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GIY August – The harvest begins!


But first, an up-date on the war on slugs:  our little mucosy friends seem to have slowed down a bit with all this fabulous summer heat but I’m still catching them in the beer traps so I shall continue with that.

It seems that the harvest is going to be several weeks early this year. Blackberries and damsons are beginning to ripen and I’ve already made cherry plum jam, and I’ve included the recipe below.

Speaking of recipes, if you have any favourite ways of using up surplus crops, do share them with us. Please send them to  We can then add them to the blog and will print the best ones for our Growers’ Market stall.

If your surplus coincides withe the first Saturday in September, then come and swap it for someones else’s surplus produce at our Growers’ Market.  And if you find you’re overwhelmed with apples, don’t forget the apple pressings.  The dates for the 2014 pressings are now in our calendar.

The only seeds I know to plant this month are salad crops for the Autumn, especially chicory and lamb’s lettuce.

Not much else to say really except keep watering and feeding fruiting crops especially tomatoes.

You might also cut back some of your mint, which will be flowering now, and encourage it to send up fresh growth.

Eenjoy the fruits of your labours!

And now, for the jam…


Cherry Plum Jelly Jam

This is a really quick way to make use of the vast quantities of cherry plums which would otherwise go to waste, or be eaten by the birds.  Letchworth has a lot of these trees, the fruit varying from yellow through orange to dark red.  They look like a large cherry but taste more like plums – they are actually wild plums.

  1. First prepare the jam jars.  Wash and put the jars and the lids on a cloth covered tray in a very low oven while you make the jam.  This is to sterilise them.

  2. You don’t need to weigh the plums first, just wash them and put them into a large pan with a little water. Simmer till really soft.

  3. Then sieve the stewed plums or put them through a colander into another pan or bowl.  You can dispose of the stones and skin which gets left behind!  (That’s the clever bit because you don’t have to spend hours removing stones!)

  4. Now measure the liquid back into your big pan. For every pint of liquid add a pound of cane sugar. (It works better than the sugar beet i.e. Silver Spoon, which is a shame I know.)

  5. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of cinnamon if you wish. Simmer gently till all the sugar has dissolved then bring to the boil and keep the heat up, stirring frequently till setting point is reached.  You can do a “cold saucer test” for this – just spoon out a slamm amount of the jam and place on a cold saucer in the fride.  If the jam forms a skin when cold it’s done.

  6. Let it cool a little before pouring into warm jars. Cover each with a wax disc and put lids on loosely until cool.

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