Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Potager potterings and other meanderings

I am so enjoying having a potager again! I just love seeing those tiny, insignificant seeds that I sowed eventually emerge from the heavy soil and go on to become the tastiest, freshest veg that I have ever grown! I am currently able to make a mixed leaf salad with baby spinach, lollo rosso lettuce and winter lettuce leaves. Yum! A quick tally, for my own records as much as anything else, of what I currently have in my plot;
- broccoli, cauliflower and red cabbage, grown from bought modules, all doing fantastically well
- spinach, lambs lettuce, rocket, winter lettuce, cavallo nero, spring greens, purple kale all sown from seed and all doing well
- the dozens of leeks that I planted out from bought-in pencils are growing well
- red onion and shallot sets were planted last week and are already starting to come through
- pink/rose garlic planted
- the 'green manure' of field/fava beans that I sowed a week ago is coming through nicely thanks to the good rain that we have had in the past few days

Autumn  is well and truly here now and the nights are definitely colder. We even had a sprinkling of snow above 1800m on Sunday night but fortunately it didn't last. A much warmer spell of weather has moved in and is set to stay until the weekend. Good job, as we are still working on getting the woodburning central heating system installed. It is a complex job that has to be done right and has caused Andy some sleepless nights. Using a metre long drill bit (yes, a metre long!) to get through the thick stone walls to lay copper piping has also been challenging. But the radiators are now affixed in their new positions awaiting their pipe connections and then the woodburner can be put into position and fixed to the chimney conduit. We should finally have heating before the end of the month..... which will be nice!

On Saturday, our commune held its annual 'Fete de la Pomme', also another signal that Autumn is here! Everybody brings along the apples from their orchards which are sorted, cleaned and then put through a scratter to break them down to a pulp....
...which is then put into layers on a wonderful old traditional press ....

 .... to extract the juice...
...which is then put through a very simple filtering and sterilising system before being bottled
Bring your own bottles and you pay just €1.00 a bottle for the most delicious, fresh, untainted apple juice.... fantastic! Polly and Bruce, Suzanne, John and Kate and I all also enjoyed a delicious, convivial lunch which was put on by the commune. A great afternoon was had by all.

I have also been making the most of the end of season produce that is available at this time of year. The fig trees here have produced a great quantity of fruit so I have made fig marmalade and fig chutney which are both delicious. Friends have also give me a load of green tomatoes which I have also made into chutney. The store cupboard is now bursting at the seams.... I love this time of year.

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