August’s Bounty – Pass the Preserving Pan!

No sooner had we made our ‘Beauty Bath Spiced Apple Chutney’, than August’s harvest arrived en masse.

Suddenly every spare minute was taken up in the kitchen with the preserving pan. The Blaisdon Plums were our biggest crop, with Emma heroically creating over 100 jars of various plum based jams and chutneys for the storeroom. Continue reading

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August’s Bounty – Hail the Apple?

We’ve been quiet online last month, an indication of frenetic activity in the garden and kitchen, as harvest season started to kick in.

It all started with apples. Which may seem odd. Our main apple orchard harvest occurs in mid-September and October after all. But up by the house we have a Beauty of Bath apple tree, a variety cultivated to crop very early in August, which resulted in it being awarded a Royal Horticultural Society First Class Certificate in 1887 no less. Continue reading

Time to Fizz

The mad rush to catch up in the garden at the end of May was immediately followed by the mad rush in early June to catch the Elderflower at its sunny best.

After this year’s whopping 4kg of wild garlic pesto making, we made Continue reading

The Timeless Wonder of it all

April was unusually warm and dry, ensuring Spring arrived with a vengeance, underlining the timeless wonder of it all.

At The Secret Acre it proved a busy month recycling, creating new borders, as well as cutting the grass, planting the potatoes, planting extra successional broad beans and onions, and bottling the last of the cider. Continue reading

Torpedoes Ahoy!

honeymoon-marrows-1-sept-2016We’ve been away from The Secret Acre for two weeks on honeymoon. Before we left we took the precaution of picking and eating all the courgettes. But these buggers grow fast, and on our return we were greeted by four massive marrows already the size of torpedoes!

In August’s issue of Home Farmer magazine their advice on growing courgettes to marrow size was simply “don’t do it!” So faced with our honeymoon marrows, anyone else got any good (and preferably tasty!) suggestions?

Our first Veg

First Ever Veg - Broad Beans June 2016No sooner had we opined that our new veg bed might successfully produce some harvest after all, than our first veg duly arrived in the form of Broad Beans.

In fairness the young broad bean plugs has been gifted to us by a kindly neighbour, rather than being fully our own work, but we are still taking it as a win.

Fortunately we also happen to love broad bean pesto discovered a few years ago thanks to the services at the time of an Able & Cole veg box, and can highly recommend it to you if you’ve never tried it.

Bring out the Fizz

Elderflower 3 - June 16Our first ever step on the road to greater self-sufficiency, even before discovering wild garlic, was making Elderflower Champagne.

Once someone has shown you what Elderflower looks like, you can’t help but see and smell it everywhere you go in early June.

And what’s not to like about an alcoholic fizzy drink that is as simple as sticking it in a bucket for 6 days, bottling and drinking! Continue reading