I’ve spent much of yesterday standing under the apple tree in the back garden where I have my outdoor potting bench, sowing seeds. Some are for cropping in autumn, others will be for winter and spring harvests. There is a list of everything I’m sowing at the end of this blog post.
Hasn’t the month passed quickly? I can hardly believe that it is August on Thursday. Today I’ve been enjoying more of an indoor kind of day, catching up with things at my desk and general chores, because it has – finally, oh joy! – been raining. I love sunshine and warmth, but it has been very dry for my garden and the polytunnel has become so hot.
Toby Buckland’s interview with me, recorded in early May at Toby’s Garden Festival at Powderham Castle, about no dig gardening and food on BBC Radio Devon.
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?!
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.