner) bubbling away upstairs. I'll also be making sausages, smoking more food, baking lots of bread, and making yoghurt and cheese, in addition to bottling more fruits and vegetables (mostly bought).

Totals for week 22nd-31st October:
28th: 268g stem lettuce (two plants; I forgot to weight the leaves and stems separately).
30th: 37g carrots, 17g carrot tops, 33g turnip, 71g black radish, 55g chard (day total: 213g)
Total for week: 481g
October total: 11.289kg
Year to date total: 38.372kg

The highlight of the final week of October was pulling the first carrots and black radish, which went with homegrown tomatoes, chard, and turnip in a Tuscan-style bread soup, made with leftover home-baked bread roll chunks (they had stuck to the greaseproof paper I baked them on, so I had to find a use for the tops I salvaged). The carrots were small, but bigger than any I've managed to grow before, and so fragrant - and totally perfect and unblemished. I used the tops as well.

I haven't yet picked the last tomatoes. Dozens of red 'Gardener's delight' are glowing at me from across the garden when I look out the (old) kitchen window, which is quite remarkable, given it's November. I must gather them in soon, however, and get my seed-grown onions out, along with broad beans and peas, to overwinter for an early crop next year.

I have a lot more to do indoors just now, however, so I don't know when I'll get round to it...

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