Sunday, 8 January 2012

Statement of intent: 2012

I've not been totally inactive this winter. I turned three months' spent coffee grounds into delicious oyster mushrooms.

It's been a while! At first, it was the usual blogger's curse: laziness. I have a few articles lined up from last autumn that I promise to post soon. Then my laptop, which I used as my workstation in planning and updating this blog last year, died temporarily. Strictly speaking, it was the power adapter that died, but the result was the same. Now I've got a replacement, I can return.

Before I get stuck back into writing recipes, garden and kitchen updates, reviews and so on, I thought I'd give an outline of what to expect in the next few months, so you can decide whether or not to bother returning.

First, I will be gardening more than last year. I had goals, few of which I met, but in essence 2011 was about seeing what my garden and I were capable of. This time, I have much more knowledge and experience, so I intend to be more rigorous and disciplined. More salads, tomatoes, roots and greens, flowers, fruit, and herbs. I'll be sowing heat-lovers in January (chillies and aubergines, that take an age to establish this far north), plus hopefully some early salads. Mid-February I'll start on the tomatoes, of which there will be many, again to get a head-start on the season: I'd love to harvest some before the end of June, ideally. March will be full-on, with most flowers and vegetables starting, then in April the tender ones, like pumpkins, melons, and cucumbers. After that, I'll try and keep it going, with later sowings of peas, beans, oriental crops and fast-growing vegetables like turnips and spinach. Overall, I'll be squeezing even more into the small space I have.

Second, I have a few major projects that are starting or continuing this year. I've ordered the ingredients for my first all-grain beer, which is something I'd wanted to do last spring, but decided to postpone it. I've been doing a bit with bacon and sausages - expect more on this. More baking, especially breads, if I get the time, and later in the year, more jams, jellies, and other ways of preserving what I've grown.

Finally, more photography. I'm held back by the current setup (my new kitchen is close, but not ready yet), and my perfectionism: I take hundreds of photos you'll never see. I will try to do better.

It already feels like spring, though we hardly had a winter here this year: it's mild, if stormy, and the light is increasing. I hear birdsong in the mornings again, and soon the spring bulbs will be flowering, the trees budding. It's an exciting time. I hope you'll join me for the best cooking and growing year yet...

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