Tag Archives: Herbs

Growing your own greenery

 

Thinking of this title, my immediate thoughts were about Cabbage and sprouts. I’ve yet to grown sprouts, and Mama F is rather intrigued to do so. The one time we had them at home, the stalks got attacked by cabbage fly and it wasn’t pleasant. Cabbage on the other hand, has been an interesting learning experience. I didn’t much success with growing from seed, so using plug plants has been far more useful. You’d think that you could plug cabbages in, and that would be it.

Not quite. Leaving them uncovered and exposed invites all sorts to munch away. You’re cabbage patch is soon decimated, you declare war on slugs and it all ends badly. Mama F builds cages covered with netting to held reduce the impact of flies and bugs. It’s a bit like an assault course trying to get in and harvest things, but the crop remains in one piece for the most part. There is certainly a lot of green, leafy things which end up on saag or pakoras. In my experience, the greener, more bitter a cabbage or green might be, the less likely it is to be attacked by anything. Not had much success growing red cabbages. Mum has possible had a couple grow, but there does seem to be more challenge with these.

There is always Spinach and Kale in some form on the plot. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve trundled along to pinch Mum’s crop for Spanakopita. You need armfuls for dinner, but it is something very straight forward to grow. I’ve always  broadcast sown the seeds and never bothered with plug plants. Plug plants would certainly help with spacing and reduce the need for thinning out. Every year, Mum sends me on a hunt to find the biggest leafed mustard green that I can find. We always end up with more perpetual spinach that we need, but it does get sown and grown. Kale is probably the more hardy of the two, and can be found to be growing along quietly in the middle of bleak winters.  And if it’s Rainbow or Vulcan chard, it’s rather pretty.

When it comes to greenery, this also covers herbs. There is masses of mint on the plot and Fenugreek is ever present. The latter is also a green manure, but wonderfully edible. It’s fire-y and bitter, but can be used in a similar way to spinach. Dried, it’s a burst of flavour when added to dishes that need a kick. FenMint should be contained; as I have found, it is unruly and get’s every where. It is however versatile, with a little going a long way.  Just think of all those mojitos….

An unlikely candidate for greenery, would be bolted radishes. Mama F starts of trying to grow Mooli. Only the weather plays havoc with fickle radishes and they bolt. When they bolt, they produce crisp, pepper flavoured pods. These you can snack on, or add to sauteed onions and garlic to make a curry.

 

herbs on the plot @urban_herbs

A week ago, I went to BBC Gardeners World Live and I happened upon Urban Herbs you can find details here about them. My mum had sent me out to get some swiss mint for her. I didn’t find any, but I did find some Indian mint-to placate my mum-as well as some sweet basil, orange mint, bronze fennel and french tarrogan. The tarrogan and basi have been potted into the poly tunnel.

Ma has cooed over her Indian mint, so I think she has been mildly distracted by it.

Rosemary re-homing

Mum has rather successfully cultivated two epic sized rosemary bushes. And they were taking over the garden path. So armed with my fork, she dug them up. We then trundled down to the plot with them. Again, she took up a gardening spade and dug two holes to plug them in.

There was a lot rosemary fragrance wafting around.

Parental Supervision: Gardening with our adults

I did say that I would request adult supervision. In having already put in situ the canes that needed to be strung up with netting; I asked Pops to come and help. The reason being, that I couldn’t possibly reach the top of them, and I really wanted to put up string. Whilst Pops could have grumbled, he didn’t. He came down the plot, and was rather warmly welcomed by the many folks that were down there today. Since the sun had come out, it really had brought people out to play in the dirt.

It was one of many missions today, to get the nets strung up. As you can see from the gallery, it took some doing. Mama H and Pops are some team. Pops even had the idea of the bamboo cane across the top to form the Rugby Style goal posts. My original idea, in hindsight, did make for some weak integrity. Mama H, cut up the string so that it could all be lashed together. Between us, we got one and bit a frame sorted, before I ran out of stringy netting. Off, then, pootled the parents. I was left to my own devices.

I had taken with me, some green barrier fencing. Yet another plan today was to plant peas. That didn’t happen. I stood there, thinking, well, I don’t have any pea netting. But I did! The barrier fencing. Surely, that will do for runners too? Surely.

With that epiphany, I cut the fencing to various lengths to finish the job. In addition, it now bisects the plot too. That was where I plan to put the peas. I will get to those eventually, they keep looking at me.

Whilst there was a lot of infrastructure to play with, there was also some sowing and transplanting to do. The herbs, that have spent the best part of five months in the four tier blow away, were transplanted. Did rather look a bit sorry for themselves, but hopefully they will perk up a bit. A direct sowing of broadbeans was. This time, it was bunyards exhibition and some more suttons dwarf. These are to replace the ones that were eaten by the frost two weeks ago. The clay has got increasingly dry and concrete again. But there are things growing!

Then Mama H came back again. Just as I opened up my seed tin-another plan-and actually made me jump. The bag I had opened, was the Fenugreek, a clarion call for Mother’s arrival, I tell you. The methi was handed over. And off she went. Sowing the stuff, as well as some turnips, perpetual spinach, nero de toscana, green and yellow mustard too. I had already sunk some strawberries that Mama H has now unceremoniously kicked out of her garden. Fun was had, with the parents. Now to decide whether I direct sown the beans, or modularise

Yours in anticipation,

 

Horticultural Hobbit