Veg Patch

To read the story of my Veg Patch in chronological order use the links in the Blog Archive

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Winter veg week

Nearly 9 months ago I started planting my seeds for the 2013 winter vegetables. Finally this week they are ready and we are starting to eat them. I planted leeks, brussel sprouts and cabbage and tended them lovingly all summer. Sadly although the cabbages survived numerous attacks from flying and crawling insects, they got very large and went to seed. 

The bed with the cabbage and sprouts in was looking very scruffy. It was covered in fallen leaves from the surrounding oaks and, there was the distinct odour of rotten vegetation in the air. Time to tidy up

I dismantled the cane frame, pulled out the cabbages and cleared away all the dead leaves. The chickens were of course, very grateful as they have been feasting on cabbage for the last few days now.  It looked much better when I was done. I left the net loosely over the top as I don't want to lose the tops of the sprouts to birds. 

We all know that courgettes are prolific in the summer but amazingly I still have one plant that is refusing to give up . 

I am pretty sure this must be the last one. There are no more flowers and certainly nothing round to pollinate them if there were. 

My other remaining winter veg are the leeks. 

Last years effort, although tasty enough were, very thin spindly affairs. This year, with my wonderful toilet roll planting system, I was able to plant the seedlings much deeper and they have certainly benefitted from that. They are all nice large plants. 

I pulled the first one of the season

Closely followed by several more

A quick trim in the compost bin

And the first leek and potato soup of the winter was on its way

Lovely it was too. 

Next job was to try and recover the seeds from plants I have dried in the summerhouse. 

I collected lots of flower heads at the end of the summer and they have been hanging in bags to collect the seeds. I opened the Calendula first. 

They had dried beautifully and actually looked rather wonderful. It seemed a shame to break them up but I have big plans for these seeds, you will have to wait until next year to find out what. 

A few minutes work and I had a large pile

The Godetia, Candytuft, Cleome, Malope, and Coriander followed

And finally in the garden a quick look at my overwintering onions, shallots and garlic. They are all doing very nicely and are being protected by a nice thick layer of fallen oak leaves. 

In other news, Gibson has this week, been working his way though the biggest bone he has ever had. We got it on our local market for him and it called a Postman's Leg. You can probably see why. 

And finally, I volunteer in a local hospice charity shop and always enjoy setting the windows. This year, Ann the manager asked me to help with the Christmas window. We have an annual Christmas fair in our town,  which is today, and part of that is a competition for the best dressed window. Well, we worked all day last Tuesday and were very pleased with the result. Amazingly  yesterday we were told that we had won.. so that means today I shall be receiving the prize at the festival on behalf of the Oakhaven Hospice. 

It is being presented by a local Tv presenter called Fred Dinenage. Older UK readers may remember him for a quiz type programme he made in the early 70's Jim says that when I see him I should greet him in the way they did on the show... Not sure I want to stand in front of loads of people and hold up my hand and say "How" like a Native American Indian... 

Watch this you will see what I mean

Well thats it. I shall finish with a picture of the winning window. It difficult  to get it all to show up properly but this one is the best. 

Have a great week


  1. The window looks great - well done.

    That courgette is amazing but hope you noticed the little one round the back too. What was the courgette variety?

    1. I am going to search out the empty packet and buy them again. I seem to remember I got them from Thompson and Morgan will let you know if I find it.

    2. Have located the packet and Yes it is Black Forest....

  2. Congratulations on wining the best dressed window. I can see why too. It looks so festive and inviting. I'm sure you'll do fine collecting your prize and you'll most probably get a nice spot in the papers too.

    Now, do you think it's a good idea to tell Gibson that piece of meat is called a Postman's leg? He just might go for the real thing next time, ha ha ha.

    May I also ask, how do you dry flowers? I've absolutely no idea but I like the ones in your post here. Thanks in advance.

    1. To dry the flower heads I simply tied the stems together and then put a brown paper bag over the heads, sealed the neck with string and then hung them by the stalk in my warm sunny summer house for about 3 months. They dried beautifully and still had colour as well. am going to try it with whole flowers next year.

    2. Thanks Lorraine. I don't have a summer house, but I'm still going to have a go by hanging it in the sunniest warmest room. Fingers crossed.

  3. I'm always fascinated by how you train your cucurbita up a pole. You inspired me to try that with some next season after I ready about your mystery seed turning out to be pumpkins! I figured if you managed it with those, and people do it with cucumbers all the time, courgettes and smaller squashes shouldn't really be an issue!

    Well done on the window! It looks so cosy and inviting!

    Your garden looks lovely and autumnal with all the lovely oak leaves working as mulch. The best thing I have to give me leaves at the moment would be the hedge, but they're all still green, so I've only got the odd fruit bush who's turned brown and fallen off. (Most of them have stayed green too!)

  4. lovely post Loraine well done on the winning window display have a lovely week

  5. Fascinating post, Lorraine. You cover a lot of ground. I can see why your window display won the prize - many professional window-dressers could learn from you! I remember Fred Dineage. Wasn't he the one who did "What's my line?" -- "Will the the real Fred Bloggs please stand up" etc?

    1. Don't know if he did "whats my Line" only remember "How" just home from shaking his hand and receiving the trophy......

  6. Excellent you are still getting some summer produce and that one courgette!