Before I start, I don’t usually advertise anything on my blog, but I thought I would make an exception for this:
Transition Leicester are holding a ‘Leicester Green Open Homes And Living’ event….
Their website says “Would you like some ideas about making your home and/or life greener? Come and look around the homes of people who are changing their homes and lives to reduce their carbon footprints and talk to them about what it is like”.
For details on the houses, their availability and features, click here . I can imagine it will be a real eye opener.
What a busy week it has been at the allotment. Due to all the rain we had last week I have had to work twice as hard to catch up with my planting.
First though, I had to dig up my old spring broccoli and curly kale before I could even start planting:
I then planted my outdoor cucumbers (burpless tasty green), leaving them under glass to give some protection for a couple weeks as it has been really cold and wet and they do not like these conditions:
My runner beans and tomatoes were planted out:
And my sweetcorn, butternut squashes, patty pans and courgettes:
And more spring onions and lettuces:
And some more cauliflowers under environmesh and I planted cabbages under bottles as they were small and I wanted to give them a bit of protection from slugs and the cold
I also planted my leeks that were sown way back in January. If you haven’t planted leeks before, it is a bit unusual the way they are planted. You can read how to plant them here.
I also planted my celeriac, which like plenty of water and they certainly had plenty of rain on Wednesday this week…
…and I finally got round to planting some flowers- sweetpeas, nasturtiums and tagettes.
I also planted some nasturtiums around my runner beans as a sacrificial plants. The blackflies prefer nasturtiums to the beans and so they leave my runner beans alone.
I also invested in a very large net from ebay this year to stop the pigeons from eating my peas. I hope to be able to use it for years to come as it wasn’t the cheap sort that you can buy.
A few years ago I didn’t need to net my peas as the birds never bothered with them, but they seem to eat everything these days, including my lettuces which I still find strange.
Also, I finally got round to nipping the top couple of inches off my broad beans to stop the blackflies as they love the top growth. The best time to do this is when the first beans start to develop on the plants, but as you can see in the photo below, I was a little bit late on one or two of them, but I’m sure they will be fine.
Finally at my allotment, I have had loads of people ask me what is wrong with their onions this year and I have said the same thing over and over again….it’s the allium leaf miner, which is a fairly new pest. You can find information about it here.
My onions have been hit too and I will be covering them with environmesh next year:
During half term when it was raining nearly all week, it was lovely to have some time to catch up at home. Especially as my daughters were off school, as I love spending time with them.
One of the things we did was toasting marshmellows over a candle. I had forgotten how good they taste and they took me back to when I was a Guide (many years ago).
I absolutely love the melted marshmellow taste:
During the week I also managed to catch up on some long overdue jam making sessions with leftover fruit in my freezer.
I made rhubarb jam and strawberry jam:
I find jam making quite thereputic and it is so easy to do.
If you haven’t made jam before, you can find a strawberry jam recipe and some jam making tips here if you are interested.
I also managed to give my drains a bit of a clean by pouring 1 tablespoon of bi-carbinate of soda down the drain, followed by a cup of white vinegar. It bubbles up like a volcano for a few minutes and then I flushed it all down by running the hot tap for a few moments….the result was clean smelling, unblocked drains!
I was also able to take time to make some nice salads from my polytunnel and some nice meals for the family without rushing….it was such a pleasure:
The last photo is homemade shortbread, which is one of the simplist recipes I have. You can find it here. I use pure margarine as my daughter is lactose intolerant, but you can use normal margarine or butter and they taste even nicer.
This week I made some luxury strawberry ice cream as double cream was on offer at Tesco….and the taste is absolutely delicious!…and yet again so easy to make.
I used my strawberries from the allotment as they are ripening nicely. These are a very early variety that I planted two years ago:
Luxury Strawberry Icecream Recipe:
300 grams strawberries
300 ml double cream
140 grams of caster sugar
Puree the strawberries in a bowl with a hand blender / liquidiser or a fork
Add the caster sugar and the double cream to the bowl
Give it all a mix with a spoon until it is all combined
And add it to your icecream maker to do the hard work
(If you haven’t got an ice cream maker, just put the blended ingrediants into a container and freeze. Remove from the freezer every 1-2 hours and mash vigourously with a fork to break up the ice crystals)
As there are no chemicals in the ice cream, the ice cream will be quite hard when you take it out of the freezer to use, so it is better to take it out for fifteen minutes or so before you eat it.
Then enjoy it!
I actually made double the amount of ice cream and it filled an old two litre plastic ice cream tub and I worked out it cost me just £1.85 to make. I’ve checked on the Tesco website and the ‘posh’ ice cream is far more expensive than that!
Within an hour of making the ice cream, some of it had disappeared out of the tub….it must have been the ice cream fairies…so beware of the ice cream fairies if you make it too.
Thank you for reading my blog today.
I will be back again next Friday
Have a good week!