Tag Archive | Allotment wildlife

The Edible Garden Show, Bob Flowerdew And A New Sausage Maker

On Saturday I went to the Edible Garden Show with my two sisters.  My eldest sister paid for our tickets as a christmas present and I loved it.

  You can read the ‘Edible Garden Show’ Website here.

There were plenty of interesting stalls, selling products and giving advice.  It was great to wander around.

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There were also lots of interesting talks which I enjoyed.  Alys Fowler talked about growing about fruit in small places, showing photos of her own garden.  She also included some photos of fruits that she foraged from car parks local to her, which was great.

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Another really good talk, was given by Bob Flowerdew, a wonderful organic gardener.  He talked about ‘No Work Growing’, which was basically ways to reduce or eliminate unnecessary chores.  He was very funny at times.

Earlier in the day I was really very lucky.  I noticed Bob Flowerdew in a quiet part of the hall and I asked him if I could have a photograph with him.  He was lovely and put his arm round me while the lady with him took a photo for me.  It made my day.

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My one and only purchase of the day was…….. drumroll please……

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A ‘Meat Mincer ‘ with a sausage making attachment.  A cumberland sausage mix and some sausage skins also came with it.  It cost me £20, but I was assured it works perfectly.

I have noticed since, that it can also be used to make pasta too.
I am really looking forward to using it and I have told him I will rewiew it on my blog, so he can see how I get on.

I hope it works well.

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As it’s been such a wet weekend, I haven’t been able to get to my allotment.  So today I thought I would show you a couple of photographs that I took on Thursday morning, when the weather was nice for a change:

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This is the robin that always comes over to me when I’m digging or moving compost at my allotment.  I always reward him with some tasty mealworms on my bird feeder.

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This is ‘Scraggy Fox’ that is always hanging around my plot.  He had just been drinking out of one of my ponds, he must have been thirsty.

Poor ‘Scraggy Fox’ has a skin condition which has caused some of his fur to fall out and I feel very sorry for him.  I don’t feed him as I don’t like to encourage town foxes, but he has been visiting now for two years and has become a familiar sight to me.

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The photo above is something that has surprised me… My cauliflowers were grown to be harvested last August, but because the weather was so dreadful last year, they are only just ready now.  Luckily they were an ‘all year round’ cauliflower.

This cauliflower fed us all for two meals and I have another five cauliflowers still to pick, which is marvelous.

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Finally, sadly we had our last homegrown butternut squash this week.  It was lovely roasted and was enough for a couple of meals.

This demonstrates how long they will store if they have the right conditions.  I store them in our bedroom, as it’s the coldest room of the house …so very romantic lol.

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Thank you for reading my blog today.

I’ll be back on Friday.

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Wonderful Beetroot and Allotment Wildlife.

For the last year or so, I have been trying really hard to encourage wildlife into my allotment.  I have two small ponds and I was hoping it would encourage frogs to eat the slugs and snails.

Today I have proof that it is working:

A frog eyeing up it’s breakfast

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At the allotment today, I concentrated on cutting back my summer raspberries.  I removed the old fruiting stems and tied in the new stems

I also cut back my blackberries as they had grown so quickly and I was finding it hard to reach the fruit on them.

The raspberries and blackberries look a lot neater now.

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I pickled some of the beetroot that I picked yesterday.  It’s really easy to pickle beetroot and it tastes delicious:

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First twist the leaf stalks off the beetroot, leaving approximately one inch of the stalks.  By twisting it rather than cutting it, the beetroot will bleed less.

Wash the beetroot under a cold tap.

Put the beetroot in a large pan of boiling water, ensuring it is covered in water.  Top up the water if necessary during the cooking process.

The beetroot will take some time to cook.  Check if it’s cooked by inserting a knife into it.

When it is cooked, put on a pair of washing up gloves and take out a beetroot with a fork and then rub it with your gloves under a cold tap and as if by magic, all the skin will rub off easily.

Slice and put into sterilised jars

(To sterilise put jars in an oven, gas mark 4 for 5 minutes)

Top with cold ready spiced vinegar.

Put the tops on the jars and label.

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Interesting information about beetroot:

Beetroot, botanically known as Beta vulgaris, evolved from wild seabeet, which is a native of coastlines from India to Britain and is the ancestor of all cultivated forms of beet.

The medicinal properties of the root were more important in early times than just eating it.  It was used to treat a range of ailments including fevers, constipation, wounds and various skin problems.

The early roots were long and thin like a carrot.  The shape of root we are familiar with today was not developed until the sixteenth century and didn’t become widely popular in Central and Eastern Europe until 200 years later. Many classic beetroot dishes originated in this region including the famous beetroot soup, known as borscht.

In victorian times the its dramatic colour was used to brightened up salads and soups. It was also used as a sweet ingredient in cakes and puddings. The victorians even used the plants  as decorative bedding, because of their attractive green leaves. At this time, beetroot was still mainly grown as a winter root vegetable.

After World War II, pickled beetroot in jars was the most widely available form of the vegetable however, the vinegars were strong and harsh and put many people off it.

Nowadays, there are three main types of beetroot, Globe, Long–rooted (can be upto a foot long) and intermediate, sometimes called “tankard” because of the shape.

The variety I have grown is called ‘Boltardy’ which is good for  early sowing, due to its resistance to bolting .This is a tried and tested variety, with an excellent sweet flavour, smooth skin and deep red tender flesh.

As well as pickling beetroot, I use the young leaves of beetroots in salads as they add colour and I use cooked beetroot in cakes.

Here’s the link to the Chocolate beetroot cake I make:

  https://notjustgreenfingers.wordpress.com/2012/07/31/chocolate-beetroot-cake-and-more-of-the-old-fashioned-way/

I hope you have enjoyed reading my post today.