I hope you all had a good weekend.
Today I thought I’d start by saying a big “welcome” to people that have recently followed my blog. I noticed yesterday that I have over three hundred followers and I feel very privileged to have this many. Thank you to all of you that read my blog, I hope I will continue to write things of interest for you.
I love receiving feedback and questions, so please feel free to leave comments on my blog. If there is anything that I can help you with e.g. any questions about something I’ve written about or any non-related gardening questions etc, please do not be afraid to ask…after all, if you don’t know the answer then I will guarantee there will be lots of other people that don’t know the answer too.
The apple tree at my allotment
And now for some sad news….
Last week I received the very sad news that ‘Groundwork Leicester and Leicestershire’ had ceased trading and was set to go into voluntary liquidation.
Groundwork was based in offices at Western Park, in Hinckley Road, Leicester, next door to the city council’s Eco House, which it also manages and which is currently closed.
Groundwork Leicester and Leicestershire was an environmental charity which worked with schools and other organisations to promote a greener lifestyle. It has closed with the loss of 26 jobs. This is what the Leicester Mercury said about them:
“Since 1987, the Leicester charity – previously called Environ – has helped thousands of people, organisations and businesses improve their neighbourhoods, learn skills, improve their job prospects and create a greener county.
One of its key areas has been helping students and young people get into work. It also helped to manage the Bikes4All and Allotments4All initiatives.
It has worked with various organisations including councils, schools and universities as well as local and regional businesses.”
You can read the full article in the Leicester Mercury here.
My friend Rob Carter was regrettably one of the 26 people. Rob ran the ‘Organic Gardening Course’ that I talked about last year on my blog. He is one of the most knowledgeable organic gardeners, that I have ever met and what he doesn’t know about gardening, really isn’t worth knowing.
Rob was planning a plant sale this month and volunteers have been helping him to grow plants in readiness. Even though Rob has lost his job at Eco House, he is still going ahead with the plant sale, which I think is admirable. Volunteers (including myself) will be there to sell the plants we have grown, all in peat free composts and will answer any questions you have about the plants.
So if you are in the area on Sunday, please consider visiting the sale for cheap, good quality flower and vegetable plants. After all, unless a miracle happens, this will be the last sale.
Better news now… this weekend I harvested my first ever asparagus. I know there isn’t much here, but I’ve waited three years to get a crop and hopefully there will still be some more to come.
It tasted wonderful with a knob of butter melted over it.
My comfrey is growing well now, so a few days ago I made some comfrey tea so it will be ready in a couple of weeks.
Comfrey tea is a wonderful organic fertiliser which is high in potash and free to make. The deep roots of the Comfrey plants absorb the potassium from the subsoil. Therefore it is great for using on most fruits and flowers. I use it so much that I have a water butt that I use purely for comfrey tea.
All I did was collect a few leaves and stalks and wrapped them up in an old net with a rock to weigh it down.
I tied it securely and lowered it into my water butt and covered it in water.
I put the lid back on the water butt and I will leave it now for at least two weeks before I use it.
You can find more information about this wonderful plant and how to grow it here.
Another job I managed to do at my allotment, was to put some chicken wire on my daughters’ old swing. I moved the swing a couple of months ago, so you can walk under it, along my central path.
I then planted a Clematis Montana, so it can grow up and over it. Hopefully, it will be covered in flowers next spring and look beautiful:
Finally, it’s been a while since I posted a cheap and easy cake recipe on here. So below is a very simple tray-bake (I try to make sure all my recipes are easy to make).
This cake is ideal if you have kids coming for tea, or to freeze ahead ready for packed lunches. If you freeze them, slice the cake into squares and put them into the freezer on a tray. Put them into a bag or container when they are frozen, so they don’t stick together. This way it is easy to take one piece of cake out of the freezer in the morning and pop it into the kid’s lunch boxes still frozen, as they will defrost in no time:
A Quick And Easy Chocolate Tray-Bake Recipe:
6 oz. of Margarine
6 oz. Caster sugar
6 oz. Self raising flour
1 Tablespoon Cocoa powder
1 Teaspoon of baking powder
Cooking chocolate and sprinkles to decorate.
Preheat the oven Gas Mark 4 / 350F / 176C
Lay a piece of greaseproof paper over a tray, approximately 9 x 12 ½ inch in size.
Sieve the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder into a bowl.
Add the caster sugar, eggs and margarine.
Mix all the ingredients until they are combined. Add a little bit of water if needed, to achieve a good dropping consistency (i.e. it drops off the spoon easily).
Smooth the mixture over the greaseproof paper in the tray and cook for approximately 25-30 minutes.
When it is cooked, slide the greaseproof paper off the tray and onto a cooling tray and leave to cool.
When cooled, melt some cooking chocolate in the microwave and spread over the cake and use sprinkles or whatever you want over the top to decorate.
Slice when the chocolate has set.
Thank you for reading my blog today.
I will be back on Friday at approximately 4pm.