Aminopyralid contamination of home gardens and allotments is back. Every day I am hearing of new cases of carefully nurtured crops maimed and wiped out by this dreadful chemical. I’m not an alarmist sort of person but this is totally avoidable and – what makes it even worse – this is not the first time that aminopyralid has been responsible for widespread contamination of our plots.
What is this chemical, how is it spreading and what can we do?
Over wintered and some spring sown spinach is bolting in the garden – it’s the time of year for spinach to flower – so we have an abundance of it to use. Yesterday I made two quite different dishes featuring spinach for the lunch for our compost course at Homeacres: rich chocolatey spinach brownies and a spinach pate, with a rich depth of flavours.
Kale, a nutrient dense vegetable high in vitamins, is well known for its many health benefits. Easy to grow and winter hardy in the UK, it’s a fantastic plant for the hungry home gardener. Kale’s delicious leaves make a tasty addition to all kinds of meals cooked and raw, but did you know that you can also eat other parts of this cruciferous vegetable and that growing it benefits wildlife too?!
It’s spring and I am thinking of winter vegetables! Root vegetables are surprisingly easy to grow using no dig methods. Yesterday I sowed parsnips, carrots, radish, Hamburg parsley and scorzonera into a recently applied mulch of compost on top of my heavy clay allotment soil.
The Queen visited “my” work kitchen garden yesterday, so I spent time on Wednesday making sure it was all weeded and spruced up. Ok, so perhaps the purpose of her visit to Bruton wasn’t to gaze upon my herbs and veggies but it’s not every day that one of the most famous people in the world pops down my high street!
It was thirsty work, so I enjoyed a refreshing cup of tea sitting in the sunshine on the wide timbers of the raised beds.
The Queen was in Bruton to open a new music building at The Kings School, a public (ie: private and very expensive for my international readers) and celebrate 500 years since the school received its Royal Charter. HRH also took time to visit Hauser and Wirth Somerset – where I run the kitchen garden for Roth Bar and Grill – and local race horse owner, Paul Nicholls’ stables.
This gorgeous, vegetable-filled salad is ideal for winter meals, a great way of using leftover vegetables from a roast dinner – just like “bubble and squeak”. A tasty way to make the most of a Thanksgiving, Christmas or other roast dinner leftovers! This recipe includes an oil free version, too.
It has been a busy time since my last blog post and how the garden has changed! The weather has been typically British, from unseasonably warm to icy cold (for Somerset) and back again. Mornings are misty, deciduous trees almost entirely without leaves now and anything frost tender has died.
The polytunnel has frozen a few times now, I love the patterns on the frozen polythene, although it is still reaching 30˚C in there some days. I have electronic thermometers in the greenhouse and polytunnel and it’s so interesting to see the extremes of temperatures undercover, compared with outside in the garden.
In my garden a bright jungle of colourful nasturtiums are rejoicing in the surprisingly warm sunshine-y October weather. After a summer of taking their prolific spiciness for granted, I’m keen to preserve what I can before the weather turns colder….