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Ok, so I haven’t posted for many a long month, but, dear blog, you have been in my thoughts!  And dear blog readers (if there are any left), you have been in my thoughts too.

I have even taken the odd photo in the vain hope of uploading and keeping the blog up to date!  So I shall start to pop the occasional item on here and see if I can get back into the swing of things!  What can I say, I hope to see more of you in the near future….

One remarkable thing happened in my absence – the vine at the front of our  humble west London abode produced an abundance of grapes!  It wasn’t even a great summer, so should we ever have a hot few months, I’m preparing to move into wine production…

grapes1

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red veined sorrelI’m a great believer that good gardening is easy gardening.  This could be because I’m lazy and I’m certainly short of time to spend in the garden.  But surely, working with nature, rather than fighting against it is best, and the plants which thrive in your garden are the ones that most belong there.

A few years ago, I bought a pot of red-veined sorrel at a farmers market.  I transferred the plant to a bigger pot, added a few leaves to a salad every so often, then completely neglected the plant over the winter.  But then the plant seeded itself in the garden, popping up in several places, and generally thriving like a weed.  Not only that, but the slugs seem to leave it alone.

Now all of that seems to me like the peak of gardening success.  And this sorrel has the added advantage of being an attractive plant wherever it chooses to settle.

The young sorrel leaves have a lemony, lettuce like flavour and look good in a mixed leaf salad, while older, more bitter leaves, can be cooked like spinach.  Nutritionally, sorrel provide vitamin C and iron, so more than worth the (non) effort involved!

seedlings

Even growing your own veg can cause dilemmas for the vegetarian gardener.  As a vegetarian for example, I’ve never bought organic compost for my small fruit and vegetable plot, as it usually contains blood and bone-meal.  So I was delighted to discover this vegan organic compost, and use it for planting seeds.  That’s one problem solved.  Just looking forward to tasting the results now!

Vegan organic compost from Fertile Fibre.

Cook-it-WEBSadly the year in our veg garden hasn’t started too well, since we just had a couple of trees taken down and our raspberry canes and rhubarb got rather crushed in the process.  Fingers crossed for a speedy recovery.

But, for all of us hoping to eat some produce from our gardens (or allotments) this year, the Edible Garden Show this weekend sounds like just the inspiration needed to get us back on our feet.  Now, if they could just organise plenty of sunshine for our north-facing plot….

The Edible Garden Show, Alexandra Palace, London, 20th – 22nd March 2015

Make-it-WEB

vegetating Just Vegetating: A Memoir

What does the gardener do during the long winter evenings when pottering in the garden simply isn’t an option?  Well, at the moment, I’m dipping into a memoir by Joy Larkcom.  Aside from having a glorious name, Joy is a gardening writer, who, during the 70’s, toured Europe to find out how people grew vegetables in different parts of the continent and to bring back rare varieties to the UK.  Her work changed how we grow our veg today, as well as recording, in some cases, practices that were disappearing from the landscape.  This memoir includes Joy’s writing from that trip, as well as her later discoveries in China and her own gardens back in the UK and later in Ireland.  A wonderful companion for those winter evenings.

Just Vegetating: A Memoir by Joy Larkcom

Check out some of Joy’s other books about growing vegetables: 
The Organic Salad Garden
Creative Vegetable Gardening
Grow Your Own Vegetables
Oriental Vegetables

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