Saturday, 28 June 2008

After a hectic week at work it was nice to come home on Friday night and water all the vegetables and chill out before dinner. After the windy weather we have had some of the climbing beans and runner beans have a bit of wind damage, but I'm sure they will pick up again soon. I did manage to harvest some French beans this week and there are so many little ones everywhere I am sure to have lots more next week.

I had eight courgettes this week so decided to take some into work for the girls. They were delighted and I took Katy in some fresh farms eggs so she could try the recipe I found on She tried it with my home grown spring onions and fresh parsley 'Envy' and said the onions were really hot and the recipe was lovely. It’s a shame I didn't sow another lot of spring onions, as I had no idea how good they would taste! As luck would have it when I got home the Marshalls seed catalogue arrived. So I decided to order some seeds and I will try the over-winter variety 'Guardsman' along with turnips 'Tiny Pal' as they look really good.

My peas have finally made an appearance and I have about six, just enough for me to eat whilst weeding next week! Now I know I can grow them successfully I will grow more for next year.

Well that's it from me for now as I am only taking a quick break from house-work so I can have a day off tomorrow!

Happy gardening. Amanda.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

So far so good

It’s hard to imagine that this vegetable project of mine only started at the end of April 2008. It was a stop gap until we get some Iwade Allotments. I didn’t know at the time if I would stick to it, like it or ever eat anything out of my back garden. After digging up most of my flower border I am now totally hooked. I am constantly researching to check to see if I am doing it correctly and what to grow next. I planted my first carrots (Maestro) today from seed that should be ready in October, and left it to the last minute as I thought they would be a waste of time. After seeing the prices in the supermarkets escalate weekly I decided to give it a go. I have never been a very patient person but I am learning gradually. If the packet says 12 weeks then that’s when they will be ready.

There is nothing to beat the satisfaction of saying “I grew that” and of course it tastes much better as it’s fresh from the garden to the kitchen in seconds. It also makes you realise how much we take food for granted. Driving your car to the supermarket a few miles away to pick up vegetables that have probably been flown around the world, that’s hardly fresh, is it? Obviously I can’t grow enough to feed our family of three all the time but with the help of a bigger patch - an allotment - it might just be possible.

Someone once told me that they hated the thought of walking into a supermarket and having to buy vegetables when theirs ran out in their garden. So they got an allotment and now have two! I’m beginning to see what they mean.

A few months on and we’ve eaten radishes, spinach, salad leaves of various types, wild Rocket, French beans and courgettes out of our small vegetable patch and it’s only June! I think its money well spent, you know where your veg has come from and what’s been put on it (or not) and of course it’s kept me fit with all the digging and watering. We still have French beans of various types, runner beans, tomatoes, summer squash, broccoli, sweetcorn, shallots, more spinach, cucumbers and red onions to eat yet. And I am now planning some winter vegetables and may extend the small patch I have this autumn.

Most things are grown from seed but it’s been just as cost effective to buy in some plug plants. I was discussing this with my friend Paula today about the leeks I bought as seedlings. They were £3 in total and I have 45 growing for this autumn/winter. That’s only 6p per leek. It would have been even cheaper if I'd got round to planting my seeds I have. It will be interesting to see how much they are in the supermarket later this year. I don’t have a greenhouse yet, only a small pop-up one. But saying that it has been very handy as I am now using it for the cucumbers as the British weather is not going to grow my out-door variety very well! Most of the seeds were grown in my dining room at the back of the house until the weather was warmer and I got my pop-up greenhouse. So you see it’s easy to grow most things from seed, if I can do it anyone can!

I hope to give you a weekly up-date now that my Blog is live for all Iwade residents to read (why do I say yes to things all the time?) And don’t forget that if you have an interest in gardening you can meet at the Woolpack pub each month for a chat and a drink. A friendly bunch of Iwade residents go along, chat and swap seeds etc. Hope to see you there.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Courgette Recipe

Here is a good recipe for when you have some of your own home-grown courgettes! I now have two courgettes that are big enough to harvest so I may try this recipe. I made a similar frittata last week and they are lovely if you have things to use up in the fridge. I never knew what they were called but always make these instead of an omelette. If you put a layer of potatoes on the bottom its even nicer.

Courgette Frittata

1 small red onion halved and sliced
2 medium courgettes sliced
olive oil for frying
6 eggs
50g mature cheddar cheese (grated)

Fry the onion and courgette gently in a little olive oil for 10 minutes until softened and turning golden. Beat the eggs then mix in the cheese and veg. Heat some oil in a small non-stick frying pan and pour in the egg mix. Cook, moving the egg around until the base is set. Slide under a hot grill until puffed and golden. Cut into wedges and serve with a leafy salad.

I found this recipe through and it refers you to BBC GoodFood website where you will find loads more.

Happy gardening. Amanda

Sunday, 8 June 2008

A busy day pottering about

I spent quite a few hours pottering about in the garden today and made the most of the warm weather. Managed to go to my favourite garden centre Millbrooks this morning and only bought a new pair of gardening gloves. We have been going to the restaurant the last couple of months and now the weather is warmer you can sit outside.

The courgettes have gone crazy and are so big, its hard to believe that I only planted them a few weeks ago! There are fruits showing, so I should be eating quite a few. As I ordered some new patty pan seeds a bit late from Suttons, I only planted a couple of plants today. They look so small compared to the courgettes but the promise of the little white fruits is something to look forward to. I guess they will catch-up soon. The summer squash also has some fruit. Me being new to this, its all quite exiting. All the rain we've had made everything grow so well. Now I have started to feed everything.

The Iwade gardening club met last Thursday in the Woolpack pub. It was nice to see everyone and have a chat. Thank you Anne for the four celeriac plants. I planted them out today and watered them in well. I'll keep you updated on the progress. I have to admit that I have never eaten them before, but I am looking forward to eating these.

My tumbling toms are also doing well. One that I planted in a wall planter near the kitchen door is so big compared to the other plants. I thought it would be a good idea to have some close to the back door, so fresh for the salads.

Chelsea Flower Show was really good on the 23rd May and we were lucky again with the weather. I was tired the day after and rested my feet! Ian managed to find a piece of wood for his new aquarium in the kitchen wall. It was heavy and he had to carry it back on the tube. We did get some funny looks. Most people go back with gardening equipment!

Anyway have to close now and get ready for another week in the office :-(
Lets hope the weather continues to shine.