Monday, 31 August 2015

Harvest Monday - rain, rain, rain

Look, I'm well ahead of my usual posting time today (normally scraping in at about 11pm). It's bank holiday Monday and I'm here visiting my folks in West Sussex. It's also my sister's 50th, who lives along the coast a bit in Brighton.
It's great here as you've got the South Downs running along on one side, and the sea (English Channel) on the other. Usually my visits are packed with seeing my brothers and zillions of nephews (big family) but most of them are away at the moment, so my mum and I fitted in a short walk through the Downs on Saturday morning before the rain set in. Now, I'm used to walking lots in Norfolk (which isn't flat like everyone thinks) but walking in the hilly Downs definitely gets your legs working! The views are amazing, looking back across the town down to the sea. I took photos but they're trapped on my camera, darn.
Yesterday I headed over to Brighton to see my sister, and a whole gang of us got the train out and went for a much longer walk through the hills, earning our pub lunch at the end (I had falafel burger, which was very good). The expected rain didn't come until very late evening, when there was a storm, but I was back at my folks by then, phew.
Today it's raining.... again. Here's a picture from my folks' house, you can just about see the lower Downs through the rain and cloud. On a clear day you'd see more behind them too.
But on Saturday before the rain It was quite bright. I like looking around my mum's garden at the food she's growing. When I was very little she grew tomatoes in a greenhouse and I can really remember the distinctive smell. They had an old apple tree too and a veggie patch. But as times changed the Greenhouse, apple tree and veggie patch went. Having footballs kicked all over the place wrecking the garden probably didn't help! But in the last few years the foody plants have been creeping back in, I like to think my attempts at growing have encouraged this. We did also go to the 'pick your own' farm quite a lot when we were kids and my mum now takes my nephews there too.
I'm quite jealous of this pear tree she's got in a tub, plus she has a nice plum tree, an apple tree and a big gooseberry bush. She started growing annual veggies like toms and chard but the local fox population like to dig, poo and wee all over the place, which had put her off that, which is a shame. Oh but she does grow runner beans behind the shed - I'm always amazed how well they do considering it must be quite shady there, squeezed between the fence and the shed.
Not ripe yet unfortunately, I'd like to try one!
So back in Norwich the past week has been very rainy too. I haven't been to the plot much, just to pick what's ready and look for slugs etc.
In the lean-to the toms are mostly doing ok but a few have a bit of blossom end rot and a couple were being nibbled by a slug or snail, climbing up the glass at night to reach them. Still it wasn't too bad damage.
But the heavy rain made loads of drips through our leaky lean-to roof.....the extra weight caused one of my tom plants to collapse - the supporting twine broke. I had re-used some twine from last year that was still hanging down from the roof - won't be doing that again! I think if it was new twine if would've been ok. I managed to rescue most of the plant though.

Meals this week have tried to make the most of the summer variety, like this mixed curry thing
And when we've been in a rush, posh beans on toast are handy....fry your veggies of choice a little first and then tip in a tin of baked beans, easy peasey.
On Wednesday, after heavy wind and rain there'd been some more windfall apples - the red ones are eaters and the others are cookers, small but tasty.
I'd popped to the plot in my lunch break from work that day as I hadn't been down for a few days. There weren't any massive marrows but a few little courgettes. The yellow one below and round one from the pic above were given to me by a fellow allotmenter. I had a few little cukes too.
I had Friday off work to get some things done before heading off to my folks, and took a trip to the plot.....Well, more apples had started to fall off and many still on the tree had damage so I reckoned they might rot too much if I left them until after the long weekend.


So I picked the majority of them that came away from the tree easily and left a few on. Then I had the dilemma of what to do with the them all, so chopped them all up and mixed with the blackberries just picked plus more from the freezer to make stewed fruit. There wasn't time for them to cool before I had to leave though, so I had to put them warm into freezer in tubs....not ideal.


I also picked a load of other things which might either get too big over the weekend or would spoil. It was more than I was expecting! We've been eating some of it over the weekend at my folks.

I also had another big bowl of toms - these I put in a double paper bag in the fridge (though I wouldn't normally keep them in the fridge) and brought a whole load to my folks, which have been going down well. My Dad's been eating toasted tomato sandwiches each day, so much nicer than the supermarket ones they buy.
Here's the huge vat of fruit, with some apples done separately (I added cinnamon and ginger to them both) and the toms
I have to go back to work tomorrow so it'll be a surprise pop to the plot afterwards to see what's been happening over the last few days (if it's not raining), maybe my dwarf beans will have got going, ooh. That reminded me, I did pick some runner beans this week too, from the back garden but didn't photo them.
Sorry for the huge post, that's what happens when you have a bit more time on your hands!




