A Plant Sale, Comfrey Tea And An Easy Chocolate Traybake Recipe

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.

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The appletree at my allotment

The apple tree at my allotment

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And now for some sad news….

groundwork

 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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I tied it securely and lowered it into my water butt and covered it in water.

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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.

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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:

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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:

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A Quick And Easy Chocolate Tray-Bake Recipe:

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6 oz. of Margarine

6 oz. Caster sugar

6 oz. Self raising flour

3 Eggs

1 Tablespoon Cocoa powder

1 Teaspoon of baking powder

Cooking chocolate and sprinkles to decorate.

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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.

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Add the caster sugar, eggs and margarine.

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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).

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Smooth the mixture over the greaseproof paper in the tray and cook for approximately 25-30 minutes.

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When it is cooked, slide the greaseproof paper off the tray and onto a cooling tray and leave to cool.

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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.

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Slice when the chocolate has set.

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Thank you for reading my blog today.

I will be back on Friday at approximately 4pm.

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23 thoughts on “A Plant Sale, Comfrey Tea And An Easy Chocolate Traybake Recipe

  1. I really enjoy reading your blog. It’s very informative and interesting.
    I’m also very interested in this comfrey. I hear it banded about a lot at the moment. Do you have to grow it from seed or something else?

    • Hi Sophie, comfrey is fantastic to use on your garden. I dug up a bit of comfrey from a neighbours plot and over the years I have split it and replanted it as it takes really well. Comfrey does self seed too, so I am very careful to cut it down to use before it flowers, though I have occaisionally missed it and it’s never been a problem and the bees love the flowers.

      If you are going to buy seeds, go for a variety called ‘Bocking 14’ as it doesn’t self seed and you won’t have to worry about this.

      Hope this helps.

  2. Am sorry to hear that your friend has lost his job in such a worthwhile area, i do hope that the plant sale goes really well. When i get the allotment more organised i would like to grow some comfrey. All going well with the growing so far.
    Sue

    • Hi Sarah, you are close aren’t you. Our growing temperatures will be very similar then. I don’t know if you listen to Radio Leicester?….every so often I go on to talk about what I do, mostly on the Tony Wadsworth show on a Saturday morning.

      • I don’t but I’ll try to now! 🙂 hope your plants haven’t been as bashed about as mine have with all the wind lately. My runner beans are seriously unhappy.

        I’ve made a note of the plant sale details but not sure what I up to on Sunday as I have a stall on Loughborough market selling my jewellery on Friday and I might be hibernating with embarrassment! *lol*

  3. One thing to add about comfrey tea is that it is very very smelly!

    Well done on your 300+ followers I’ve a bit of a way to go to catch up – maybe before the followers widget is retured by Blogger – who knows? I always find that gaining a follower often leads you to a new blog – if the follower goes public. This happened to me today!

  4. Very sad news about the eco house. We also have a friend who lost their job with groundwork. However, great that the plant sale is going ahead – I’ve put it in the diary & will hope to pop by.

  5. Sorry to hear about Rob’s job, he sounds like a really nice guy if he’s still willing to go on with the sale, I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it goes well. Well done on your asparagus, I planted some bulbs in an old muck heap late last year but there are no signs of them yet!

  6. I’m always amazed at the things people make use of in their gardens, I’ve just seen a trampoline being used as a raised bed on another blog, and now, you are using an old swing as a plant climbing frame. I bet it will look wonderful with the clematis growing up it.

    What a shame about the charity closing down, it sounds like it’s done some incredible work and will be missed.

  7. I’m so soryy to hear about your friend and the company closing down. We have a large company near us closing down too, and friends are being affected. Has your friend got a plan for what he is going to do next?
    I have never gotten around to trying comfrey. I dunno if I have any garden space that would serve it well…
    MMmmmm, chocolate block cake! Mmmmmmmmm!

    • The traybake is another really easy recipe and the kids love it. My friend has other gardening jobs so I don’t think the money worrys him too much, but it must be so hard leaving a garden that you have worked so hard on over the years.

      • Yes. I remember reading an article somewhere in recent moths about a couple who had a really large and beauiful wild garden in Britain someplace (??) and they had made it on a rented property over a period of many years. They were having to move because the husband had gotten some sort of cancer that needed him to move to hospital and she needed to go with him. The landlord said they had to ‘restore the property to its original state’ or pay fivethousabd dollars so he could bulldoze it. I saw some pictures of this garden ad it was like, I don’t have words to describe it! It was amazing! So beautiful! And this poor couple, on top of facing terminal cancer and leaving a home they’d known for so long, and to either tear it all up by the roots or pay a fine they could not afford!! Acording to the comments there was a huge uproar over it, but the bottom line is it was the land lords property so his decision was final. I dunno what the outcome was.

  8. I can’t find it. I’m pretty sure I read it in the huffington post, but it was a little while ago, and I simply can’t find it! Its driving me nuts! Maybe I read it some where else…

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