Archive for August, 2009

More from Charles

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

Another armful of gratitude is due to Charles. A clutch of his nurtured seedlings was briskly planted out on a windy Wednesday evening: curly endive, radicchio, coriander and sorrel. These were distributed into eagerly awaiting empty spaces created by cabbage-eating snails & caterpillers, bean-snuffling badgers and wilting onions. Details in the plot plan below. And some wikifacts below that.

plot-layout-29.08

Endive and radicchio are both types of leaf chicory. Radicchio matures in about three months but can be made to stand through a UK winter, with the head regenerating having been cut off carefully above ground level, so long as the plant is protected against severe frost. This process can be repeated a number of times. A light-excluding cover, eg. an inverted pot, may be used during the latter phases of growth to produce leaves with a more pronounced colour contrast, simultaneously protecting against frost and cold winds. Traditionally in the UK, the first cutting of all chicory heads was simply thrown away, and the tender, forced, second head was for the table.
Sorrel soup is a soup made from water, sorrel leaves and salt. Other possible ingredients are egg yolks or boiled eggs and boiled potatoes. It is known in Polish, Lithuanian, East Slavic and Yiddish cuisines. Its other English names spelled variously schav, shchav, shav, shtshav, are borrowed via Yiddish language derived from the Polish name szczaw for sorrel. It is often served cold with sour cream.
It is characterized by its sour taste due to oxalic acid (called “sorrel acid” in Slavic languages) present in sorrel. The “sorrel-sour” taste may disappear when sour cream is added, as the oxalic acid would react with calcium and casein.
In Polish, Ukrainian, and Russian cuisines sorrel soup may be prepared using any kind of broth instead of water and may be served either hot or chilled. Sorrel is also popular in Nigeria; in some Hausa communities, it is steamed and made into salad using roasted peanut cakes, salt, pepper, onion and tomatoes.
Coriander roots used to be used in ancient wicca rituals to represent the forces of nature. Coriander has been used as a folk medicine for the relief of anxiety and insomnia in Iranian folk medicine.

Endive and radicchio are both types of leaf chicory. Radicchio matures in about three months but can be made to stand through a UK winter, with the head regenerating having been cut off above ground level, so long as the plant is protected against severe frost. This process can be repeated a number of times. A light-excluding cover, eg. an inverted pot, may be used during the latter phases of growth to produce leaves with a more pronounced colour contrast, simultaneously protecting against frost and cold winds. Traditionally in the UK, the first cutting of all chicory heads was simply thrown away, and the tender, forced, second head was for the table.

Coriander roots used to be used in ancient wicca rituals to represent the forces of nature. Coriander has been used as a folk medicine for the relief of anxiety and insomnia in Iranian folk medicine.

Info on sorrel reserved for another day . . .

Blue and orange squash

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

viewOur squashes have done well: very satisfying to see such abundant growth. They more than coped with the new beds over paper and are an encouraging first crop. We’ve harvested an Hungarian Blue – which has a delicious strong flavour, and a Rouge vif d’Etampes. Recipes gratefully received!

sun squashrobertharvestsquash

Friends & refreshments

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Saturday 15 August; the rain held off and a few sunbeams warmed a lovely evening   . . . this use of a plot is at least as enjoyable as own-grown courgettes!

Friends & refreshments 1Friends & refreshments 2Friends & refreshments 3The morning after

Fecund

Monday, August 10th, 2009

Three dry and sunny evenings have allowed us to do the weeding and get on top of things after our spell away. We’ve ordered endives and carrot (Paris Market Atlas – thanks Penny for the tip!). & managed a picnic.

9 AugustRobertupper bedmownlower bed

Mad with joy

Monday, August 10th, 2009

Well, the sun has gone to our heads. Fruit and flowers, another picture post.

Blight

Friday, August 7th, 2009

Many are talking about the B word. Have removed all tomatoes from the plot. The squashes, sweetcorn and chard seem to be doing very well.

plot-layout-08.08

Plus ça change . . .

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

Back from holiday and back to some profound changes: a beautiful new door now leads onto the plot; one Black Hambro’ vine has withered, presumably too wet, confirming earlier worries; all the tomatoes are blighted and now removed (but we’ve not put them on the compost heap – unsure about that); 10 of the beans seem to have survived the ‘Badgers’; burgeoning squashes, courgettes (harvested 4!), sweetcorn, cardoons, sprouts & chard . . . and weeds! Not much action on the peas, even less on the onions; though the cabbages are getting ravaged. Our caretaker Nic has green fingers & our thanks to him.

Beautiful-new-door

Do plant more than oneBlightSquash Orange HokkaidoBeautiful young sweetcorn