• Cooking

    Green bean & coconut pickle

    I made this pickle using beans from last year’s crops that had been frozen. Within a couple of weeks I am expecting a mountain of beans to be ready at the allotment fresh! I would say this is a similar to a sweet piccalilly with the addition of a coconut flavour. Perfect with a BBQ or in a cheese butty!

  • Cooking

    Stop worrying and substitute ingredients!

    If I could sum up my cooking style that would this would be it. If you don’t have a specific ingredient then find something similar and use that! This principle works very well if you ‘grow your own’, but also in general for producing tasty dishes.

    Pomegranate – certainly not easy to grow in the UK, expensive and imported. However, redcurrants are very similar – tangy little red berries.

    Many different Middle Eastern dishes use a type of grain (rice, cous cous, freekah, bulgar etc) with herbs, nuts and balance this with the tang of pomegranate. Here I have made something similar with fresh ingredients from the plot and cheap peanuts.

  • Growing

    Supporting structures in the vegetable garden

    Many vegetable and fruit plants are climbers. Other can grow quickly and are quite large. If you are growing on an allotment plot the open land can leave your vegetable patch exposed. Plants do not like rocking in the wind! Here are a few pictures of how we support plants – some simple ideas!

    Angled chicken wire frame for climbing squash underplanted with dwarf beans.
  • Growing

    Dig for Victory growing vs the modern day allotment!

    In an earlier post I discussed the history of allotments which really got me thinking about the difference in the way allotments are utilised now since their popularity in ‘war time’ Britain.

    The Dig for Victory campaign encouraged everyone to grow their own veg to support the war effort and the expansion of allotments increased the opportunity for all. A ‘full’ plot was set at 10 poles which is around 250 square metres. This is a similar size to a doubles tennis court.

  • Growing

    Weeds: Marestail

    The weed referred to as ‘Marestail’ is also called common horsetail (Equisetum arvense). It is an invasive and deep rooted plant that grows via fast-growing rhizomes (underground stems). Marestail is a very primitive plant that was around before the dinosaurs. It reproduces by producing spores that are airborne and travel on the wind as well as by underground stems (modified roots called rhizosomes). This means it can be a tricky ‘weed’ to control.