Mouldy Banana’s And Beneficial Insects

To begin with, I thought I’d show you my first broad beans of the season.  These are an over-wintering variety that I sowed in pots at the beginning of November.  As the weather was dreadful, I didn’t plant them out until February and to be honest I nearly put them in the compost bin as they were so ‘leggy’ by then.  However, I had room in my polytunnel so I put them in there, tying each one to a cane to try and stand them up.  I didn’t think they would come to anything and I have been proved wrong, so I am very pleased.

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The above broad beans went straight down to my father-in-law, as he absolutely loves them.  He has been very poorly recently and has only just come out of hospital again, so this put a smile on his face.

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My strawberries are finally growing well, even though they are slightly later than usual, due to the cold spring we have had.  I always lay straw around my strawberries, as this stops the strawberries from rotting when they lay on wet ground and it also helps to stop annual weeds from germinating around them.

Another job I do is to put a net over them, or the greedy birds will eat all of them.

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A long time ago, I was told I wasted space at my allotment by growing too many flowers. Yes I agree, if I didn’t grow so many flowers I would have more space for vegetable plants. However, I strongly believe I would also have fewer vegetables to harvest, as there would be less insects around to pollinate my crops.

You only needed to stand and watch my wild flower patch last year, to see the buzz of activity there. It was absolutely amazing to watch and took my breath away every time I stopped and stared.

As an organic gardener, I try really hard to encourage beneficial insects into my plot , as they keep the ‘bad bugs’ at bay. As an example, if you watch blackflies, within a few days you will see the ladybirds having a feast on them. I don’t use pesticides as these will not only kill the ‘bad’ insects, but it will also kill the ‘good’ ones too.

I try to let nature do the work for me.

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I try really hard to attract bees onto my plot from early spring until late autumn, by planting a continuous range of flowers. As an example, I stood amongst my poached egg plants for less than ten seconds a couple of days ago and managed to easily take photos of four separate bees:

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 After the success of last years wildflower patch, I decided to have another go.  Last month I sowed the seeds and they have started to come up now, together with seeds that self sowed themself from last year.

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The plants that are growing from last years seeds are far more advanced than the seeds I sowed last month and I have even got a flower on one of them:

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 If this years display is half as good as last years, I will be happy.  Below are a few photo’s of last years patch:

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Two Mouldy Banana’s:

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you will know that I hate waste.  However, there is always something that you find lurking at the back of the fridge or the bottom of the fruit bowl that you have to think hard about how you can use it.  So what on earth could you do with two mouldy, black bananas’ that only look fit for the compost bin?….

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…..I made a lovely banana cake:

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Banana cake

2 very ripe bananas’s mashed

170g caster sugar

170g self-rising flour

170g soft margarine

3 eggs

Half a teaspoon of vanilla essence

1 teaspoon of baking powder

Plus extra margarine and flour for lining the tin

A little icing sugar for dusting.

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Preheat your oven to gas 3 / 325F / 170C

Line a medium loaf tin by greasing the tin with margarine and dusting with flour

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Put all the ingredients into a bowl

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Mix until they are all combined and pour into your loaf tin.

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Bake for approximately 1 hour. 

(Test the cake is cooked by inserting a skewer into the cake and if it comes out clean then it is cooked).

Dust with icing sugar when cool.

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Enjoy!

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Thank you for reading my blog today.

I will be back on Friday at approximately 4pm.

 

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24 thoughts on “Mouldy Banana’s And Beneficial Insects

  1. I love Banana Cake, in fact it is a firm family favourite.

    After reading this post I plan on growing more flowers to compliment my veggie patch. Thank you for the inspiration.

  2. I agree with your thoughts on growing more flowers for pollination of your veggies. At the community farm where I have my allotment it is run on organic principles and great care is taken to incorporate flowers. We planted a whole bed of sunflowers in the community garden and you should just see those insects buzzing around them. Does your heart good.

  3. That’s my answer to black bananas, people even save me theirs! I more often make them into individual muffins these days easier to put in a lunch box.I add a bit of wholemeal flour or bran to make them have a lower GI & (my concession to healthiness) Your very thoughtful giving your crop of broad beans to your F-I-L as he’s been in hospital, they’ll soon have him on the road to recovery! I love your wild flower garden, I wish I had the room to grow some-mine is more of a scented white flower garden with touches of purple/blue but I do long for a bit more colour sometimes(especially those bright pink/purple corncockles !)

  4. The one thing i am trying to get up on the land are flowers, the land around us is paddocks all the hedges, trees have been removed, so i am slowly putting back what has been lost, we are going to hedge the whole boundry over a few years to get back the wildlife, we would like to put in some wild flowers and i love the idea of your patch, it doesnt have to be huge to have an impact on the wildlife, great idea. We have planted loads of native trees but at the moment just whips in the ground.
    Sue

    • Oh Sue, that sounds great. What a shame the hedges and trees were removed and how wonderful that you are putting them back…you should be very proud of what you are doing. What have you planted so far?

      • We have cherry trees, rowans, silver birch, beech, 35 trees,we have a yew, walnut, have put one buddlia up there not a native but its an experiment to see if it will bring in any butterflies, as i have left swathes of nettles, one long hedge is all blackberries, the rest needs the hedging putting back in.
        Sue

  5. I think you’re dead right to keep growing flowers! They definitely increase pollination and on a personal level I love watching the bees getting pollen from a flower I’ve planted or grown from seed. I feel like I’m contributing to the general life cycle.

  6. Your broad beans look lovely 🙂 My fellers are getting bigger but no flowers yet, maybe in a couple of weeks. Was it your blog that told about bean and pea pod soup? I can’t remember…
    I love, love, LOVE your wild flowers! They look so delicate.
    HA! This is the recipe i use! I know, I know, banana bread recipes are all pretty much the same, but still – HA! We share a recipe 😀 Tis exciting 😀

  7. I’ve just sown an annual flower bed – a bit late I know but fingers crossed for a display later.

    We too have lots and lots and lots of poached egg plants – I started with six!

    • I love the poached egg plant as they always give a good display and yes it does self seed doesn’t it Sue. I always dig in the plants that I don’t want and they act like a green manure adding nutrients into the soil.

      I’m sure your annual flower bed will come good and will look beautiful before long.

  8. Never heard of Banana cake. I’ve made Banana bread before. I just bought some banana to dehydrate for thirty eight cent a pound. Usually there about in mid fifty cent range.
    Strawberries are coming on nicely now. I tried something new is to paint rocks red about the size of strawberries and place them in before actual before the berries ripen.
    Everything looks great in your gardens.

    Coffee is on

  9. your banana cake recipe was just amazing and loved by every one in my family. It was very easy to make only took a few minutes to get all the ingredients together and make. goes well with a nice cuppa . Keep up the good work with your blogg i look forward to reading them .

    • Hi Louise, I did know that but never thought to mention it on my blog, so well done Louise. I love comments like yours as it helps so many people when they read it. I wish more people would leave their top tips too.

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