>First frost?


Tonight the temperature is forecast to fall below freezing for the first time this winter, with daytime temperatures at a chilly 5 to 6 degrees and a cold north wind. We think that the plants in the garden will all be able to withstand the cold, but just to make sure we put some straw around the broad bean plants today and covered the oregano to try to delay its inevitable winter dying back.

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The broad beans are doing so well – we don’t want to lose them. The plants form the first sowing in October are in the photo on the left – they are about 30 cm tall now. In the photo on the right are the second (November) sowing of broad beans (left) and the Spanish habas. They all now have a blanket of straw around them at ground level.

And how long can the flowers last?

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The roses and the osteospermum are all still blooming … so far.

Quinces again!


Yesterday a friend brought us this basketful of windfall quinces. They are very ripe, but rather damaged by insects. As we’ve already made plenty of membrillo this year, we’ve chosen the best to use in a stew with pork or lamb. The most damaged ones we’ve used to make a spicy quince pickle to eat with cheese or cold meats.

Spicy quince pickle

1 kilo chopped quince (with the peel, but not the cores); 500 gm brown sugar; 3 medium onions, chopped; 450 ml red wine vinegar; 100 gm raisins; juice and zest of a lemon; a 3cm-piece of ginger, peeled and grated; 2 teaspoonfuls cinnamon; 1 tablespoonful ground coriander; 1 heaped teaspoonful paprika (or more if you like); 1 teaspoonful salt.

Put all the ingredients in a large saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for about 1 hour covered and 1 hour uncovered. Put into sterilised glass jars.


The pickle has a lovely colour and smells and tastes deliciously of quince. It scented the whole house while it was cooking!

7 thoughts on “>First frost?

  1. >Your winter is well under way too then. Our broad beans look good, they shouldn't mind a bit of frost. We've so far brought them through every winter without protection. What are Spanish habas?

  2. >My that quince pickle sounds delicious. That's one fruit that always puzzles me. Perhaps it's just because I often confuse it with persimmons. At any rate, I hope you get some herbs before they freeze. We've had a few winter rains that make the weeds happy and I might even see a few beet seedlings before the rabbits get them.I'm off to buy some quince…

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