Homesteading

What a difference a week of good weather in September makes. I’ve been busy cutting, clearing and harvesting in the garden. So much easier to feel motivated when it’s not overcast or just generally miserable. I feel like getting out there. I’ve even been inspired to make a start on the autumn planting plan.

We’ve had a reasonably good year, in the garden, including carrots. Our soil is heavy and even though I plant the carrots in raised bed, they are usually uneventful. This year, I used an old insulation box, which frozen food was delivered in, to scatter a few seeds. They seem to have done well. I’ll do this again. Especially as the height appears to deter the carrot fly. Also great if you don’t have a lot of growing space.

I pulled out all the sweetcorn stalks at the weekend. We’ve been eating the cobs on a regular basis, without anyone getting bored. I lost my first plants to the frost. These were the second planting.

As I was pulling the stalks, I thought I might find a few, scraggy cobs, but I was amazed at how many it did glean. We had some for lunch and the rest I shucked for the freezer.

Potatoes have done well, too. We’ve been eating them most days. I’ve bought big paper sacks to store the rest in. Still in discussion about where to store the sacks, but I’ll start digging the potatoes this weekend.

The photo above is of youngest teen holding chocolate cherry tomatoes. Bit of a back story, which regular readers might remember. A few years ago, youngest brought home a tomato plant as part of a science experiment at school. While the rest of the class labelled their plants “tomato” (although I suspect there were a few “Bobs” and “Harrys”), my son decided that we grew enough tomatoes and he’d prefer a chocolate biscuit plant, so he named his plant Oreo.

His plant grew sweet, red cherry tomatoes, if I remember rightly. Not remotely biscuit like.

Roll on to this summer. I found cherry tomato seeds that were called chocolate. I was excited and couldn’t help giggling inside. Could this be the answer to his dream? Had I made it happen? No, apparently not. Three years is a long time in a boy’s life. He’s a teen now. He’s moved on. Unlike his mother, who still thinks it’s funny.

Never mind, the chocolate cherry tomatoes taste amazing, even though they taste nothing like chocolate.

Our non-chocolate tomatoes have done well too, and we’ve had a good crop of garlic and onions. I’ve been experimenting with canning pasta sauce. It worked well until I realised my pan was too small. Or the jars were too big. Either way, I couldn’t seal the jars enough to store them outside the fridge. I need 2 inches of water above the lid when I boil to preserve the jars. So, we are eating the first batch and calling it research and development. Hopefully this weekend, we will sort out a better canning pot. I am dreaming of a pantry full of pasta sauces and pie fillers. Fingers crossed.

Not that all our garden treats are edible. Our oak tree is busy losing its acorns, to the delight of our local squirrels and magpies. I love acorns. I pick them up and store a few in my pocket in the same way I do with sea glass on the beach. It’s my happy thing. With acorns, I only take a few and leave the rest for the wildlife, but the caps are fair game.

Each morning, our dog walk takes us down a lane which is lined with hedge oaks. Each tree is a different type of oak, so their acorns and caps are different shapes too. I’m going to write more about oaks tomorrow and how I made the felt acorns, which are destined for an autumn wreath. It is a fun craft and easy to do. With the added bonus of adding a bit more colour to life.

(misty morning dog walk)

This weekend looks like an apple windfall processing weekend too. I have two big crates in the kitchen, that I’m tripping over. Hope this weather holds and I can sit outside and do it. Also, I’m digging up three flower borders ready to plant with roses and bulbs. Thank goodness I have easy lunches ready to go.

Hope you all have a great weekend.

Word of the Week linky

10 thoughts on “Homesteading

  • Friday 18 September, 2020 at 12:39 pm
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    I love all your fresh produce, thanks for the tip of planting in an insulated food box. I’ve a couple of those. I love that the tomato plant was called Oreo, I’d would be very happy to grow biscuits 🙂 That was very misty morning for your dog walk!

    Reply
    • Friday 18 September, 2020 at 1:14 pm
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      The insulated boxes are a game changer. My ones would have been thrown away by the company if I’d returned.

      Reply
  • Friday 18 September, 2020 at 2:03 pm
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    You are so organised when it comes to your garden and it always is very generous with what it gives.
    The sweetcorn looks amazing! My two would love them, they do love corn on the cob.
    I have never heard of chocolate cherry tomatoes. How wonderful. x

    Reply
    • Friday 18 September, 2020 at 2:07 pm
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      I think using the name chocolate is a good marketing ploy. The idea of chocolate tomatoes. Definitely not based on the flavour. More to do with the colour. Your two would love the sweetcorn. It is sweeter and tastier than any shop bought.

      Reply
  • Friday 18 September, 2020 at 2:10 pm
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    Homesteading is such a lovely word for your week. How lovely to have so many things to harvest and enjoy. We’ve not managed to produce much from our attempts at planting veg this year. Our tomato plants produced a grand total of three cherry tomatoes and Thomas picked two of them while they were still green! Oh well, we had fun trying and perhaps we’ll have better luck next year. I quite like the sound of the chocolate cherry tomatoes and the story behind it made me smile too. Thomas loves collecting acorns too and Sophie loves spotting ‘elf caps’ at this time of year. Good luck with the apple windfall processing and digging up the flower borders this weekend. #WotW

    Reply
    • Friday 18 September, 2020 at 4:06 pm
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      At least you got three. I hope next year will be better. I like Sophie’s name for the acorn caps.

      Reply
  • Saturday 19 September, 2020 at 9:28 pm
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    Started at Anne’s blog with her #WotW ‘autumnal.’ Your ‘homesteading’ seemed like the logical next step! Love getting a peek into other people’s gardens, and I love the misty morning photo! I did a post about my tomatoes a couple weeks ago.

    Reply
    • Friday 25 September, 2020 at 2:03 pm
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      I love looking at other people’s gardens too!

      Reply
  • Monday 21 September, 2020 at 1:14 pm
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    I always plant carrots in pots now, they do so much better than planting them straight in the soil. I’ve done a lot of baking with windfalls lately, our favourite is apple crumbles with hazelnut topping :o)

    #MMBC

    Reply
    • Friday 25 September, 2020 at 2:01 pm
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      Hazelnut topping sounds very nice. I add ground almonds which gives a nice added flavour.

      Reply

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