This morning at my allotment I planted some cabbages ready for spring.
Two weeks ago I prepared the ground, by hoeing the weeds away and put a sprinkling of ‘Blood, fish and bone’ organic fertiliser down.
This area had my broad beans in previously. When I removed the old bean plants, I left the roots in the ground. The root nodules of the broad beans fix nitrogen into the ground, which is good for green leafy growth, which I knew would benefit my cabbages.
I gave it another hoe this morning and then planted the spring cabbages fairly deeply, 30cm apart. As brassica’s like very firm ground, I always tread firmly around my cabbages with my boot.
I then gave them a quick water just to settle the soil around the roots.
The pigeons love brassica’s at my allotment (they actually seem to like anything at the moment), so I needed to net the cabbages.
You can buy those round balls with holes in, that support your canes, but I think they are expensive. I choose to make mine out of old drinks bottles or hand wash bottles, as they are free and can be used several times before the plastic goes brittle. You can see below how the canes fit into the bottles:
The netting I bought ages ago and I have reused it loads. The holes in the netting are small enough to keep cabbage white butterflies out and the netting is thick enough to stop the netting from ripping or becoming so tangled you can’t use it. It was a good investment.
This is my finished cage:
This morning I also pulled up some carrots from one of my two raised beds.
I have never been able to grow carrots outside in my soil before, so this year I was even more determined to do this. I used a mixture in my two raised beds of homemade compost, leaf mould and horticultural sand and have grown them under environmesh, to stop the carrot root fly.
Finally, I am glad to say…. I HAVE CARROTS! I am very pleased.
I know that I went to a great big effort to grow these carrots, especially as carrots are so cheap to buy, but home-grown carrots do taste wonderful compared to shop brought carrots.
We will be having them for tea tonight.
I had a tip off today, that Wyevale Garden Centres were selling their seeds cheaply, if you are a gardening club member. I joined Wyevale Garden Club as it was free to join and they have good offers every so often.
Today I found all the seed packets had been reduced to 50p, so I stocked up ready for next year, as every one of the packets were ok to be used in 2013.
I bought the 21 packets of seeds, that you can see in the picture above. They would normally cost £50.75 to buy, but I paid just £10.50 . That’s an incredible saving of £40.25!
I love a good bargain.
Following on from my post on Friday regarding child poverty, (which you can read here), I have another cheap and easy family recipe.
I think a lot of people will make this simple meal anyway, so apologies to you, but if I help just one person who doesn’t usually cook, to feed their family more cheaply, then I will have achieved my aim.
Today I am writing about a basic Pasta Sauce. A good quality jar can cost you anything up to £2.45 to buy and yet it is such an easy thing to make.
I cooked this sauce on Radio Leicester back in March, to demonstrate how you can make a simple cheap meal. Back then I worked out that this sauce cost me just 80p to make when I bought all the ingredients, but as I grow most of the ingredients myself, it only cost me 20p to make!
The recipe also doubles up as a Pizza sauce too and my pizza’s taste very similar to the pizza’s you eat at the large chain of pizza restaurants that you see on the high street (with far less salt though). It certainly does NOT taste like the cheap pizza’s that you buy from the supermarkets.
When I cook this recipe I usually make a great big batch of it. We have some of it for tea and I freeze a portion for another day. After it has defrosted, it only takes ten minutes to heat up in the microwave, so it’s a really quick meal.
I also freeze some of it in little pots, to use on pizza’s another day.
A drop of olive oil
1 onion chopped
1 garlic clove
500 grams Passata
(or a 400g can of tinned tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of tomato puree instead of passata)
190mls of vegetable stock
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
Fry the onion in the olive oil for a few minutes.
Add the garlic and fry for a couple of minutes more.
Add all the other ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes
I toss some spaghetti into the sauce and I serve it with a nice homegrown salad and some homemade garlic bread.
A sprinkling of cheese on the pasta makes it even more delicious.
The recipe above is the basic pasta sauce, but I always add vegetables to my sauce, e.g. broad beans, runner beans, courgettes etc. My daughter doesn’t like vegetables in her sauce, so I puree the sauce before I serve it and she doesn’t know she is eating them and it’s full of vitamins.
If you like a sweet and sour sauce, you can add some pineapple pieces and leave out the herbs. Also add a drop of vinegar and 1 teaspoon of sugar.
It’s such a cheap and easy meal to cook.
Thank you for reading my blog today.