heart spring wreath
Heart Shaped Spring Wreath

Mrs Garden Posts made a beautiful spring hanging basket and wreath this week.

She constructed them by bending twigs into the desired shape and tying together with twine. She then covered parts of the shape in moss before tying in a number of primrose, daffodils, hyacinth and grape hyacinth.

It looks fantastic hanging on the shed door.

spring hanging basket
Spring Hanging Basket

This is the circular shape wreath. Instead of putting it a table, we attached hanging basket chains and hung it up outside on a hanging basket bracket. It makes a lovely change from the usual spring hanging basket.

To maintain it, we just spray some water over it every couple of days.

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parsnip chips
Parsnip Crisps

Whilst clearing one of the veg beds today, I realised I had missed a parsnip whilst harvesting. It’s no record breaker, but its all mine.

This one will be very thinly sliced, layed out on a baking tray, sprayed lightly with olive oil, then popped in a low oven.

Lovely parship crisps will be on the menu tonight.

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cucumber germinationCucumber Germination

This is what my Cucumber Telegraph and Crystal Lemon Cucumber look like just 7 days after planting them.

To germinate these cucumber seeds, I planted just one seed per small pot in a general seed compost. Each seed was placed ¼ inch deep, against the edge of the pot.

The compost was moistened by placing the pots in a tray of water for 5-10 mins.

The pots were then put in a heated propogator in the greenhouse. The propogator was set at 20 degrees. Light was not excluded.

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February Snowdrops
Snowdrops (Galanthus)

It’s lovely to see bunches of snowdrops around the garden, all ready to spring open.

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Snow Garden
Gardening in Snow

Well dispite the best laid plans of doing some work on the vegetable beds today, I’m not sure a great deal of gardening is going to get done in this snow.

Time to build a snow scarecrow instead me thinks.

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fresh leeks
Fresh Leeks

Having had enough of turkey and Christmas pudding, today was to be soup day.

The day started by pulling some delicious looking leeks. They weren’t huge, but there was enough.

The leek and potato soup recipe we followed, was based broadly on Mary Berry’s vichyssoise recipe.

Ingredients – (Serves 4-6)
- 60g (2oz) Butter
- 3 Large Leeks (straight from the garden if possible), Trimmed and Sliced
- 1 Small Onion – Chopped
- 2 Potatoes – Coarsely Chopped
- 1.25 litres (2 pints) Chicken Stock
- Salt & Black Pepper


Method

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion and leeks and cook gently for 10 to 15 minutes. Stir occasionally until soft but not coloured.

leeks and potato soup 1
Leek, Potato and Butter Melting in the Saucepan

Add the potatoes, stock and season to taste. Bring to the boil. Cover and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are tender.

Puree the soup with a blender or food processor until smooth.

leek and potato soup 2
Serve Generously into Bowls

If you like, why not add some home-made croutons:

Croutons

- Cube some stale or day old bread
- Place on a baking tray
- Spray lightly with olive oil
- Season to taste
- Put in a pre-heated over at 180 degrees Celsius for 7 or 8 minutes.

leek and potato soup 3
Add Homemade Croutons and Enjoy

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frozen apple bud
Frozen Apple Bud

The hard frost last night provided a fantatsic looking winter wonderland at Garden Posts this morning.

frozen kale
Frozen Kale

frozen lavender
Frozen Lavender

frozen trees
Frozen Landscape

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green tomato chutney jars
Green Tomato Chutney

The tomato harvest was really excellent this year. Consequently we had a huge amount of green tomatoes left on the plants as the weather began to turn wet and cold.

So, green tomato chutney was to be on the menu this autumn.

We started by stripping off bowlful after bowlful of fruit and here is the green tomato chutney recipe we used.

Ingredients
Green Tomatoes – 2.5 kg
Onions – 500 g
Malt Vinegar – 1 litre
Light Brown Sugar – 500 g
Sultanas – 250 g
Salt – 4 teaspoons
White Pepper – 3 teaspoons

How to Make
1. Wash the tomatoes and cut into fine slices.
2. Do the same with the onions.
3. Place the tomato and onion slices in a large bowl and add the salt.
4. Give it all a good mix together and cover.
5. Leave overnight, which allows the juices in the tomatoes to be drawn out, which enhances flavour and reduces cooking time.

green tomato chutney recipe

The following day:
6. Place the vinegar to a large pan and add the brown sugar.
7. Put the pan on a medium heat and stir constantly, so that the sugar dissolves fully in vinegar.
8. When the mixture boils, add the chopped sultanas and leave it to boil a little.
9. Drain the juices from the chopped tomatoes and onions, that were left overnight.
10. Add the tomato and onion slices to the boiling vinegar and sugar solution.
11. Add two or three teaspoons of white pepper and mix together.
12. Allow the mixture to boil gently for around two hours. This helps in making the tomatoes and onions softer and thickens the entire mixture. Do ensure your stir the contents occasionally.

When finished, the chutney will be a golden brown colour and will have a nice thick consistency.

Now, turn off the heat and pour the chutney in jars.

Ensure you use sterilized jars for storing your green tomato chutney.
You can sterilise your jars by washing them in hot water and then placing them in the oven, which is preheated to around 280° F.
Once the bottles are sterilised, fill them with chutney. Gently tap the jars, so as to get rid of any air bubbles. When you have filled your jars, use a food wrap to cover the top of the jar. Trim off any excess wrap and place the lids on the jars.

Label jars, so you don’t forget what it is and when you made it.

Next. Enjoy with meat, cheese or just about anything else you can think of.

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Tomatoes & Peppers

Today we harvested the remainder of our tomatoes and peppers. This is just one of the many bowls full of lovely fruit we removed from the plants.

The plan is to make some chutney to enjoy through the coming months.

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Gherkin Harvest

You may remember my post in May about Growing Gherkins. Well they certainly grew well. I kept the plant in the greenhouse all summer. It was planted in a terracotta pot on the floor. It grew up to the roof and all the way down the greenhouse, and then some.

The overall harvest of gherkins was truly impressive, so we now have around 20 large jars of pickled gherkins of varying sizes. We have also used a variety of pickling methods, vinegars and spices, so hopefully we will be able to choose a favourite.

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charlotte potatoes crop
Charlotte Potatoes

Despite all the rain we have had this year, this is one of the best crops of second early potatoes we have ever had.

These Charlottes, which are one of my personal favourite second early potatoes, came out large, in great quantity and have fantastic flavour.

My favoured recipe for charlotte potatoes is just to wash lightly, chop into smallish pieces, spray lightly with olive oil, season to taste and pop in the oven. Enjoy.

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