Saturday, 30 June 2018

May 2018 harvest summary

Weight   1.306 kg

Garden crops

Weight g

Shop price

Curly kale100£1.00
Cavolo nero72£0.55
Swiss chard56£0.45
Spring onions36£2.00

Red veined sorrel, ramsons
Lettuces, salad leaves

Friday, 29 June 2018

April 2018 in pictures

After a horrendous March in terms of weather, April brought better conditions but everything is way behind. The over-wintered crops are finally starting to grow again but we are holding off planting out most of the seedlings until we are certain we have decent temperatures and no more snow storms. We decided to chance it, though, with some of the lettuces and that gamble does seem to have paid off.

The strawberries seemed to have been unaffected and have been putting out runners. We had so many of them that we donated the spares to Southcote GrowAllot.

The rhubarb (Timperley Early) has also started in earnest and we have had our first stalks since we planted it about 18 months ago. We've also had our first home grown asparagus.

The damson plum and pear have blossomed and fingers crossed we don't have have too many heavy frosts before the fruit has set.

Pear blossom

Monday, 25 June 2018

101 ways to eat parsnips when a friend gives you bags of them

Our 2017/2018 parsnip harvest was a disaster. They were planted close to a dividing fence between us and our neighbour and when that fence came down during the storms in autumn 2017 it flattened half the plants. Most of the rest where later squashed when we had to trample over them to remove the old fence and put in the new one.

In April 2018 a fellow member of the Reading Food Growing Network gave us a couple of bags of parsnips. He wanted to clear his parsnip patch and prepare the ground for the summer and autumn crops and didn't have enough room in his freezer for them. There were a lot, and they were very large!

That is how the 101 challenge started. Rather than just roast or mash them what else could we do with them? We came up with 10 ways of using parsnips before we ran out of the vegetable and here they are. Please note: there are no NO detailed recipes. This is not a recipe blog; if you are interested in any of the dishes mentioned below then Google them!

Numbers 1 and 2 Parsnip chips and mash

A traditional start to the challenge with parsnip chips (pan fried) and parsnip, swede and potato mash. Also in this veggie extravaganza are carrot chips, cauliflower and various greens from the garden.

Number 3 Spicy parsnip soup

Spicy (very) parsnip soup and garlic sourdough toast. Parsnips and a couple of potatoes mashed up with coriander, cumin and chillis, and a slice of toasted home made sourdough bread with plenty of garlic on it.

Number 4 Parsnip and onion bhajis

Standard onion bhaji recipe using half thinly sliced onions and half coarsely grated parsnips.

Numbers 5, 6 and 7 Rosti, scones and sauerkraut

The rosti was made with grated parsnip, sweet potato and swede. The parsnip and cheese scones were a bit crumbly but delicious. The red cabbage and parsnip sauerkraut was was made several weeks before we were given the parsnip glut. The parsnips for that were bought at the local farmers' market. I always include them in a sauerkraut mix during the winter months.

Numbers 8 & 9 Parsnip latkes and horseradish/parsnip sauce

Parsnip latkes (pancakes) and fermented horseradish and parsnip sauce. Served with home grown salad leaves, red veined sorrel and ramsons, and asparagus.

Number 10 Parsnip and cheese soufflé

The last of the parsnips :-( Parsnip soufflé with asparagus and courgette, carrot and sweet potato "noodles".

This was the first meal I had prepared after I had bought a spiralizer, which creates "noodles" from vegetables such as courgettes and carrots. I considered spiralizing a parsnip but the ones we had were far too big to fit the spiralizer!

And that is it until the parsnip season starts again next winter. 

Sunday, 24 June 2018

April 2018 harvest summary

Weight   0.940 kg

Garden crops

Weight g

Shop price

Cavolo nero184£1.38
Brussels sprouts112£1.12
Brassica leaves68£0.25
Spring onions48£1.20
Curly Kale38£0.40

Ramsons, red veined sorrel
Lettuces, salad leaves

March 2018 in pictures

What a start to the month! Freezing temperatures and on March 1st we had heavy snow. This lasted 3-4 days, disappeared and then reapppeared with a vengeance two weeks later. No way were we going to be sowing or planting anything outdoors this month.

In between snow storms the rhubarb was bold enough to poke its head above ground. It was planted about 18 months ago so we are hoping to be able to harvest some stalks from it this year.

Indoors, we were enjoying some pea shoots growing on the window sill but I suspect we may have started them off far too soon. We have no clue as to when it is going to be warm enough to plant them outside.

We finally took the plunge and sowed our tomatoes in modules indoors toward the end of the month, three weeks later than usual but there was no point in starting them off any earlier. The weather forecast is still not good and it will take a while for the ground to warm up. It looks as though that, like last year, everything will be a month late.

We did, though, have some harvest from our perennials: ramsons (wild garlic), Babington's leeks and red veined sorrel. And we were still pulling up the spring onions that probably grew from a packet I had dropped in the autumn last year. 

Sunday, 3 June 2018

March 2018 harvest summary

Weight   0.694 kg

Garden crops

Weight g

Shop price

Brussels sprout
Brassica leaves226£0.25
Babington's leeks92£0.70
Pea shoots56£1.20
Spring onions34£0.50

Ramsons, red veined sorrel

February 2018 in pictures

February is always a relatively quiet month in the garden, so it's a good time to do some stock taking. We have enough jam, marmalade, chutneys and pickles in the cupboards to keep us going for most of the year or at least until harvest time when more will be prepared. We're down to two bottles of elderberry syrup but they should see us through the rest of the winter and any coughs and colds we might develop.

It's also a good opportunity to tidy up the bookshelves and take an inventory of what we have and note what is still to be read! 
Meanwhile, outside the celery that I grew from the remains of a bunch I bought in the local supermarket has survived the bad weather and I found an overcrowded clump of spring onions. I suspect a whole packet had dropped out of my pocket some time in the autumn and was then mulched and covered over with compost. Time to thin out and eat!

We are now down to our last home grown squash. It's the second monster squash, which weighed in at 3.2kg. We may be eating it for some time! We are still harvesting some kale, cavolo nero and Babingtons leeks, and we have had the first pea shoots of the season (grown on the window sill). 
One of our lunches this month: squash and leek risotto, accompanied by puy lentils with leek and cavolo nero and pea shoots as a garnish.

And finally, the daffodils are coming out in what we call our "front patch". One could almost believe that spring is around the corner but the forecast for the beginning of March is not good.We could be seeing some heavy snow.