Friday, 19 December 2008

Christmas is coming!

Another week and it will all be over. I trimmed the chillies off the stems today, and found I have just 100g, so I feel another chilli jam batch in the making. I'll have to buy the tomatoes for this lot, but I still reckon some jars will make good Christmas pressies.
Talking of Christmas pressies, our gardening club had a wonderful seasonal get together at Nicola's. She went to a lot of trouble to give us a wonderful time. We all took along a secret santa pressie, then lucky dipped from the bag. I was lucky enough to get a card book, with address and date organiser.
We were pleased to be eating some of our own produce. Nicolas roasted some celeriac chips, grown by Amanda from plants provided by me. We also had my chilli jam, Amanda's chutney and Nicola's beetroot relish. Everything was delicious, and we felt a real sense of pride. Next year, onwards and upwards!
We will be digging up the parsnips in the next couple of days, hopefully we will achieve Dans' wish of home grown roast parsnip for Christmas Day. I will also serve some of the frozen beans, and use the last of the beetroot for salad later in the day.
Once we get to this time of year my fingers get itchy and I feel as if I have to plant. This year I've already got some broad beens in to overwinter in the greenhouse. I bought some Aquadulce Claudia, the hardiest one which can be planted directly out side in Novemeber, but due to a spell of ill health they stayed in the packet. Not to be deterred, I soaked 12 beans in water overnight and sprouted them in the seed sprouter, They took around 5 days to show root, then I potted them up, 3 to a 6 inch pot, and stood them in the cold greenhouse. Yesterday I noticed 4 are showing above ground. I will grow them on ondercover and plant out when they are a good size and conditions are reasonable.
There is a trial going on by some of the members of the Grapevine Forum, planting tomatoes on 27th Dec, a good day if you plant by the moon. Obviously a challenge to keep the plants stocky and healthy, athough as I usually plant 2 weeks into Jan, hopefully I will manage the extra couple of weeks.
I noticed today when I got out the car that my garlic is finally shooting. It has taken it's time, but hopefully has been busy underground producing a strong root system. The are a number of self sown calendual (pot marigolds) growing in the same place, so I think I will thin these, but leave enough to provide colour in the spring. I really want to grow enough to make Sarah Raven's Calendula Hand Ceam!
I am dying to prune the grapevine and have a tidy up, but I need to take things easy as a recent fall at work serious jolted my neck and aggravated my osteo-arthritis. I am following the physiotherapists advice in the hope I am fit enough for a good growing year next year.
In case I do not post again before the day, Merry Christmas and a Happy and Successful New Year.

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