Although the seasonal tasks I had in mind involved cutting back, weeding, clearing and the like, along with making sure all outstanding pots were planted out, these are not the only tasks that demand attention at this time of year. I have barely started on my tomato chutney production and have therefore neglected regular picking of tomatoes, but soft fruit at least has the advantage of being able to be weighed and frozen immediately on picking without having to be ‘dealt with’ first. With two different varieties of blackberry, picking has continued over a two month period, whilst my double cropped raspberries are just beginning their true autumn cropping. Vying with tomatoes for their ability to glare at me until I do something with them are the pounds and pounds of cooking apples, dealt with up to now by giving them away but now requiring some preservation for my own purposes.
I do, though, have a number of jars waiting for labels to be printed – from the left tomato chutney, damson jam, quince jelly (from my chaenomeles, the ornamental quince) and damson jelly. As I write, I have several pounds of tomatoes simmering away in the pressure cooker with onions and herbs and other seasoning, to make batches of tomato sauce. So that’s a start – and tomorrow perhaps I will tackle the mountain of apples, or at least a small hill of them…
True garden tasks have therefore been minimal – but a few pots were planted out today and some thought exercised about the pump feature – namely that the ceramic sink we had in mind is sadly Too Big for this project. The Golfer has cleaned most of the rust off the pump and propped it up in approximate situ, but it remains a work in progress.
Another work in progress is replacing the gate which separates the rest of the garden from the productive area at the bottom end. As I am going to grow clematis up both sides of this archway I felt it would be more appropriate if the gate opened the other way so when it was hooked open, as it usually is, it would not be hiding the clematis.
It has been hard to prioritise tasks this week, with new projects always seeming more attractive than general maintenance or labour intensive tasks like dealing with all that fruit, but I am thrilled to be seeing progress from something I finally managed to a make a start on last Monday – sowing seeds for next season’s blooms. That’s definitely a seasonal task that brings its own rewards!
Certainly a lot of work and long hours, but such a wonderful journey.
Only a couple of hours for this, Charlie – 25 bricks an hour is my usual average…
I am pretty much doing the same thing, running from outdoor to indoor projects and back again. Just finished roasting 5 pounds (I think that is a little over 2 kilos) of tomatoes that I will freeze for soup in the winter. Tomorrow it’s back to planting the new driveway garden. But cooler temps here make both chores much more pleasant than they had been. Now to create a bouquet for Monday!
Mmmmm – I can smell the contents of that pressure cooker from here Cathy. I have similar mounds of apples, French beans, courgettes and green tomatoes to make some sort of autumnal chutney/pickle concoction with tomorrow. Great to see new shoots of growth with all their promise for a new season.
It is a much preferable smell to the one of tomato chutney which tends to linger for a couple of days. Onto that mountain of apples today seeing as it is a wet day… 🙂 Enjoy your concocting too!
Well you have been busy, love the pump
A “farm” wife’s work is never done.
How luscious to have such a wonderful harvest – and there is nothing at all like fresh raspberries…! At the moment, though, it is the last picture that makes me a bit jealous as I intended to have seeds started by now 😉 I too have been bouncing back and forth between new jobs and upkeep in the garden ; it makes me feel as if nothing is getting done, which is not quite true!
Yes, I empathise with all those feelings, Amy – but I was particularly chuffed to make a start on seed sowing as it didn’t take very long at all to sow about a dozen different things and yet I had struggled to make the time for ages. So exciting to have things germinating again – I love it!
I do think this time of year is the busiest in the garden. While there is this seasons produce to harvest it really is the start of the gardening year.
I think you are right – and it seems harder to prioritise too.For most of the summer I tended to wait for damp days to do inside tasks – but we had so few of them this year and I had to consciously decide to do some of the harvesting jobs regardless of the weather
You’ve been busy! How exciting to see seedlings peeking out. I do love making jam, not all are successful but it’s fun. Apple pie, apple cake, apple crumble, apple sauce, apple jelly? Lots of peeling and chopping… Good luck.
Yes, yummy apple cake already this week (recipe under In The Kitchen tab)! I shall blanch then open freeze the bulk of the apples I preserve. I dried a lot last year but then haven’t used many of the dried ones)
Boy, you’re making me feel guilty – as you say, all that fruit hanging there screaming “Eat me!” Coming home, I just feel “What do I do first?” Don’t quite know how to prioritise. And the decorating’s not finished!
My father used to make Damson jelly. It has the most beautiful color of all. I will share this post with him. You are a busy bee!
Oh thanks – there is indeed something so distinctive and special about the colour of damson jams and jellies. I know they have relatively more stones because of their size but with the jam it wasn’t difficult to pick them out as they rise to the surface during cooking.
That pump project is going to be grand. That corner is coming together fabulous. Your gate project is good too. Good thinking to turn the gate around. Your jars of goodies make my mouth water. They are pretty too. I bet your pantry looks beautiful.
I am always amazed by how much you do Cathy! I feel exhausted reading about it all. I haven’t started on next years flowers yet but have begun salad leaves and coriander in the greenhouse. All germinated in just a few days which is always exciting.
Same here with cornflowers, Christina – I hadn’t recorded germination times of my early sowings last year but they were up in 3 days. Mind you, fresh poppy seed was up even quicker which is a bit worrying when you think how many poppy seed heads there are in the garden!!
Good grief, you manage to pack a lot in to a short period of time! Lovely to be able to enjoy the fruits of the garden through the winter. And I am not sure anything quite beats seeing the new seedlings pop their heads up at this time of year, it is somehow particularly magical as most things in the garden are beginning to embrace Autumn.
Yes, it’s good to start the cycle again – definitely magical watching life appear from a tiny seed
Cathy, what is that on top of the soil of your sprouted seedlings?
It’s vermiculite – the last of a huge bag left over from when we had the Aga installed about 17 years ago (it was used as insulated packing inside the Aga). It’s coarser than the horticultural vermiculite you buy, but I used to put batches in a liquidiser to break them down a bit!
How productive. I always find myself running out of jars!
yum yum, delicious looking jars Cathy, hard work now but you will be glad of them later, Frances