Madeleine

  • Madeleine's Corner: Harvesting and Storing

    I found that last week I spent a huge amount of my time harvesting my crops, this is one of the most prolific times of the year everything is shouting ‘I’m ready pick me, eat me, store me!’ So by now your redcurrants, blackcurrants and possibly gooseberries should be harvested.

    Haxnicks Garden Products can be brought onlineYou need to pull up any lettuces or rocket that has bolted and replace them by planting out another batch to keep you going through the summer. Some carrots/beetroot may be ready, when they are small they are so sweet and delicious, if you are going to cook them, cook them briefly and the flavour that you get from them will be so much better. You can also use the small beetroot leaves for salads.

    Keep anything you have in the greenhouse well watered, although limp plants can come back to life after being watered. Watering in the evening is the best time to water as it gives the plants the whole night in which to soak it up. Last week I made, strawberry sorbet with mint, gooseberry fool, and I froze the majority of my broad beans – otherwise they were going to get too big and bitter.

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    This is a fantastic time of year, the time when all gardeners want to show off their years work, now is the time to make yummy broad bean salads, have warm new potatoes, and summer puddings galore. Weed your patches. Harvest your crops, eat them, share them or store them.

    Storing – Blanch any peas or beans and put them in the deep freeze. Freeze any berries you don’t have time to eat. You can also freeze elderflowers to make elderflower cordial later on in the summer.

    Look at your tomatoes and check that they haven’t sprouted any extra branches; otherwise all the energy into making tomatoes will go into making more leaves. So, you do this by looking at the main stem of the tomato, branches should come off that, but only 1 branch. If there are two or more, pinch out the inner branches with your thumb and index finger. Also make sure that the tomato is well secured to the plant support, by using Haxnicks SoftTie.

    I have had great problems with finding more spinach to sow as it is not readily available like a lot of herbs or tomato seeds are. This is a good time to sow more of these to see you into the autumn. How about another batch of radishes?

    Go to the garden centre and see what tickles your fancy in the way of seeds, because it would be so nice to have some winter and spring crops too.

  • Madeleine's Corner: Feast or Famine

    Well it seems to be feast or famine with the rain, watering was not an issue last week! At least here in Wiltshire anyhow.

    The peas, broad beans, lettuces are all ready for harvesting. If you have too many lettuces – give some away, they won’t last. Hopefully you have another lot coming up soon.

    If you planted beetroot, you can use some of the smaller leaves in a salad. You may also need to thin out your beetroot, cooking the little golf ball sized ones, leaving space in the ground for the others to grow. Keep the edges of your patches under control, the grass is still growing and before you know it, it has invaded your patch and is spreading weeds.

    The fruits and berries have been unbelievable. There have been so many I haven’t known what to do with them. So pick them all before the birds and slugs beat you and put them into the deepfreeze waiting until you have time to either make a jam or incorporate them into a pudding. Remember that Strawberries come out like jelly if you freeze them.

    Keep an eye on the slugs, greenfly and caterpillars. Pinch off any caterpillars, re-home the slugs, and I suppose spray the greenfly. Do it or you will lose your crops. Slugs come out at dusk, so if you are really keen take a torch. Sow some more carrots for the winter and some more basil to see you through the summer.

  • Madeleine's Corner: Glorious English Summer

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    Glorious English Summer – well it is one minute and then not the next. One is never sure whether to water the garden or will the Good Lord do it for you? Just make sure if you can help it that it is neither feast nor famine. Lack of water means that your crops such as spinach and lettuce bolt: so water evenly. Anyhow, Last week there was an awful lot of weeding to be done, if you don’t do it the weeds take all the energy from the soil and your peas turn out more like pinheads, and your carrots will never grow. Which reminds me thin your carrots, I know this seems harsh but it’s worth it. Thin them to 1 every 2” 5cm.

    I use Haxnicks Speedhoe for saving energy and time weeding, and Haxnicks Micromesh to protect Carrots from Carrot Fly (especially important when thinning out as the Carrot Fly will no doubt get a whiff off the seedlings that have been removed).

    Cover any berries you have with netting, Bamboo Fruit Cages or rig up some Birdscare or old CD’s so that the birds don’t beat you to the crop, once they discover them there won’t be any left for you. Pick and eat Rhubarb, soft fruits, lettuces, broad beans and asparagus, pick some of the small beetroot leaves for a salad. Take the last of your plants to be planted outside and get them in the vegetable patch. Sow another batch of lettuce (if you do this monthly you will get lettuces all year round), rocket and radishes.

  • Sowing Seeds in Autumn with Down to Earth author Madeliene Cardozo

    Sowing Seeds in Autumn with Down to Earth author Madeliene Cardozo

    Traditionally, broad beans must be sown before 5th November - Bonfire night - so you have a few weeks left to get ahead.  Last week, we watched our in-house author Madeleine Cardozo and her boys Orlando and Bruno sowing beans and sweet peas in Haxnicks' Rootrainers™. The broad beans have already started sprouting in the cold frame, so we are already well on the way.

    If you haven't already seen Madeleine's new book 'Down to Earth' do take a look, it is available to buy through the website.  In the meantime please enjoy this video.

    Love to grow? Stay tuned to www.youtube.com/haxnicks!

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