Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Welcome Back!!

Welcome Back..... It's time to get cooking again!!

The first of the Autumn Pumpkin Patch cookery and gardening workshops will be held this Saturday 1st October!

The Summer holidays are now well over, the garden needs a thorough tidying up so it's time to get back into action! We are still harvesting runner beans, French climbing beans and even strawberries at the Pumpkin Patch garden and the leeks we planted earlier this year are growing nicely!

This week we will have a welcome back barbecue in the garden starting at 10am.

This is a good time for your friends to join us so let them know. We'll do a little gardening take some vegetables home to Mum and Dad for their Sunday lunch!

As a special event, this Monday night 3rd October we will have an apple evening!

I have borrowed an apple press and we'll have some fun pressing apples to make apple juice! If you have some apples growing at home, collect them up and bring them along to make your own juice!

Looking forward to seeing you,

Lisa x

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Autumn at The Pumpkin Patch Cookery & Gardening School

Autumn at The Pumpkin Patch Cookery & Gardening School

When summer finally draws to a close my mind turns rapidly to the season that lies ahead. Even as I sat soaking up the late summer rays on our recent holiday, I imagined and dreamed of the misty mornings and the cool autumn sun that would soon be with us.

Summer at The Pumpkin Patch is fun, full of activity, and organized chaos with a definite lack of routine! I, however, thrive on routine and, as lovely and relaxed the summer months become, I craved the return of the comforting and familiar routines that have enabled me to keep some order and control whilst raising our five children! September, and the beginning of the autumn school term, marks the return to this order ... and I can breath a sigh of relief!!!

In The Garden

As a gardener, of course, these first few weeks of autumn bring the rewards of the long hot days digging and weeding, sowing and thinning out, potting-on and watering. The September garden can be a sorry sight, but it does still reward the faithful gardener with baskets full of summer flavours.

The beans wrap themselves tightly around their canes until the bitter end, producing and providing us with more than ample beans to feed a large family and provide us with pickles and chutneys with which to fill our kitchen shelves.

The pumpkin plants that I so carefully potted-on and planted out in May have now twisted and tangled themselves wonderfully around the garden, up canes, through the corn, winding on their way and exposing large “Atlantic Giants” – far too large to carry. Far more user-friendly are the small but attractive “Turk's Turban” and the ornamental gourds that I've always loved so much.

It's this infatuation with the cucurbits (the pumpkin family – including the cucumber – hence the name) that christened the Pumpkin Patch. A wonderful fruit, so overlooked by us, but so appreciated by our American cousins, can be used in so many sweet and savoury dishes. The big friendly pumpkin – now a symbol of The Pumpkin Patch - reminds me daily of the delights of growing my own veg, reaping the rewards and of cooking with my own produce.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

The French Kitchen Garden

I find visiting gardens an absolute delight, to compare and contrast (not in a horrible and judgmental way) with my own garden. It's fun to see how others do things differently, to reassure myself that weeds do grow in other peoples gardens too!

On our recent holiday we visited some French gardens, now they have such a magical charm...they are just so... French! This is especially true if it's the garden of one of France's most recognizable and romantic chateau!

Chenonceau not only has the most beautiful formal garden full of standard roses and lavenders but better still, it has a wonderful kitchen garden filled to overflowing with cottage garden flowers and vegetables of all sorts, spilling out into the manicured gravel walkways.

That day, I chose not to compare and contrast with my own garden but to simply enjoy the splendor of the well attended and perfect garden. And of course, when I say perfect, I mean perfect in a charming non-perfect sort of way that only a working French kitchen garden can!

Now, back in my own garden, I'm full of ideas and ready to go!

Ready to transform my little 'Pumpkin Patch' into something spectacular next spring. For now, I'm busy clearing away the tired plants that have willingly supplied us with an abundance of fresh vegetables all summer. As I clear away and stack the old plant pots I'm already planning an early start in spring, so that the beds will be full and overflowing sooner rather that later next year.

Thoughts of that wonderful French kitchen garden will keep me going for quite a while!