Tag Archives: will dig for food

Toughening up!

15 Apr

A quick update on my seedlings which have progressed at a ferocious rate. Fingers crossed our final frost has passed and it’s time to think about putting my seedlings outside. Now begins a period of hardening off, the process of leaving seedlings outside for a few hours each day in order to toughen them up and ensure they don’t die of shock when they are planted out. They are looking good and strong and by and large most have germinated, so far only two failures, one nasturtium and two courgettes have not appeared. I nearly gave up on my spicy globe basil and the chilli peppers, but after a stint on top of the boiler they have emerged.

Here they are on the balcony, in the sunshine!

hardening off seedlings

As you can see at the back of the photo is the salad box that I was so excited about. Unfortunately all that straining for the light left them very leggy and they soon started drooping. I’ve tried physically stroking them in order to promote strength of stem and hopefully with some time outside they will perk up….We shall see.

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One potato, two potato…

12 Apr

Well, the time has finally arrived to move my fully chitted potatoes into their growing bags. They’ve achieved their 1cm of growth so now begins the process of getting them growing.
chitted potatoes
Unlike other plants they require a little more attention during planting; building up to a full sack of soil over the course of a few weeks. First a shallow bed for the potatoes, then as they grow above the soil you add more, repeating this process of exposing and covering until the bag is full. I am super excited about these two as neither variety, International Kidney or Winston are types I’ve tried. I’m planting the Winston first because I want them to be my main crop. Bring on the roasties!
potatoe growing bag

Sprout forth

10 Apr

DSCF0603I’ve mentioned before the wonder of the sprouts. Tiny seeds, just off the starting blocks of life. Delicious, moreish and seriously good for you. I thought I’d share with you one of my favourite sprout salads, which, after the couple of days needed to get the sprouts grown is super easy to construct. Here too the recipe for raw hummus, something that anyone who is a fan of those tubs you find on countless supermarket aisles, should try at least once. Nuttier, fresher and somehow an entirely different beast, delcious on crusty bread or dipped into with veg or fingers.
 

 
All the ingredients you need for a super scrummy sprout salad!
sprout salad ingredients
All the ingredients you need for the hummus
raw hummus ingredients
A perfect lunch for a sparkling spring day.
raw hummus and sprout salad

Boxing day!

8 Apr

No you haven’t read incorrectly, today I’ve had my very own boxing day. Finally the sun is shining and I’m free as a bird, meaning time for me and my pallet to get a little cosy. I’ve been scouting for pallets over the last couple of weeks in order to use their wood to make some planters and after reading various websites it was time to take the plunge. Luckily I had a willing accomplice which made the whole process a whole lot easier.¬†making planter from pallet

All the ingredients you need to make yourself a planter. Neon colourway not entirely necessary!

Getting the nails out was the trickiest part, first task levering the planks using a crowbar; removing the nails that are exposed by cutting them off .5cm away from the wood then bashing through with a hammer. Finally the building can commence. Here’s the first side, it amazes me that this pallet wood is so easy to pick up. It’s a brilliant source of wood and you only have to hit google to see the inspirational things people have made from them.
homemade planter side
I love the scorch marks that distinguish the pallet. I wonder where it has come from and what it has shipped?
pallet branding

And here it is… enjoying a cup of tea and some biscuits whilst admiring my creation.
planter made from pallet

Happy Easter!

31 Mar

DSCF0516

A very Happy Easter to everyone! Easter may be remembered best for the copious amounts of chocolate consumed but it is for me something more. As a child, living in rural England, Easter will always be most fondly remembered as the start of what was always a very exciting time filled with new beginnings. March was often the month when my vigil of the incubator commenced. The daily check for signs of life from the rows of chicken, duck and geese eggs; forcing myself not to interfere, when, eventually new life struggled into fruition. Growth was in the trees and plants too, the snow drops, crocuses, irises and daffodils all made their profusion known and heralded the start of crisp bright days. Now as I journey around London I long to see their bobbing heads in the profusion of green pockets amid the streets.

If you pick a paw paw…

26 Mar

You say paw paw, I say papaya. Both refer to a particularly tasty fruit with succulent and sweet pinky orange flesh that tastes incredible with a squeeze of lime. It is the seeds though that I am concerned with; black and piquant with a taste not dissimilar from nasturtium. I enjoyed a papaya the other day and after devouring it piece by piece I thought i’d have a go at planting the seeds; not that I’m expecting any fruit but it will be interesting to see what the plant looks like. I posted some photo’s of seeds¬†last week, and after drying out the perfectly round seeds from the papaya, I was so amazed at the transformation I had to post a photo. PS bonus points for those who get the ‘if you pick a paw paw’ reference…macro papaya seed.

Pie in the sky

24 Mar

I woke this morning to find not just a gentle flurry but a full on snow storm outside my window. Any ideas I may have had to get on with some plant based activities were thwarted, so instead of battling the elements, I dove into my local fruit and veg shop and bought a selection of edibles to inspire my growing. I’m a big fan of leafy greens; dark and mysterious curly kale, sweet spinach and beautiful chard in all the colours of the rainbow are a few of the faves. Here’s what I made… Iron rich and very comforting.

vegetarian greens pie

I found the pastry in one of my local Turkish supermarkets, I’m not sure this is a very traditional way to use it but hey, it worked a treat. Brushed with plenty of melted butter it came out crispy and pretty delicious.Green leaves pie

The chard, celery, spincach and dill were braised gently with onion, garlic, chilli, turmeric and a little lemon; layered up with the sheets of pastry and dots of sharp, tangy feta. What a treat.
vegetarian pie mix