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Monday, 31 August 2009

Whoopsie Another Long One!!

Well it’s the last bank holiday of the year and there was a definite change in the temperature on the Saturday and Sunday , for the first time in months I felt cold. Thankfully today on the bank holiday the temps were back up and the sky was clear and blue without a cloud insight.

Saturday disaster almost struck, I fell off the garden bench not far a stumble really, my camera was in my hand and in use at the time and got damaged. I was able to fix it but the shutter that protects the lens when not in use won’t close so now I have to be extra careful so as to not scratch the lens when its off.

In the garden I have been busy weeding a couple of beds that were getting out of hand. Other jobs in the garden all concentrated on maintenance, such as; watering, tying in the tomatoes, pruning back plants off the footpath (my youngest keeps complaining that the plants are attacking her) and lets not forget harvesting.



My onions I grew from seed should have been harvested about a month ago but excepting a few plants they weren’t bending over but Saturday I spied to flower buds so decided to get it done. There turned out to be three with buds only.
Another thing I see no need to waste my onion tops, so when I harvest I always cut off the tops leaving about 5” - 6” of stalk attached to the bulbs, I use them as you would spring onion.

My harvest of mainly tomatoes meant that I’m also cooking lots of new exciting dishes for the family. Sunday I recreated this very tasty baklava inspired dish posted by mangocheeks.

The only thing I did differently was to add salt to taste to the tomato sauce as I found it a little too sweet and I used vegan cheese instead of feta cheese. In the comments of mangocheeks posting, she advised to prepare the dish as individual ‘spring rolls’, to make the eating a little easier. I followed her advice but worrying the sauce would have soaked through I used five sheets which was too much and I think two/ three would do. I’m afraid it tasted so good I forgot to take a picture of the bitten package for you to see, I served it with couscous and garlicky perpetual spinach. The dish was a huge success and I hope to repeat it before the tomatoes are over.

Tonight I prepared another recipe from
mangocheeks blog.

Differences I made was to replace the fresh chillies in the courgette mixture with a whole Hungarian red sweet pepper and because I didn’t have any chick peas flour I used Soya flour (big mistake, I’ll explain further down). The tomato sauce I chose to leave chunky and didn’t puree, I also decided to cook the sauce with a whole chilli in it rather than add chopped up ones (have to think of the little ones tongue, both dishes still had enough heat at the end).

Now it was silly of me to forget that the Soya flour doesn’t really bind, so when I dropped the first three into the hot oil, they quickly disintegrated. To remedy the situation I spread the courgette batter onto oiled baking paper, I also lightly oiled the top and popped the tray under the grill. When the top was golden and crispy I laid another sheet of baking paper onto the surface then upended another tray and flipped it so the top was now on the bottom and the bottom was now on top (I do hope I’m making sense). I then returned it to the grill till the new top turned golden and crispy. PS the three that fell apart in the oil was drained and spread on the surface before I placed it in the grill - waste not, want not.

I served the dishes with boiled potato, sweet potato and cassava with garlicky sautéed runner beans. Hats off to mangocheeks her creations are spot on with my family’s taste buds and the dish was another winner. The tomato sauce tasted like curried green mango a dish from my home island and the differing flavours of the courgette dish’s ingredients blended beautifully.

Now for some pictures:
Crop progress;

Friday saw me netting my largest melon to support its weight.

The borlotto beans pods are beginning to dry, you can hear the beans rattling in this one.

‘The Patch’ is beginning to die back, if you look closely you can see the gems that await me.

My sunflowers have done well this year and would have done even better if I got most of them planted out on time (ho hum maybe next year), most of them weren’t attacked by the local squirrels so I looked forward to harvesting the seed heads to use during the winter to feed the birds that visit my garden. Yesterday I found evidence of squirrel munching on the first ripe seed head. So I removed it and hung it in the shed to keep it safe.
Today I finally got round to gathering and properly storing some of the seeds in the garden. The pic depicts my seed saving staple; a stool to sit on, a notepad to make my seed packets out of, sellotape to secure the seed envelope and a pencil to write the name and year.
Now for some flowers:
More sunflowers.
The garlic chives are blooming.

Today I noticed the water aven plants which are in the boggy area and were in flower late spring are in flower again.

The garden’s wildlife.
The fox cubs that were around a lot till early July suddenly disappeared for most of the summer holiday they have made an reappearance over the last ten days or so, they both look rather worst for wear and I’m sure are very hungry as they are both quite skinny (wheelie bins don‘t offer much free meals).
I disturbed this ‘Silver Y’ moth while weeding.

This ladybug has been resting at the base of this sweet corn cob for days now.

I thought this was a spider but have been told differently that it is a female ‘Leiobunum rotundum’ of the Opilione family which are also arachnids.

Seen today for the first time a lacewing larva, it was busy eating a caterpillar (sorry Maureen).
Two different stages of ‘Mid Instar Nymphs’ of shield bugs.

Well that’s it for now, I do hope you all had a lovely bank holiday weekend, now lets all wish for a great Indian Summer.

PS I've updated my Supermarket Saving Post and boy what a saving August harvests have produced.


  1. busy..busy ..busy...I think this is one of the best times of the year...although there is still so much weeding to do there is so much more to see and get on with as well...great pic of the fox!!

  2. Thanks for stopping by again Tanya, yes the garden is always busy with one thing or the other but I find the most hectic times are in the spring and again in the autumn.

    In the spring I find it easy to dedicate time to the garden because I'm eager to be outside in the brighter light and warming up climate after being cooped up in the house all the cold winter.

    But in the autumn the colder temps and gloomy days start to drive me in and then I find it increasingly difficult to do any gardening, such as clearing and tidying the beds to get them ready to for their long winter sleep which if I do achieve it makes it all the more easy to get going in the following spring.

  3. Oh Kella,
    I don't know where to start.
    Sorry to read about your camera, good job you did not crash it completely as we readers would dearly miss your photos and the colours of life they capture.

    I am so jealous that your plot was and is still graced with sunflowers. My dwarf ones have not even opened up yet. Last year, I was sunflower hopping as I had about ten of them, over 8 foot. This year nout. It's nice that your drying them out to feed the garden wildlife, though the squirrel was not on your list, I am guessing here.

    I sure like the look of your spring rolls, though they look more like a burrito tomato packages. Compact and crispy! You will understand why, when you see my version later.

    I love your innovation for the courgette pakoras, something I would be tempted to try if I had any courgettes left over.

    PS those last pictures of the beasties, are just giving me the creeps today. I don't think I want them crawling on me, so glad to see they are there with you : )

    Thanks once again, you know why.

  4. Mangocheeks my camera is like an extension to my own arms, to have broken it beyond repair would have been painful!!

    Sunflowers are such happy flowers, how can you not look out into the garden and not smile when you see those big bright faces looking back at you, they are real mood lifters. Feeding the squirrel would be ok if it didn't scoff the lot (interject here me rolling eyes).

    I'm glad you liked how I reproduced your recipes. Have you thought of running a cookery school, I think your innovativeness with food would make you a real success.

    Sorry the beasties creeped you out but for the most part they are good beasties, are you sure you don't want me to send some your way ;)

    You are most welcome, the pleasure was all mine.

  5. Go Kella, place panty hose over the sunflower heads after they have been pollinated and the seeds are beginning to grow. This will keep out the birds and squirrels, if needed sprinkle some dried hot pepper I have used this method for 30+ years, always works. Have fun!



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