At last September is here, and our intrepid Wwoofers have arrived – Caroline (left) from Sweden, and Bettina (centre) who has hitchhiked all the way from Austria (again)!. We love having people here – it is great to hear their stories, and the feeling of community is lovely. Unlike last year we are lucky enough to have indoor workspace in the big polytunnel, which the girls have been tidying up with Claire, getting ready for winter produce to be planted out. A big seed saving operation is also underway so that we have plenty to plant out in the spring.
One of the major tasks that we have to deal with is weeding and mulching – the warm weather has been great for growing vegetables, but the side effect of that is that the weeds grow so fast too. Of course we can’t use chemicals to keep them at bay, so will be relying on cardboard and straw mulches to maintain clear ground around all the fruit bushes and young trees. It turns out that we have loads more raspberries than we suspected.
Something that we were really keen to start was preserving produce for the winter months, so, jams, pickles, things like passata from tomatoes, drying our garlic and onions properly. The learning curve is a bit steep, and it seems to take huge quantities of produce and time, but the end results are really satisfying.
So here is tuesday’s bounty – runner beans, borlotti beans, peas, onions, basil, yellow and green courgettes, cucumbers and tomatoes., and here’s some of it after being preserved –
So we’ll be experimenting, and chipping away at the courgette mountain, although with a hungry crew to feed, that shouldn’t be too much of a problem, and we are aiming to provide at least 70% or more of our own ingredients at every meal now, which not only saves money, but is extremely satisfying.