Life on the Weald - #Plot247 (and at home) December 2021
|Crown Prince squash|
|1 December - Pumpkins (Rocket)|
The fleece that I had laid over the broad beans which had been sown last month was still in place despite the strong winds...
|1 December - autumn sown broad beans|
At home, my genuine Quince tree (Cydonia), Serbian Gold, had arrived and as it was bare-rooted needed to be planted immediately. I planted it in the garden. It is currently two years old and about 1.5m tall. It should eventually grow to no more than 2 metres. I already have a Chinese quince on the allotment, planted last year, and now two years old, which is a bush variety. There are three distinct types of quince - the true quince which is a tree (Cydonia), the Chinese quince (Pseudocydonia) and the more common Japanese quince (Chaenomeles japonica), a flowering shrub found in many gardens in England. The fruits of all three are edible and similar in taste. Most years I make quince jelly in the autumn using Japanese quinces gathered from neighbours' gardens. Hopefully, next year or the year after, I will have my own genuine quinces as well as Chinese quinces to choose from.
|Bastilla - the filling|
|Bastilla - the finished dish|
I saved the Crown Prince squash for another day to be roasted on its own.
|15 December - Crown Prince Squash|
As rain was forecast, I took the Rocket pumpkins home but the stem/stalks did not seem to have fully dried out and within a few days the pumpkins began to show signs of softening. We salvaged most of them and cooked and froze the flesh for use in soups etc throughout winter.
|burying the garden prunings|
|topping the prunings with wood chips|
There was no sign of any growth under the fleece on the second Hugel bed (where I had directly sown some broad beans last month) but I rolled back the fleece on the side where nothing had been sown and planted out a few broad bean plants that I had started off indoors and grown in pots at home.
|transplanted broad bean seedlings|
An inspection of the brassica bed confirmed that we would have Brussels sprouts for Christmas. And more good news - there was a good supply of kalettes
|Straining the sloe gin|
We had been anticipating a large family gathering for Christmas and New Year but all that was cancelled due to the new variant of Covid and we spent Christmas on our own. We cancelled the order for the Christmas roast but our freezer was well stocked for the post-Christmas period and New Year. We had a variety of game so decided to make a Game terrine based on my previous recipe but ommiting the chicken liver.
|50/50 loaf with Spelt flour|
31 December: the month - and the year - ended with abnormaly high temperatures. New Year's eve was predicted to be dry, sunny and 13-15C. In some parts of the country it exceeded expectations and was the hottest ever New Year's Eve recorded in the UK. Whilst it was mild in Hove, at around 12C it remained a dank and damp day with a heavy mist and occasional drizzle - what we have come to call "mizzle" but brightened up in the afternoon.
|31 December - garlic|
I returned to the bed where I had fillied a trench with twigs and wood chips and covered it over with the soil that had been removed. I then dug a parallel trench which I also filled with twigs, prunings, woodchips and grass mowings from home and left it exposed.
|2nd trench - Hugelstyle|
|2nd trench with woodchips and grass clippings|
|Charlotte potatoes - 31 December|
I checked on the November sown broad beans by lifting the fleece and was pleasantly surprised to see they had germinated - about 4 weeks after sowing - so I removed the fleece in the hope that the mild weather continues.
|Broad beans sown at home hardening off|
|New Year's Eve - Hove Promenade 23.46|