Full Circle

IMG_20151122_134406We have come full circle from April 7th to November 22nd. The bananas have now moved into their winter shelter, following a touch of frost last night.

Container Harvest

IMG_20150920_102203Here’s the 2015 apple and pear container harvest from our own mini garden, or what I could rescue from the damp conditions, the slimy or multi-legged critters or the squirrels.

A good pear harvest, which we attribute to the much reduced pear rust infection now that a heavily infected tree in the neighbour’s garden is no more.

Only two Braeburn apples survive from the original five or six, but given that this is a tiny tree in a tiny pot, often fallen dry, I think it has done pretty well. I think I will probably set it free from its pot and put it into a bed this coming spring.

Strelitzia Reginae

After years of waiting, caring, sometimes neglecting but always hoping, we are overjoyed to announce the first flower of our indoors strelitzia reginae.

It truly is the most amazing flower.

Nom Nom Nom

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Ah,  I love it when the garden begins producing. We enjoy regular and generous harvests of Swiss Chard already. The Mange-tout peas will be ready  in two weeks,  radishes in a few days, and herbs are available in abundance.

All just 3 steps out of my garden door,  how cool is that?

Yesterday’s supper is today’s lunch: fresh garden vegetables soup with slow cooked crisp pork belly and spicy chorizo.
Love it.

Next Level Gardening

20150510164023We advanced to second gardening level this Sunday, with salad leaves in one half, radish in the third quarter and space for basil in the fourth.

1.20 m above ground, 3 m long, and practically the size of one small bed in the best sun-kissed corner of the garden, not taking any of our limited space away. Container gardening with a twist.

This should be perfect for herbs and some salads, and hopefully be a little less slug- and snail-ridden than ground-level beds.

 

Orchard News

DSC_0212While a certain local community orchard is in full bloom, we joined 100000 others (possibly more) and made our way to RHS Wisley Gardens this May Bank Holiday, where the fruit trees, rhododendron and much more are in full bloom and stunningly glorious.

While we parked in overflow car park 5 on the other side of Wisley village, most people gathered in the central areas and around picnic areas and the restaurants, while we enjoyed a perfectly peaceful afternoon in the remaining parts of those magnificent gardens.

Here are some pictures.

192 Hours

20150407120941I released the Bananas from their winter protection on the 8th, when I took the first picture. The second picture was taken on the 16th. 8 days, or 192 hours.

Can you spot the difference?

Their speed of growth is simply amazing. One plant in the middle stands out, but the others show similar growth (not as evident from the photo).

 

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Enough Is Enough

20150407120941Our babies have come out to play!

The banana plants were covered with a sheet of reeds and bamboo to stop harsh winds or heavy snow from reaching them, covered on top with an old linen sack.

When we returned from our short break mid afternoon this Easter Monday, the thermometer reported a glorious 17 Celsius in the shade, and the bananas had lifted their protective covers up by more than a foot. A clear sign that they thought enough is enough.

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A Rosy View

dsc_0217Here’s a nice view on our second 2014 batch of rosehip jam, made from 2.7 kg or rosehip marc, made from 4.5 kg of rose hips. We foraged for the rose hips in and around the local Bunny Park and connected meadows around the Grand Union canal and the river Brent, paying the ultimate sacrifice in blood and loss of skin.

There’s a blood price to pay collecting them, and there’s another price to pay in preparing the jam, as the process isn’t exactly straight-forward. Rewarding though; we love the fruity silky jam on bread or toast, as a vanilla ice-cream mix-in, or as freshly churned rose hip ice cream.

Click here for the recipe: http://food.gauweiler.net/index.php/recipes/34-rosehip-jam

 

A Productive Year

20140905173906The garden has been very productive this year. We have many, many more raspberries, tomatoes, peas and beans than every before, plus all the herbs, several batches of leaf lettuce three mini-pomegranates and five olives. Only the courgettes were better in previous years.

We enjoyed some of the runner beans when they were green, young and tender. A good amount of those is still in the freezer. I harvested approximately 1/4 of the remaining beans today, after deciding to let them grow into real beans. The girlish colour-scheme aside they look marvellous, don’t they?

We also made Blackberry jam, Mango jam (with late Indian mangoes) and two batches of yummy Tomato Jam.

Not bad for a tiny suburban garden, methinks.

Harvest Time

broadbeans

Over 1400g of broad beans, after shelling. Pretty good for a tiny area, less than one meter square.

I’m mighty pleased with this harvest, especially after finishing removing each bean’s outer skin.

We enjoyed a summer vegetable garden soup with crispy grilled belly of pork yesterday.

 

Banana Republic

DSC_0359It’s official! The United Kingdom of Great Britain is on its way to becoming a genuine Banana Republic.

Not that I ever had any doubt, but we are now growing our own, which I would have never thought possible.

We are proud owners of a Banana in bloom.

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