Country Living Blog from Herne Cottage

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This blog has moved!! 09/04/2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — hernegardens @ 2:33 pm

Hi All

Just a quick note to say our blog has now moved to This is to be able to offer you bigger and better things in the future, more how-to’s, recipes, recommendations etc. So do come over and see us in our new home and update all your links etc. We hope to see you soon!

Rachel & Philip x


Handmade jam now on sale! 16/07/2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — hernegardens @ 5:25 pm
First jam now on sale

First jam now on sale

We are pleased to announce that we are attending our very first farmers market tomorrow armed with stock of our first batches of seasonal, fruity jam for sale!

We will be at Tring Farmer’s Market on Saturday 17th July from 9 am – 12.00 pm, Market Square, Tring. We have in stock Strawberry, Strawberry & Gooseberry, Raspberry and Blackcurrant jam.

The next dates at Tring will be 31st July, 14th August, 11th September and 25th September (which is a special harvest market).

Over the next few weeks, as the rest of the harvest becomes available, we will be adding to our collection a whole host of chutneys, jellies and other preserves. Also towards Christmas we hope to have other nature inspired gifts such as handmade soap, lavender pillows, cards and prints on our stalls. We will also be finding other markets to attend and will publish a full list of dates when we have them.

Online sales will also follow within the next few months, for those of you are not local but would still like to enjoy a taste of our jam and preserves!

We hope to see you at a market soon!!

Rachel & Philip xx


Autumn Foraging Notes 15/09/2009

Filed under: Preserving,Self Sufficiency,Uncategorized — hernegardens @ 5:55 pm
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Another thing I enjoy at this time of year is gathering all that the hedgerows have to offer, to make into lovely jams, jellies, syrups and pickles. The kitchen has never been used so much in the past few weeks!

After making some chutneys as reported in previous posts, I’ve also tried my hand at jams and jellies. The abundance of blackberries we have (garden and hedgerow) has been excellent for stocking up our storecupboard with jars of jam and blackberry liquer (looking forward to tasting that!). Some elderberries may have found their way in too! I gathered some rowan berries the other week also, to turn into jelly. The juice has been extracted (although couldn’t resist squeezing the bag to get more juice, oh well, cloudy jelly), and just have to boil up with some sugar to make the jelly. I’m told this is good with game, particularly venison, one of my faves.

Damson gin is also happily getting ready for Christmas (although perhaps not this year). I have tried two recipes, so after some no doubt enjoyable tastings, will let you know which one is best. A few of you may be thinking this is normally made with sloes, but again I am told damson gin is a worthy alternative.

Talking of sloes, I finally found some in the hedgerows last night (whilst on a lovely evening walk). They are very soft and squidgy so will be excellent for gin, but now I have damson on the go I might try and do something else with the sloes. Any ideas? They are in the freezer at the moment, so we will see what they look like when they come out.

The other thing I spied last night that I would like to make use of is lots of lovely rosehips. I’ll be going back shortly to gather some for syrup. This will be good to have in the cupboard for winter colds etc, as is packed with Vitamin C!


Getting ready for Winter

Been so busy in the garden and kitchen these past few weeks, so not much time to write. So just thought I would report quickly on what we’ve been up to in the garden to prepare for the next season of growing.

We’ve always wanted to have a year-round vegetable garden so after studying several books and magazines, the next to-do list was created for Autumn/Winter 2009.

The first thing to do was to clear away some old summer crops. The courgette plants had finished cropping at last, so they were the first to go. Then cleared away old potato tops, peas and skeletal cabbages (thanks to caterpillars!) etc. Also tidied the trailing squashes which were nicely making their way around the garden. Should have some ready for the pot soon.

Next job was to stake the taller brassicas ready for those autumnal winds. Our curly kale and sprouts are now nicely tied in and seeds sown for spring cabbages. Also planted out were the savoy cabbages I had patiently growing in modules waiting for space. Not seen many white butterflies lately to think our brassicas are now safe(ish) from harm. Just picking the odd one or two caterpillars that we see off and banish to the end of the garden!

So that left the sowings to do. In went spinach and swiss chard into the space of one bed, with radishes, winter salads, and onion/garlic filling the gaps in others. Trying to plant them bearing in mind a crop rotation system, so new sowings went into 2010 positions. Not much room for green manures, but will dig in some of our own compost later.

So all that was about two weeks ago and pleased to see some shoots peeping their way above ground today. At the end of this month, before the frosts start,  I’ll be collecting the last of the tomatoes to either ripen indoors on thier vines, or make into green tomato chutney. Yum! The next thing to do this weekend is to start to cover up the A/W crops with cloches and get those last onion sets in!