I find the autumn fruiting raspberries are much tastier than the summer ones. They fruit on canes they grow that year, rather than the previous season’s canes, as with the summer raspberries. Simply cut all the canes down to the ground in February and new canes will form and fruit the same year.

Autumn raspberries

The blackberries seem to be ripening much earlier than normal. Who can resist foraging for wild blackberries? Eat a few whilst you pick and take some home for blackberry and apple crumble.

Blackberry picking

For the last 10 days we’ve been picking strawberries faster than we can eat them, so I made a batch of strawberry jam today. There is absolutely nothing as satisfying as preserving fruit that you have grown yourself and the taste is sublime, compared with shop-bought jam. In fact I don’t even buy supermarket jam any more.

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I decided to investigate the first early potatoes (variety Rockets) that I planted on 9 March and discovered quite a large potato – a bit bigger than I would have liked for new potatoes, but I suspect the warm, wet weather we’ve had recently has made them grow rapidly. I dug up the first root and this was the result. I added a sprig of mint in the saucepan when cooking them and they smelt and tasted delicious!

Home grown new potatoes

I also picked another 2.25lbs of strawberries. I saved this tray from some I bought at the supermarket last year. Strawberries bruise easily and spreading and storing them like this is ideal for a longer storage time.

Home grown Hapil strawberries

I picked my first home-grown strawberries of the year today – a sure sign that summer has arrived (albeit with torrential rain storms! This variety is called Hapil and I have grown them for quite a few years now. They are the sweetest, tastiest strawberries I’ve ever eaten.

Hapil Strawberries

These are the runner bean seeds I saved from last year’s crop, ready for sowing next month. Prices of vegetable seeds have risen enormously in recent years since it has become popular to ‘grow your own’, so it is always worth saving some seed if you can.

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The lettuces I planted in the greenhouse about a month ago are growing well in the mild weather.

I have started to crop the larger leaves, leaving the plants to continue growing.

Now it’s started to get a little colder, the greenhouse has been lined with some bubble-wrap to try and prolong the life of the lettuces!