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Friday, 13 July 2012

Playing Catch up & Kill 'Em

Nemaslug Review
As this year I have been MEGA crap at sowing anything at all at the right time (due to personal circumstances) I have a lot of bare soil at the moment.  To top it off there are millions of big fat juicy slugs and huge snails this year thanks to Britain's dire weather; it's rained almost every day for months, with the occasional flash flood (to add that extra groan and mutterings about needing to emigrate!).  Have no fear though for the sluggy snaily things (technical gardening term) can be dealt with by Nemaslug.  If you don't know what this is it comes as a packet mix of micro-organisms that go to live in your soil and eat your pest by destroying slugs from the inside, they die in the ground (where they live), so no mess to clear up and unlike slug pellets there is absolutely no risk to pets, children or wildlife (so anything eating the dead slugs get no ill effects at all).  I was a bit sceptical but I won a free packet last year from following Chase Organics on Twitter (thanks guys!) and I have to say, it really does work brilliantly!  I have bought another pack which will go on the garden today, within 2 weeks the slugs will be pretty much all dead.  Brutal? maybe...but safe and effective!

Aaanyway, this week I planted out the peas that I had grown in tiny newspaper pots.  They are Early Onward variety, bit late!  But they are growing great guns (that's an expression, I haven't yet managed to grown legumes with firearm capabilities!), I reckon they will catch up and maybe give me a late crop if we end up with some late summer sun (ever hopeful!).  I germinated 2 cucumbers with an idea to maybe see if I can force them up to speed by growing them in the sunny extension (will that work? who knows, I don't) and also 2 pumpkins...because I love pumpkins so I'll give it a go and cross my fingers.  In the mean time, have a picture of the garlic scape I had on my Elephant garlic (it's a bit mature, they start out curly and then straighten with age).  I chopped it up and ate it in a vegetable omelette.  Yum!

This is a garlic scape, you can leave them on but the thought is that the garlic bulb will be smaller if you do.  So chop them off and lightly cook and eat them.

Monday, 9 July 2012


It seems to be a rubbish year for everything barring slugs and snails this year. Mine is a garden of giant molluscs, roaming the undergrowth devouring seedlings and terrifying small children (maybe I'm lying about that last bit). But but thing seems to have had a great time rambling through my garden's scruffier *cough* I mean 'wildflower areas' and that is Welsh Poppies! These beautiful little flowers have been prolific through the summer (ha! Summer! We totally aren't getting one in the UK), they're brightening up the view from the kitchen window with pretty little orange or yellow flowers, and now that the flowers are starting to fade I'm left with loads of drying seed heads spreading hundreds of tiny seeds.  I've let some seeds fall to the ground, I've also scattered some in different areas to keep the numbers up. I've also collected loads of them in my palm and stored them in an old spice jar for cake/bread baking. This is a really nice little garden extra I think.  I love it when beautiful things have an extra use, don't you?

While I was messing in the depths of my rather extensive spice cupboard (it's getting seriously ridiculous in there, how can one woman own so many spices, and cook so little!) I came across a 3 year old bag of white poppy seeds, usually used in Asian cookery.  I decided out of interest to see if they are viable seeds and so I sprinkled them over a pot of soil and...nearly all have germinated! Wow! I've read they will be opium poppies (legal to germinate in the UK but not in the USA, so I read).

Monday, 2 July 2012

Broad Beans

This is the first year ever that I have grown broad beans.  Despite being a vegetable grower there are quite a few veggies that I am really not sure about; beans being a prime example.  I have an issue with beans, from runner beans that make your teeth squeak (argh!) to the weird furry mouth texture that broad beans create for me. However, spurred on by watching an episode of River Cottage Everyday where Hugh's life-long broad bean hating friend was converted by his ideas, I took my River Cottage Every Day cookbook in hand and went for the Broad Bean Hummus recipe.  

You can see so far the harvest has not been great, although to be honest I only grew them at all because I had free seeds with a magazine and a lot of spare ground in autumn.  I did a few myself and gave the rest to dad for his garden.  There are lots of not yet ripe beans hanging on the plants, so I can do this again, good news!

Broad Bean Hummus, not much to it ingredients wise, but it tasted lush with a pitta bread.  Not at all like broad beans usually do, just fresh and summery  Top tip for ya! Use a pizza cutter to slice your pitta bread into strips after popping them in the toaster, you'll avoid getting singed fingers trying to cut them (they get sooo hot!)