  1. I'm glad your tomatoes survived the minor disaster and it looks like your getting lots of vegetables from your plot. Your mom's pear tree in a tub looks really healthy and it's set lots of fruit.

    Love your pictures of West Sussex, quite beautiful and lush but the rainy weather reminds me that fall is just around the corner.

    1. Thanks Phoung. I've come back to lots more toms, hopefully will pick them tomorrow. I'm impressed with the the pear tree, she says it's the first year it's had fruit. I wonder if the roots start growing into the soil underneath - my rhubarb in a pot has done this.

      West Sussex is very pretty, not really very well reflected in my rubbish pics. Brr yes tonight is very cool and autumnal feeling, it's on the way.

  2. Cinnamon and ginger fruit sounds fab. I don't know if it's the cinnamon or the wet August Bank Holiday Monday which is turning my thoughts to Christmas. It's a pity your mum has problems with foxes in the garden. At least she has a wonderfully fruitful pear tree. Wishing you a safe journey back to Norfolk.

    1. Hi Sarah, nice to hear from a fellow Norfolk blogger. Le Grys Farm looks amazing! Wonderful wildlife.
      Yes it definitely feels like there's been a shift towards autumn and ultimately Christmas (surely it can't be that time already). Though 'they' reckon we might get a nice September.
      Thank you, the journey went smoothly, Normally I get the train down to my folks but shared a lift this time which was handy.

  3. I need to have another go at growing fruit trees. Any idea what variety that one in the tub is? BTW, we have had rain, rain and more rain too. Not good gardening weather - and especially bad for outdoor tomatoes and chillis!

    1. Hi Mark, I asked my mum but she can't remember, sorry. She got it from a magazine offer, 'buy two fruit trees get one free' type thing. She loves a bargain! I've inherited her thriftiness for sure.

      I popped to the allotment after work today, the weeds are enjoying all the rain! More forecast tomorrow. I can't think of any helpful suggestions for your toms and peppers! A giant poly tunnel over your whole garden??!

  4. Happy Bday to sis. Ooh, I love beans on toast (my ancestry is back that way, so lots of beans on toast over the years). We're going into a week of very high temps so some rain would be nice ...

    1. Thanks Susie! Beans on toast are a regular meal in our house, hehe. Maybe one day I'll make my own from scratch, that would be cool. I did make tomato ketchup once but it took ages and I only got one bottle after all that effort.
      We'd been wanting rain here for so long, now it's decided to come at once. Yesterday was torrential downpours in Norfolk with flooding (it had cleared by the time I got back fortunately)

  5. Lovely harvests. And that pear tree of your mother's does look great. We could really use some of the rain you have been having. It has been too dry of a summer. Well except June where we had plenty. I keep hoping for a change in the weather patterns. We often get that in September as the tropical storms move up north, but so far no luck.

    1. Thanks Daphne, it's amazing there are so many pears on such a small tree. Mind you, my dwarf apple trees have started to be more heavy croppers now, though they're a bit 'fuller' than my mum's pear tree, and a few years older.
      Fingers crossed you get some rain soon.

  6. Sounds like you had a wonderful time on your visit! And you still had time to pull in a great harvest - of course, my eye was drawn immediately to the corn - yumm! I'm always amazed at how well some people can grow things like fruit trees in tubs. I wish I could do that - it gives you so much freedom to basically have a tree anywhere you want - even on a patio! My issue is usually about overwintering as we don't have a good spot for that...well, that's if I could keep it alive over the summer. So far my figs are doing ok, so maybe I'm getting a little bit better at the whole potted plant thing.

    1. Thanks Margaret, it was a nice visit and a bit more relaxed than when all my nephews are around! Quite often I time a visit with when one of my brothers is there visiting too, with his two boys and we all squeeze into my folks'....then my four other nephews that live locally come round and sometimes the other two and my niece, if they're about phew!
      The corn was getting a bit past-it unfortunately by the time we ate it. Though my mum and dad enjoyed it, to me it didn't taste half as good as the recent ones I've eaten.
      Yes, pot-growing fruit trees seems to work really well for some people. But if you want to move them around I think you need to be careful they don't root out through the bottom of the pot. I have rhubarb in a pot that's not going anywhere! Which is probably good as I'm not very attentive to things in pots outside, so if it wasn't growing through it probably would've dried up ages ago.
      Figs sound great - after Sue Garrett said about growing one in the lean-to I've been pondering growing one just outside in a pot. My allotment friend has saved me a rooted shoot from his tree...hope yours does well!

  7. Your posh beans sounds like a recipe my family will eat. Easy for me, too. Thanks for sharing!