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Sow The Seed follows the ups and downs of me, Helen and my husband, Simon - a couple trying to live a simpler life in south-west Wales.

I hope this blog will not only be a good reference and diary for us over the coming years, but will give helpful advice and tips for people trying to do the same thing, or dreaming of doing the same thing.

Find out more on how we got here.

What’s Happening Today

Tasks: Sowing; pruning; weeding; pottering

Harvesting: Cucumber, lettuce, radishes, strawberries, broad beans, potatoes

Eggs this year: 394 (hens) 317 (ducks)


Posts Tagged ‘Storing’

Sloely releasing its flavour

The hedges are starting to fill with berries, and for the first time we’ve got some of our own sloe berries from the blackthorn bushes that we let grow up in the hedge. Sloes aren’t much good for anything except of course sloe gin, but that’s as good a use as any. It’s so easy to make it seems silly not to give it a go. The recipe I use is very straightforward, and as you are flavouring the gin with the sloes we just buy the cheapest gin we can find (Tesco Value gin in our case). Read the rest of this entry »

Pickling time

This year’s glut is in full swing, with French beans, peppers (sweet and chilli), tomatoes, cucumbers and courgettes (now marrows) currently overwhelming us. There’s only so much you can eat while they’re in season, so to preserve them over the winter I’m turning some of the produce into chutneys and pickles. I’m not a big fan of pickles, but Simon is, so for his sake I’ve decided to have a go at making piccalilli. Read the rest of this entry »

Tucked up for the winter

We’ve got a good crop of beetroots this year. The sizes are pretty variable, and the ones I planted in July haven’t amounted to much, but the ones sown in March/April we’ve been harvesting since July. I wanted to have a go at storing some root vegetables this year rather than leaving them in the ground over winter. Last year I didn’t store any and even though most root crops are hardy, they didn’t cope very well with the harsh winter we had.

We’ve got an excellent book called How to store your garden produce by Piers Warren which suggests that you can store root crops in sawdust. I’d previously thought that to keep the roots moist, these crops had to be stored in damp sand or peat, but having been given a couple of sacks full of sawdust by our wood-working neighbour, I thought I would give the sawdust method a try. Read the rest of this entry »

Sprouts in September

It seems winter is approaching rapidly, and some tasks highlight the fact even more so. Chopping wood is something neither us like doing, but having received a load of wood from our friendly farmer we needed to get it split and stacked so that it could begin the long process of drying out for future use. We have plans to build a proper wood store, but at the moment we are making do with old pallets and tarpaulin to keep the rain off. It’s not ideal, but at this stage in the seasoning process, as long as the worst of the rain is kept off the logs, they should be fine. Now that we’ve got two wood-burning stoves, and plans for a third, we need an awful lot of wood to keep them going. We still have to buy most of our supplies in, but we keep our eyes peeled for possible free supplies so that we can build up our wood store for future years.

Another sign that winter is around the corner was our first crop of sprouts. I hadn’t expected to get any this early, despite the variety being an “early” type. I’m not sure how long these will continue producing for, and for some reason I didn’t plant any later varieties, so we may not have any fresh ones for Christmas Day. I’ll try freezing a few so that we have an emergency supply, although I can’t imagine frozen sprouts taste nearly as nice as fresh. Read the rest of this entry »

Potato harvest

The good spell of dry weather we had over the bank holiday weekend came just at the right time for harvesting. Not only was the local farmer able to cut his wheat field at long last, it was also the perfect time to dig up both the onions and the potatoes. Read the rest of this entry »


A "glut" of beans

One of the benefits (or maybe an issue for some) is that growing fruit & veg often brings gluts. August is a prime time for gluts, as the warm (and often wet) weather makes everything grow at a phenomenal rate. For those of us wanting to become more self-sufficient this is a bonus. Fruit and vegetables are of course eaten at their best when freshly picked, but to enjoy a bit of summer in the dark winter months, storing your produce is an important task in the gardening calendar. We bought a chest freezer last year in anticipation of a bountiful harvest (a must for anyone wanting to eat their own produce throughout the year) and we did enjoy a few runner beans in the winter last year. However, this year I’ve planted a lot more of everything, so that we can regularly dip into the freezer and hopefully fill some of the so-called “hungry-gap” with our own produce. Read the rest of this entry »

Modified version of the Summer Polaroid Pics template