Eating Our Wartime Harvest: Late October

The last of the marrows is on the kitchen table, the runner beans are drying out on their vines, the late summer lettuce has been cleared from the open ground and the rest of the harvest is bottled, dried or stored. The earth has been hoed, weeded and limed, in parts. The soil has to be fed but now it is time for these weary growers to sit back and be fed too.

Cabbage have been cleared and the ground limed.


A few weeks ago we started storing our beans, pounds and pounds of beans came in, we still have few fresh ones on the kitchen table and more still drying. We decided to bottle some of our beans in vinegar and herbs. This was something new to us and we were concerned that if the seals failed or the beans we're just a little too mature we could lose jar after jar. We opened the first of our dilly beans today, a recipe that is still popular today (it can be found here). We decided to eat it with a cottage pie, whose entire contents bar the meat (we will crack that one day) came from our garden. The pie was lovely but then Mrs O always does a mean autumn meal, winter stews will knock your socks off, and the beans? They are the most fantastic fusion ever, the tang of garlic, dill and a hint of heat from the chillies; all grown at Pig Row. You would think that vinegar would override every taste in this bottle of beans but it simply wasn't the case. We ate them raw, as the vinegar had cooked the beans, almost like a red cabbage relish but far tastier, more rewarding and even when the preserving juice ran down our chins we were smiling. This will be in our cookbook for next year's harvest.

Dilly beans with cottage pie, tastier than red cabbage.

As we carry on growing what we can over the winter months, we will keep you up to date with those bottles we will be opening, those dried herbs we have hanging and those marrows and spuds we have stacked and waiting.

You can view more on our #wartimegarden plans on twitter and through the following links:

Wartime Garden: Harvest Festival

Digging for Victory: The Guardian Blog