This Saturday – Jam Making

From 2pm to 5pm at the GO2 kitchen – click to see map

Mahesh will be leading a jam-making session – just let him know if you want to join in, he’ll provide what’s needed.

sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk or 01603 920147

Don’t forget we have an open meeting (in the same place) on the 25th to decide on a new management team… 

This Sunday at the allotment….

Get your nitrogen fix

When broad bean and pea plants have produced their last pods and withered don’t pull them up. Instead, cut down to within a few centimetres of the ground. The roots have little nodules and, as they rot, these help fix nitrogen in the soil.

Rake or fork over the ground between the stumps, pull out weeds and the ground is ready. The stumps could make it difficult to sow seeds but there are plenty of plants that can go in the gaps. There are lettuces, chinese cabbage, oriental salads, basil and parsley available from outside the polytunnel. Or plant pointy spring cabbage, curly or purple kale or purple sprouting broccoli; all will love the nitrogen fix. We have the plants almost ready to go out; some need potting up so help on Sunday would be very welcome.

A couple of exotics fruit/vegetables

The next time you’re at the allotment, take a look at the borders inside and behind the polytunnel. There are plants growing there which seem to like hot dry weather and have produced some rather useful fruit.

One is achocha, or fat baby,

a member of the curcubit or cucumber family. Fat babies (!) can be used much as you would a pepper. Cut each fruit in half, remove the seeds and stir-fry for a couple of minutes.

The other is tomatillo.

This looks like a green tomato but actually belongs to the physalis family, which also includes cape gooseberries. Tomatillos are delicious baked whole with courgettes, little onions, garlic cloves and beetroot. Or made into Tomatillo Salsa Verde (click for recipe)

Both are fruiting well so if you’d like to try either or both ask whoever is on duty on Sunday. Any surplus will be left on the table in the picnic area.

Update on heritage seeds.

I’ve started to harvest some of the heritage seeds.
Mr Jones broad beans were easy. All I had to do was to wait until the pods turned bone dry and papery on the plants, then pick the pods and shell them. Some of the pods got a bit scorched in the recent heatwave, but they are fine inside. I checked that each bean is dry – if it is hard and sounds like a pebble when dropped then it’s ready to store. But just to be on the safe side I’m leaving them on a sunny windowsill for a few days.
<>Mr Jones planted in April
Catskill Brussels sprouts seeds were not so easy! There are huge bunches of tiny pods, each containing very small seeds. Collecting the pods and shelling them was not difficult, although a bit fiddly. The tricky bit was the passengers – tiny grey and yellow mites, still very much alive, which had to be separated from the seeds. The only way to do this was to carefully roll the seeds (like miniature ball-bearings) to one side of a white plate before storing them in a glass jar. I shall check them again, just to make sure that no uninvited guests are still lurking. <>

Photos of Mr Jones broad beans and Catskill Brussels sprouts by Jane

Layout and graphics by Jim