|Final squash harvest|
|Pile of squash plants|
|Frosted kale, should be sweeter now|
We've now started into the kale, parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks and Brussels sprouts. Some of the swedes are monstrous. I now throw a handful of neep cubes into every casserole I make. And we're still eating a large or medium-sized squash per week. The small ones are gone, but some of the remaining Marina di Chioggias are huge. The amaranth didn't quite make it to maturity. One plant was ripe and after threshing we got a medium-sized jar of amaranth. It might work in a hot summer.
|Frosted purple-sprouting broccoli|
We've also completed hedging around the perimeter of our land. Hurray! It took another 115 hedge plants: 25 dog roses, 25 white rosa rugosa, 25 guelder roses, 15 forsythia, 15 purple beeches and 10 amelanchiers. We had hoped that planting them as early as possible in the dormant season would mean better weather for hedge planting, but alas it was not so. The first day it was blowing a gale and we had to retreat early. There followed a torrential downpour that night (one inch/25 mm of rainfall in one night) to water everything in nicely, followed by a decent day to finish the planting. We also moved some rogue raspberry plants and replaced them with rogue rugosas and stuck about 30 willow sticks in the ground to bulk up the hedges.
The other exciting bit of planting came in a package from Finland: greencurrant cuttings. This is a Finnish specialty, a blackcurrant variety with translucent yellow-green berries. The flavour is said to be similar to blackcurrant but milder and sweeter. And the berries are hopefully less attractive to birds! Fingers crossed now that they will take (at least a few of the ten cuttings). I also took cuttings of our buddleia and stuck them in a seed bed.
As an experiment, I sowed some organic chickpeas - the fresh young pods are supposed to be the closest to edamame soybeans you can grow in the UK. I wanted to see how easy it was to get the shop-bought chickpeas to sprout. The answer is very easy. So that is another new vegetable on the growing menu next year.
Egg production is way down. We have six hens and only get an egg every other day at the moment! How can this be? One hen has just finished moulting, another one has just started and the three young point-of-lay hens have not quite reached the actual point of laying. So good old Mags is the only hard-working chicken at the moment - apart from Feathers who's taking his cock role very seriously. The young hens will be six months old on 1 December and hopefully our egg skelter will be filling up nicely thereafter.