Sunday, 23 June 2013

The first cut is the sweetest

Salad leaves. I've written about these since day one - the rocketing cost of, um, rocket and yet the ease with which you can grow it. Last year, however, I found it not so easy. Salad bolted, rocket failed to show as the relentless rain and my fair weather tendencies got the better of me.

So this year I've made a slightly more concerted effort (lets not get too involved in case it all end in heartbreak eh).

A tub of rocket and a trough of specially selected good looking leaves.

Turns out I'm quiet impatient. These seedlings too weeks to show their goods off. But finally they came good and this weekend I was able to harvest a medley of fresh looking munchies. All well and good when they look this crisp. I nonchalantly picked a leaf to eat turning away to attend to my steak, when I genuinely paused. The flavour of the rocket was striking, and I smiled that quiet contented smile you're allowed when you've reaped the rewards of prolonged patience.

Except, there's nothing good about soggy salad:

I'm normally one to scoff at the unnecessary kit peddled by chefs in their indulgent foodie shows, even if I eventually stock my kitchen with it all. But a salad spinner, oh my word is this one handy bit of plastic (thank you Wilkinson's again)!

My only problem now is that I've not planted enough salad!

Monday, 17 June 2013

I like a bit of tilth

I'm guessing that I'm not the only gardener to rue the appearance of stones, discarded petals and wind debris across carefully prepared beds.

It's as though the forces familiar to us all, preventing our veg from getting the finest conditions to flourish, work tirelessly through the night to present us with a bit of extra daily work that we could all do without.

As I've previously mentioned, the removal of an evil russian vine, and overgrown buddleia has allowed the sunshine to reach parts I never thought it shone up, er on. Unfortunately, ground elder had spotted the opportunity to colonate, but having won that particular battle I was left with the aforementioned debris.

I'm sure there are vintage looking soil sifters you can pick up for a premium, or rusty freebies that would do a similar job, but for me it was a chance encounter at Wilkinson's with a plastic number that did the trick. And so to work. It's like the opposite of panning for gold, the treasure is what falls through.  And just how satisfying is it to see your bed covered in tilth? 

Unfortunately this kind of bed attracts cats too, so my borlotti beans are in before you can even meow.

The Hapless Kitchen Gardener

My photo
I only feel hapless because some people make it look easy to grow 10 ft marrows or a banquet of greens whereas my courgettes got nabbed by killer slugs and I only got one raspberry. So tips and stories from people less hapless than I are more than welcome. As a disclaimer though, none of my comments should be taken as expert advice on which you can rely! © Unless stated otherwise, and with the exception of guest content where that guest retains copyright, all photos and posts are the copyright of Tom Carpen and may not be used without permission.