summer

not that i want to wish my life away, but it looks like summer is nearly over……thank god……

looking back over my photos, i don’t seem to have done very much, other than a very stressful trip back to the UK and then 2 weeks recovering not a lot has happened…but here’s a little snippetaubergine bee building cake carrots cherries flower1 flower2 flower3 kiwis snooks swimming tart toms woody

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an odorous task

I’ve harvested the garlic and onions, firstly I want to say how bitterly disappointing both these crops are, when I lived in England I had an allotment which was heavy clay, with easy access to all kinds of manure, everything flourished, esp. the garlic and onions. I had never had a problem growing these basic crops, until, that is I came to Portugal. Despite my efforts to get nutrients into the soil, other than the first year here (land had been fallow for quite a few years), I have yet to have a successful crop, by successful I mean enough onions and garlic to last the whole year. I had always grown onions from sets, sowing in late Autumn, this year was the last year for that. All the sets I grew went to seed,

onions seedwhich made up over half my crop. The rest were plugs bought from the market and planted in early spring, these did not go to seed.

onions

So, from now on I will either try and grow my own plugs or buy from the market. Gone to seed onions do not store at all, whilst you can cut off the seed head, get rid of the head and cut the stalk up and saute in butter (very delicious), they will not grown anymore. I had to skin and chop 7 kilos of onions, with the idea of freezing them…….having been given a lot of ziploc bags recently (again, generous friends from Canada) I decided I would double bag all these onions and put them in my freezer……..bad move……i had to take them out and quadruple bag them and they still smell and are stinking up all my fruit, so they’ve gone to live in my friends, mostly savoury freezer, they said they don’t mind, they may change their minds, in retrospect, I should have wrapped them in smaller portions in tin foil and then bagged them……..the freezers here at the farm are still stinky.

The garlic again has been disappointing, I gave up with my experiment of growing my own from my own seed (see previous blog entries) and bought some teeth (as they call them here), they’ve not done too badly but again alot went to seed.

garlic

Lessons learned:

don’t grown from sets from here (they are probably not heat treated)

don’t plant too early

don’t plant too late

don’t let plants get cold

don’t let plants get hot

what a faff!!!

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from plant to plate

this year we have had our first blueberries, which is very exciting, they are very happy down in the fruit meadow, so we may get rid of some of the less productive fruit (blackcurrants) and replace with blueberries,

today we had blueberry pancakes with maple syrup, such a perfect combination and only made possible by dear friends from Canada…….

pancake

As mentioned in my previous blog entry we’ve had a lot of lemons to deal with, the final thing that got made was this yummy lemon tart, definitely worth a go

lemon tart

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cherries, lemons and other stuff

we have been blessed with the biggest cherry tree in the world, it was one of the only fruit trees that came with the farm, it’s quite old…….it’s also protected by the house now

cherry treeso despite very late frosts which ruined any chance of newish cherry trees from having any fruit, the big old one was not affected…….and then it also rained alot and the sun came out and it rained alot again and the result was masses of very very juicy cherries………we’ve eaten alot and I’ve made some jam and the rest have been made into cherry pie fillings and frozen for those long. cold winter nights when cherry pie is such a cheering thing to have……

cherries

Whilst our citrus trees continue to produce and flourish, there isn’t always enough to justify picking what there is and making things like lemon squash, so sometimes I get them from somewhere else, last week I got about 150 from various sources, so have been busy (with the help of willing guests)

zestzesting and juicing….some of it is going straight in the freezer to be dealt with another time. I’ve also made lemon curd and lots and lots of lemon squash and lemonade

With the days being rather too hot for me, i’m finding that I am still outside working at 9.30 at night, after watering and picking for the next days meals, I spend the last bit of light picking loganberries, they are prolific again this year and we are now at the “giving them away” stage as the freezer is nearly full and we’ve still got the tayberries to go.

logan

log

I pick some strawberries everyday for our smoothie in the morning, it seems unlikely that we will freeze any this year as we keep eating them!!!

strawberries1

We’ve also had out first blueberries, not many but they are new plants, we’ve had a couple of handfuls so far, hopefully next year will see more

blueberries

I’ve done a first thinning out of carrots and parsnips, the parsnips I transplant using a giant stake to make sure all the root goes into the hole, they never really take as well as the seed sown ones but I hate to waste them, they always look very sad for a while, but perk up in the end

carrots

The beans are a bit pathetic, the tomatoes, peppers and aubergines too. The salad beds have either gone to seed immediately or not amounted to anything apart from one little bed of rocket and the occasional lettuce thats sort of doing ok, I haven’t taken any pictures because I am ashamed and embarrassed!!! It remains to be seen about the squash, broccoli, kale, sprouts and beetroot. I will do a short post about my garlic and onions soon, onwards and upwards

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poppies

pop1 pop2 pop3 pop4 pop5 pop6 pop7 pop8 pop9

 

and our outdoor bathroom under the kiwi’s

outdoor bath

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springtime

apparently we’ve had the coldest March for 31 years and I suspect we will have had the wettest April for ages too, by the time it’s over.

riverWe’ve had a lot of rain this year, quite a lot of flooding and landslides but despite the dreadful weather, the wild flowers are amazing and my garden has never looked so good at this time of year.

arti

I sowed some peas at the same time as the broad beans, about October time and although I have never done this before, they seemed to have survived the winter and are now producing actual peas, the broad beans have masses of flower too but are looking a bit beaten down by the endless rain and then winds, but they are still alive and podding up nicely, maybe by the end of the week we’ll have some with our favourite dish….

peasbroad beans

the purple sprouting broccoli has been the plant that just keeps giving, so much that I am giving it away, it took ages to do anything, had to be staked, has got so tall but now they’ve got going, there’s no stopping it

broc

the other thing I’d never done before was to grow some winter lettuce, this too has been prolific, I kept it fleeced over for the very cold months, it’s done really well and has supplied us all winter

salad as has the coriander

coriander

which I have been amazed at as have my friends, who have all benefitted.

The asparagus, as I could have predicted has not done so well, I think I disturbed it a bit last year, so I’ve only got myself to blame, but I’m grateful for the small amounts we have had, I shall be moving the bed this year and starting some new ones, they are 7 years old after all.

Potato obsessed husband has planted almost an entire field of the things

potatoes

Aside from all the foody bits, the flowers are very blue and some are yellow and orange, they’ve been out all winter….weird

iris

hyacinthborageflowers

Now, we would like it to stop raining, please, just for a bit and only at night, thank you

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winter wonderland

 

snow3 snow2 snow1 snow and sunsnow4 snow5 snow6

snowdog

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