Monday, 31 July 2017

A crumble in the making

It's been a good year for blackberries in London. They're a couple of months early I think (as are the few mushrooms I've seen), but that's part of another debate.

Because they're early, I don't think people are expecting to be out picking, and I've only seen a couple of other people with their plastic containers in the woods and on the sides of paths.

But here's what I got from about 15 minutes of picking down at the end of my road.


And here's what they looked like when mixed with apples, some from our garden (again, early) and some garden rhubarb (the right time of year, I think). 


Now, stew with some sugar and a little water. 


Mix up flour with some margarine and more sugar and bake for 20 minutes or so. 


It was bigger than it looks there (the lumps of crumble are bigger than you think) and in fact I was able to make two decent-sized crumbles that were well-received. 

Living off the land! For the extras, once in a while. 

Friday, 10 March 2017

The start of the 2017 season


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It's the Ides of March next week. The Ides of any month is really just half way through the month. So, for March, all that means is that we're 2.5 months out of 12 through the year, or a little over a fifth, but not a round number.

Of course, the Ides of March acquired its own significance through the murder of Julius Caesar in 44BC, but that's got very little to do with greenhouses, unless there's some connection with it being time to plant lettuce and other ingredients of a future Caesar salad. But that's not what I'm saying.

What I am celebrating - well, marking at least - is that today I did a kind of pre-Spring clean of the greenhouse, and I'm afraid there have been some sad losses over the Winter. How are you supposed to keep geraniums alive over the winter in a greenhouse? I was told not to water them too much, but frankly, during the cold days of November, December and January, I didn't feel like going outside, never mind watering anything in the greenhouse.

So I suppose I've only got myself to blame for the fact that about half the geraniums and a few other things seem to have died.

Today felt like the start of things because I reconnected the outside tap, confident that they'll be no more frost - or at least not enough to burst the outside pipe. That meant I could easily pull the hose into the greenhouse and give the survivors a well-earned drink of water.

A lot of the dead geraniums had become brown and dusty, so I have sorted them out, creating these pots where there was nothing left to save:


And these which look like they'll make it:


In some cases, the promise of great things this summer rests on the tiniest leaf:


But, hey, the more compact the plant at this stage, the healthier it'll be as it grows, I think.

Now I need to russell up some seeds and get ahead of the season - because that's what a greenhouse is for.