Tag Archives: pickle

Strength of a Seedling


Over the last few days, I’ve been checking the heated prop for seedlings. There’s a mixture of cayenne, cucumbers and tomatoes in there, so quite a variation in potential germination. This does mean that I end up fishing things out every now and again as I see green leaves. I don’t have many tomatoes just yet. I think I have a handful of wiry, somewhat leggy seedlings. The one above, looks reasonably happy and healthy for the time being. It has been named Tom by the baby sister.

Sowing seeds in pellets is useful; I don’t make a mess with compost and run the risk of Mama F’s wrath over muddy floors. However, they do have a tendency to dry out in the heated prop. I’m not sure if that’s down to the pellets themselves or the ageing heated prop. It’s certainly been cranky this year.

I am also feeling  very protective of seedlings, with there being a regular window-sill shuffle. As the weather changes, tomatoes and chillies do have a tendency to curl up and keel over.

In other news, it’s happy belated birthday to Sow, Grow and Eat: From Plot to Kitchen. I’d quite forgotten, but this book-the green one-is now three years old. This was the second of the gardening books. Well, it is part GYO and part cook-book. A third, is a work in progress. It sits on my desk, waiting for my to have the mind-space to finish it. It has been on  my mind lately, and I daresay there will be an attempt at some point to get it together. Sat here typing, I am eyeballing the cook book folder, wondering what energy and focus I need to commit my thoughts to paper. The pens, sit near by, poised to pounce. I wait for the tipping point, the mojo to dive straight once more.


As mentioned above, the book is part GYO, part cook-book. There are recipes inside for jams, jellies and preserves made using plot produce as well as the home-brew that has been made. It does rather go well alongside the yellow one.

Pickles, peppers and petals

Had to do an experiment today. THE experiment, the one that was the only reason for growing gooseberries on the plot. The experiment, that is gooseberry pickle. Amlar Achar, as it is know. Now, whilst I have a bollywood ma and pops, that doesn’t mean I know anything about Indian food and preserving. Ordinarily, I grow the produce, Ma then makes it all Indian. Today, I made the produce Indian. Searched a relatively easy to follow recipe, raided her pantry. Mustard oil, onion seeds, even the asafoteda, and that stuff honks half way to hell; it is that potent.

I have never made an indian pickle. I once asked my granny-Mum’s mum- and she gave me a recipe, taught me how to do it, but this was the first time flying solo.

The whole thing was concocted. I have learned to do chutney, and practice for that is straight forward.

I walked away from the saucepan, in something of a strop. I didn’t recognise the substance, it didn’t look like a pickle to me. But I wasn’t looking at it from the Indian perspective.

Still made Dad taste a teaspoon. And Mum tasted it with her dinner.

They are both okay. The Jar is still there.

Having left the jar, and trying to get rid of the sulk; I went to water the plot. It’s a bit hot outside, so  bit necessary. Then there is the poly tunnel; the contents need regular watering. Spotted, was a bright red cayenne. I have struggled to get chillies red in the poly. This is only the second time that this has happened. There are also the tiniest of yellow courgettes, which is nice to see.

The next nice part, was the roses.

Slap bang in the middle, is a rose called Blue moon.

Yes, it’s pink.

Lady of shallot gets into a pickle

I am yet to be convinced about the b*ng for buck, when it comes to shallots. I must have sunk dozens over both the autumn period for over wintering, and then quite a few in the spring. This is my third, fourth year of growing them; and I am erring towards the not sure, should I really bother?

The tray of shallots has been sat in the Wendy house since they were lifted and drying therefore for a while. Waiting, as I tried to work out what to do with them. Did a bit of research as to how they could be preserved and pickled. Traditionalists would have brined the shallots first, so as to retain the crunchiness. That’s fine, I just didn’t, in this case. I was wary, that whilst I had two jars. There wouldn’t be enough shallots to fill them both. The jars were sterilised-kept damp and then stuck into the microwave for a minute or so-and then shallots put into one of them. On the outside, shallots are not particularly attractive. Look like diminutive, wrinkly, tan coloured onions. Only when you remove the peel, do you get this fleshy pink creature beneath. I sat there for a good half a hour-tears streaming, no one had informed me of their eye watering nature-before Mama H took pity on me and sat down next to me. Decided that she could help, and peeled the baby onions.

Onions. That’s another thing. I have never known such a small sized harvest. Again, I despair. Hundreds and hundreds were planted. In the gallery, they do seem to be the same sized as shop bought pickled onions. These were put into both of the jars. The jars were still not looking full.

Next came the garlic. A bit of a last minute idea. I rather like pickled garlic, one of those things you get in a certain Portuguese restaurant with olives, so why not have a go. Raided the four tier blowaway, where the garlic has been drying. Retrieved about five large fleshy white bulbs. Again, Mama H took the lead, and peeled them as I was going far too slow for her liking. The garlic will most likely take some time to become pickled. The combination of these was probably not a good idea. Alas, we shall see what happens.

The next thing that may well be pickled will be the jalapenos and chillies that are in the Wendy. But that is a another story; the things have to grow first!


Yours in anticipation,

Horticultural Hobbit