Trug love with @gardening_leave via @loldeantimber

Last year Loldeantimber and I sent a hand made trug to Gardening Leave in Ayr. A trug that would help them to continue the sterling work that they do. Gardening Leave work with veterans using horticultural therapy, so having a trug would be rather useful!

It was lovely to see a harvest of broccoli, mine looked a bit off colour in comparison!  Fabulous to see the trug being loved and used for what it was designed for. I really hope that they get lots more bountiful harvests.

You can find further information about Gardening Leave here and also their honesty pledge

#NABLOPOMO: Fruit flowers…there’s more

I was sat in the Coventry University edible campus garden-it was between teaching classes, I needed some sunshine and solitude of the green kind-and saw that their plants were green, leafy and blossoming. Bit more than mine, and I did have a pang of horticultural jealousy.  I am however, glad, that the plot is in the same stages of development. I was able to compare the blooms in the edible campus garden with the ones on the plot.

With the fruit trees blossoming, i was starting to wonder about the rest of the fruit plugged in. I only took a briefest of looks at the redcurrants, having seen that the gooseberries were starting to flower. I have had the two redcurrant plants for about three years. They were bought as twiglets, from poundland. In that time, they did nothing, so I bought some slightly older ones. Reason being, as I was told by another plot holder, they need to be three years old before they fruit. Lo and behold, the poundland plants have formed flower buds of a kind. The sort that are very easy to miss, if you don’t poke or prod into the foliage.

#NABLOPOMO: Chillies in the sunshine

This week, it has been attack of the aphids. The plants that had so far been coddled, have suffered an infestation. The horrible little green creatures have been hanging around the habaneros, and it’s not very nice having to squish the little critters who leave your plants sticky.

The plants in the poly seem to be okay, getting used to being in there. For now, they like the spuds  in there, are fleeced for their own protection. With there still a possible frost til the end of May, I am taking no chances. Purple Haze now has two flowers, and the other standard cayenne has also got singular chilli white flower that has just opened up.

All of the pots, were decorated with the oh so pretty looking slug tape. yet one, brighter than expected slug has managed to take a chunk out of a bellaforma chilli leaf.I hope that slug dies a horrible death.

I am hoping that the habaneros that remain at home get a spot taller and bigger. Then, like the others, they will move into the poly.

#NABLOPOMO: Psychology Sunflowers planted out

The sunflowers that were sown, have rapidly taken on a life of their own. Growing gangly, and hardened off, they have been planted out today. I have taken a risk, what with a potential for there to be a frost tonight. This may result in them ceasing to exist, a few of them were sulking as they were planted. I do still have a few that I have kept back, these weren’t as big yet in being recent sowings.

They have been strategically planted  across the plot, mainly where they might be to signal in bumble bees required for pollination. We have a combination of giant sunflowers and sunburst. So even if the bumbles can fly seven feet in the air, they will fly straight into a sunflower.


#NABLOPOMO: Culinary Coriander

As ever, Ma has her section for fenugreek and for Spinach. She has now moved onto coriander. All three of these are fairly useful for Indian cooking. For Mum, this means mandatory. There something about yellow dhal garnished with coriander leaves. Since she has her ‘plot’s for saag and methic, it naturally follows that she has to have a ‘plot’ for coriander.

Having carefully weeded the bed, she found both my fork and spade. Soil went flying, and there was a fresh bag of compost added. Fresh from an Indian grocery shop, ma had a bag of coriander seeds. She proceeded to crush them, at least crack open the seed cases by using a large stone from I have no idea where. Broadcast sowing them across the bed, she then had me help her water them. Two watering cans later, the seeds were suitably damp.

Have never sown or successfully grown coriander on the plot. Let’s home it will grow, having had some mama magic to start off with.

#NABLOMPOMO: Preserving pan playing

I learned some valuable preserving lessons today.

And by the way, there wasn’t anything in the goodies that I had actually sown and grown. Just putting that out there.

We’ve had the jelly disaster, of a sort, before. With that rhubarb jelly that didn’t set. Well, I was adamant that I would learn to set it. Rhubarb, I learn, has little pectin. Explains why it didn’t set, plus I probably didn’t boil it long enough.

So we set ourself another challenge. How about yellow plum jelly, as we try to get the jelly to set.

Plums contain pectin, I wanted to make sure that this was the truth. As variable as they are, I want this jelly to well…gel.

We would follow the same process. Boil up the fruit, with a lemon, in water. Till it went squishy, and then we dripped it over the night time. That was okay, I did that. This morning, we boiled up the solution. It had a kick, i had thrown in a scotch bonnet.

Boiling up, there was the jam thermometer positioned on the edge. Ma and I were watching it get to setting temp, 104. We kept it there, and made sure it was at a rolling boil. A rolling boil, for a while, til the solution had reduced, and was harder to stir, and the liquid was gloopy and on the turn as it were.

I learned that this was important, the rolling boil, the turning to gloop. I had clearly missed a trick. This is to be retained for later.

There was lot preserving today, I was in the mood for experimentation and getting things right. I just need to work out how to stop sugar crystals forming.

#NABLOPOMO: Spindly Aubergines

It has taken a while, but I finally have some rather spindly aubergines coming through.I did sow quite a few, with there being four varieties.

These were:

  • black beauty
  • diamond
  • dancer
  • tres hative de barbentane

Think they have some way to go, but all being well, they will catch up. The seedlings are quite dainty, and could do with some warmth and heat to give them a good start.