I personally haven’t done an enormous amount in the garden this year. My lovely assistant has been doing some pruning of shrubs and started on the apple trees (which are only 2 years in the ground, 1 year for the rootstocks).
In our raised beds in the garden we have a lot of garlic, which is the mixed pack from Seeds of Italy, planted…I’m not quite sure when. But it has taken advantage of a few weeks of warm weather recently and shot up. We’ve planted at the closest possible spacing and probably a bit less, planning both to lavish any necessary feed and water, and also to “thin” for small single bulbs as soon as possible/needed. The garlic shares that bed with wild strawberries, which seem to be doing quite well.
The second bed now has the perennial brassica seedlings (Daubenton seedlings, Asturian Tree Cabbage, and Spis Bladene – it’s interesting how different from each other the plants are) and four tiny PSB plants, all protected from our feathered friends with some netting over wire hoops. We also put the netting over the remaining row of rainbow chard in the hope of getting a bonus pick or two in the spring. In the end of this bed the Siberian purslane is still going strong…
The third bed contains cardoons and globe artichokes and fennel which has been cut down. It’s not very pretty so there are no photos of that.
Elsewhere in the garden are the mushroom logs…not much to say about them just yet. Soon it will be time to sow a few seeds, some leaves and onions to start with, possibly some chillis in February.
In the kitchen I have made (if you count December as well) Sherry Christmas Pudding and Mincemeat, which was turned in to mince pies with both sweet shortcrust pastry (Dan Lepard’s Short & Sweet recipe) and rough puff pastry. The same pastry recipe also used for Mushroom Wellington and cheese & onion sausage rolls. Last week I made chocolate & banana cake which was quite nice, but still banana-y so I had to eat it all myself and couldn’t finish it before it went mouldy, because it’s so damp, I think (very nice though, before the penicillin arrived). We’ve made numerous improvised vegetable soups and curries, and flatbreads to go with them, yoghurt, and Scotch pancakes. Ideally I would like to start keeping more regular notes of things I make so I can remember which were good recipes, so apologies if you read this and find it dull!
Finally I’m still keenly spinning: I have got through the 100g of Shetland and also one of Manx Loaghtan which I liked a lot: the fibre looks a bit odd, like very dry, slightly greying red-brown hair (like mine in fact if I spent a week in front of the hair dryer!) but when spun is a really nice chocolatey colour. I have yet to ply it though. And I have just started on some Texel which is also fine – a little more greasy in feel but I assume that’s more down to the processing rather than the wool itself. It seems more white than the previous white fibres I’ve done, which were more on the creamy side. I will work my way through my box of fibres and spin as many as I can in to yarn, knit sample squares, and when I’ve seen how they wash and am happy with them I am planning to make a stripey shawl of some simple design (I’ve never made a shawl before) as a sort of practical souvenir of my first spinning experiments. That should take me in to the summer which will hopefully be an opportunity to do some dyeing.