Tag Archive | Growing lavender at the allotment

A Lavender Lemonade And A Lavender Fairy Cake Recipe

My lavender hedges that line my two paths either side of my plot, are flowering beautifully at the moment.  The variety is ‘Munstead’, which is an old english variety.

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The bees and butterflies are loving the flowers and I didn’t have to wait for long to take a photograph of the butterfly below:

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Lavender is a herb which has been documented for use for over 2500 years.  It was used by ancient Egyptians for mummification and perfume.

Lavender has a calming effect and can aid sleep.

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Using Lavender:

I think it is really important to make use of everything that our garden gives to us.

This week I picked some bunches of lavender and hung them in my kitchen to dry out. It’s best to pick lavender in the late morning after all the morning dew has evaporated.

I am hoping to use the dried flowers for my christmas hampers, but I’m not sure yet what exactly I will do with them.

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Lavender flowers are perfectly edible provided that you are 100% sure they haven’t been sprayed with harmful chemicals.   I always give them a quick wash under a cold tap before I use them.

 As my lavender is flowering so beautifully at my allotment, I decided to make some Lavender Cakes and Lavender Lemonade.

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Lavender Cakes

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2 tablespoons of lavender flowers

125g Self raising flour

125g Caster sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

125g margarine or softened butter

2 eggs

A drop of milk

Icing sugar and more lavender flowers to decorate.

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Put the lavender flowers, flour and sugar in a blender and grind the flowers for a little bit.  Sieve it all into another bowl discarding the left over bits of lavender.

Add baking powder, eggs and margarine and beat until combined.

Add a drop of milk until the right consistancy is reached (i.e. drops off the spoon easily).

Half fill cake cases with the mixture and then bake for approximately 15 minutes at gas mark 5 / 375F / 190C

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When the cakes have cooled, decorate with white icing and a bit of lavender.

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The cakes taste really nice as they don’t have an overpowering lavender taste, just a ‘hint’ of it and they are a bit of a novelty if you have friends round for ‘afternoon tea’.

I do choose to take the lavender off the top of the cakes before I eat them, as I find this tastes too strong for me.  You may think differently, please let me know if you do.

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My next recipe is for a thirst quenching Lavender Lemonade, which is my eldest daughters favourite drink.

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Lavender Lemonade

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870ml water

2 tablespoons of lavender flowers

100g granulated sugar

120ml lemon juice

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Put approximately a third of the water into a pan and bring it to the boil

Pour the boiling water over the lavender flowers and leave to ‘steep’ for ten minutes.

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Strain the water and add it to the pan again.

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Add the rest of the water, sugar and lemon juice and bring back to the boil, stirring continuously.

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When it has boiled, take off the heat and chill.

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Dilute the lavender lemonade with water to your taste.

I added ice cubes with borage frozen inside them for an extra pretty twist.

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I hope you have enjoyed reading my post today.

I will be back on Friday at 4pm.  I hope you will join me then.

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Still Planting And A Walk Around My Allotment

I have usually planted most of my seedlings by now, but as this isn’t a normal year (due to the cold Spring we had), I still have some to plant.

This week I have been busy planting various things and I must say my allotment is getting pretty full.

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I started by planting some more cauliflowers.  As usual I prepared the ground by raking in some blood, fish and bone a couple of weeks ago and then just before I planted them I trod over the area and jumped and danced on it.  Brassica’s all need firm soil and you may remember that I also did this with my brussels a few weeks ago.  One of my readers (Paula) said I had invented the ‘Brussell Sprout Stomp’, which made me laugh.

One of the main reasons for cauliflowers ‘blowing’  (loose heads, where the curds don’t grow together) is the soil isn’t firm enough.  So I suppose you could now name the dance ‘ The Cauliflower Stomp’.

I covered my cauliflowers with environmesh:

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This week I planted my ‘outdoor’ cucumbers.  They are a variety called ‘Burpless Tasty Green’, which I have grown for a few years now with great success.  The skin is slightly prickly so I do peel them before eating.  They taste lovely, with no hint of bitterness, which some cucumbers have.

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I also planted some more spring onions, as we eat loads of these and I like to make sure we have some available for a long as possible over the summer…

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…and some beetroot and parsley:

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Finally, I planted some Nasturtiums next to my runner beans.  These are great companion plants as they attract blackfly.  The blackfly prefers the nasturtiums to the runner beans, so the nasturtiums act as sacrficial plants.

Nasturtiums next to my runner beans

Nasturtiums next to my runner beans

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The broad beans in my polytunnel are still producing some lovely pods for picking…

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…and I had a lovely surprise this week as I found my first two strawberries ready for picking.  I took them home and me and my daughters all savoured the lovely, juicy, sweet strawberries together.  There really isn’t anything that tastes as good as freshly picked strawberries.  If you have never eaten homegrown strawberries, you really do not know what you are missing as they taste nothing like supermarket strawberries, that are only bred for a long shelf-life.

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Now we have had some warm weather and some rain, things have begun to grow nicely.  I had a walk around my plot yesterday and I noticed a few things.  The dahlias that I grew from seed have begun to flower:

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The apples and plums are beginning to form nicely:

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My second early potatoes have begun to flower:

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My spring cabbages are finally ‘hearting up’:

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The first peas that I sowed this year are nearly ready:

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My polytunnel is growing well:

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And the lavender that edges both of my paths, is nearly in flower:

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The bees will love the lavender after my poached egg plants have stopped flowering.  When I stand amongst the poached egg plants there is still such a buzz of activity there:

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Finally I thought I would show you what I do with lettuces after I have picked them, if I don’t use them all at once.  After taking off the few leaves I need at the time, I pop the rest of the lettuce into an old pot full of water.  Just like flowers in a vase, the lettuce stays lovely and fresh for quite a few days.

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I hope you enjoyed reading my blog today.

  I will be back on Monday at approximately4pm.