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Fruit Hill Farm Blog

  • September Garden Ponder

    I love my garden and just like this red squirrel I think it is the perfect place to chill out.  Your garden is probably in full swing at the moment  - and now in the middle of September is a very good time to have a bit of a ponder and assess your efforts whilst there is still shape and form there to look at.  It is very easy to forget what it all looks like by next February! Make a plan – take photos You really do forget how big things grow so taking a few photos is a good idea.  After a number of seasons you can see how the garden changes of its own accord -
  • September Seasonal Table: Apples

    We are getting reports of people having a good crop of apples in Ireland this year so we thought we'd take a closer look at what we can do with a bumper harvest of apples. Apples are delicious and they are nutritious! They are a good source of fibre and Vitamin C and are extremely rich in antioxidants, although most of the apples nutrients are found in the skin rather than in its flesh so it's wise to eat them unpeeled. Apples are a pretty versatile fruit when it comes to cooking with them and using them in the kitchen. They are good at breakfast, lunch, and teatime!
  • How to make Sauerkraut

      Cabbage drill Make sure your pot and all utensils are clean before you start. Give the cabbage head a good rinse and remove any insects or debris. Remove and discard the stump and chewy parts (inside) the cabbage head. This can be done most simply using a cabbage drill. Remove two large outer cabbage leaves for use later.   Mandolin for slicing cabbage. Before placing the cabbage into the crock for fermentation, the cabbage has to be cut up - this is best done using a cabbage slicer or mandolin. Thinly sliced pieces make it easier for the juice to be
  • How to string Onions (and Soft Neck garlic)

    Stringing onions is easy and a great way to store your crop overwinter as you can keep a large number of bulbs in a small space. Hang them in a cool, dry, frost-free place - such as a shed - until you need to bring them into the kitchen. Preparing Bulbs for Stringing Leave your bulbs to dry out thoroughly before you string them, by laying them out and leaving them in the sun for a few days. If it's raining, lay them on trays in a warm, dry place, such as a shed, polytunnel or conservatory. Choose the best quality, ripe bulbs to store - any that are damp and moist should
  • Overwintering Onions and Garlic

    Overwintering Onions Autumn varieties of onions, such as Radar or Troy,  grow slowly over winter to give you a crop of fresh onions the following May or June, just as your stored onions will have started to sprout.  It is advisable to follow a crop rotation. Overwintering onions are often called ‘Japanese’ onions (because they were first developed in Japan), these can be sown outside from late September up to early November. The main benefit of growing overwintering onions is that you will have a crop of onions ready for eating about a month before your main
  • What to do with late summer surplus produce

    It's the time of year when many people can have a glut of produce in the garden. You may find you have a bumper crop of beans, courgettes, carrots, cabbage, onions or kohlrabi....well we have a few ideas of what you can do with your surplus produce. Fermentation is our favourite way of dealing with a glut of food and we have some tips and recipes for you here. We also offer some alternative options for preserving food over winter. Fermentation Fermentation is (quite literally) one of the oldest tricks in the book. Put simply, it is the utilisation of naturally
  • August Seasonal Table: Blackberries

    It's that time of the year again when wild blackberries are getting ripe and can be found in abundance growing wild around Ireland. We think that wild blackberries have an amazing flavour and we have a few tips for picking the best berries and, if you can manage to refrain from eating them all as you pick them, we have some tips on how to store them or cook them up in the kitchen! Collecting Wild Blackberries If you have small children, going on a blackberry foraging adventure is a great way of getting them to eat these little beauties which are low in energy, fat and
  • Winter Green Manures

    Green manures, also referred to as fertility building crops, are crops used to improve the condition of the soil in some way during times when there would be no other plants in the ground. They are typically dug back into the soil before the following crop to allow it to benefit from the nutrients released. A wide range of plant species can be used as green manures with different ones providing different benefits. To get the best from a green manure crop, its cultivation should be taken as seriously as any other crop and integrated thoughtfully into the crop
  • Organic Bulbs

    We don't eat daffodils or tulips so why does it matter if they are organic or not?  Conventionally produced flower bulbs are one of the most polluted crops in horticulture and are heavily sprayed with Neonicotinoids; so cultivating flower bulbs in an environmentally friendly manner can have a big impact. Organic Bulbs vs. Conventional Bulbs: Organic bulbs are not treated with systemic insecticides (Neonicotinoids) which are proven to harm bees and other pollinators. Organic bulbs are grown by farmers who create healthy ecosystems; this helps fish, birds,
  • Sprouting and Microgreens

    If you want fresh leaves  and sprouts for salads and sandwiches all year round then look no further than your own kitchen.  Sprouts and microgreens are easy to grow and will provide you with fresh nourishment even in the depths of winter. Sprouts Sprouts are quite simply the tender shoots of germinating seeds. (Not to be confused with Brussel sprouts, that popular Christmas favourite beloved by small children).  They are packed with protein, vitamins, enzymes and minerals. They are very easy to grow and can provide a valuable addition to any diet. Lovely in salads,

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