Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Wild Flowers

Wild Flowers

April's attempt at growing wild flowers was only partly successful so I'm having a more concerted effort for this Autumn. April's attempt can be seen here.

The main area that failed was behind the pond where I just cut the grass very short, sprinkled flower seed and then lightly covered with compost:

Today, I have just finished digging this same area over and sprinkling seed because the grass out competed the flower seed. April's attempt produced about 6 stunted Corn Cockle flowers. This time the grass will have a hard time competing with the flowers because the Corn Cockles and Poppies will have a big head start as they will germinate now and be small established plants by the spring.

The same area from two different angles with the Katy Apple tree at one end. The turf has just been cut into squares and then turned over. The other area that I turned over the turf, back in April, ended up working excellently.

A thin strip of turf was upturned to test. It worked so well that I will now dig over the area to the right and expand this bed by 5 or 6 times the size.

This photo was taken when the flowers were probably not at their very best but still very nice

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Apples and Plums

Apples and Plums

Back from a canoeing holiday and the first job was to pick some produce ready for the Alford Country Market. 

The tomatoes are ripening slowly, a bumper crop but ripening is a bit slow this year. We decided not to sell any tomatoes as they are so tasty and at present there aren't enough to sell as well as to eat but we did manage to find 5 or 6 courgette and some New Zealand Spinach as well as a load of Pentland Javelin potatoes.

Raspberries were a bit thin on the ground, not enough to sell and nor were the plums because the tree is a bit young and the wasps have had half of them but I did manage to get 4 Victoria plums which are very tasty and keep us hoping for the future with these.

The Apples are becoming ready. One of the trees has produced about 30 lovely looking apples, very crisp and medium sweet but until we dig out some paper work we can't remember what the variety is. The kids love them though. The Apple tree "katy" is also about ready with a similar amount of apples but not harvested yet.

Not all of this mornings harvest by a long way but a selective sample. The Apple tree was 2 years old when we planted it in 2013 so I think to get 30 Apples after 4 years is pretty good.

About 15 kg of harvest this morning.

Monday, 10 August 2015


Chokeberry (Black Viking)

I've planted a few different berry bushes to try and see what they are like but the Chokeberry sounded like a good bet. 

One small bush was harvested today, 230g of berries.

They look and are a similar size to Black Currant but the taste wasn't as good, and to be honest not particularly nice. I can see why they haven't taken off but the future may prove them to be good jam making berries.

As far as fresh fruit to eat goes, I've eaten 3 and don't plan on eating another one until next year. Just not worth it.

Black Currants in the yellow container, Chokeberry in the punnets ready to sell at Alford Country Market.

The Black Currants are for Jam.

The Chokeberry is high in antioxidants and according to Wikipedia is made into wine in Lithuania and flavoured tea in Poland. Also used as a fruit in bread and turned into juice. The berries can be used as flavour or a colouring in yoghurt. They are often marketed for their antioxidant properties. They are semi sweet and astringent and the name is derived from the fact that the tannins pucker the mouth like Sloe berries.

They are far better tasting than raw Sloe berries and can easily be eaten raw by people who like things a little sour. They are often used as ornamental bushes.

Dried and used as a tea sounds like a good option.