Weeding for the Queen… and other gardening news!

 

The Queen in Bruton

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.

November in my No Dig Garden

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.

How to make nasturtium salt & other nasturtium recipes

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….

On this harvest moon…

This week began with the Autumn Equinox, the festival of Mabon, which starts on September 21st

Elderflower extravaganza!

The hedgerows are filled with creamy elderflowers. It’s time to forage!  Choose elderflower heads that are in full blossom and at their most fragrant to make delicious drinks, skin care and preserves.

I’ve been busy in the kitchen making elderflower champagne, liqueur, vinegar, sugar, oil and dried elderflowers too.  Here are the recipes.

A quick update with a deeply chocolatey vegan rhubarb cake recipe

May is always a busy month for gardeners and it feels even more so this year here – is that the same for you?

New allotment plan and other experiments.

Every year I mulch my no dig allotment with an inch or two of composted manure or homemade compost, but this year I am trying something different!

Walking in a winter wonderland … in March… again!

Every Monday I pour my morning coffee and plan my week. Last week was so busy with talks, writing, a course day on Saturday; there was little time for gardening at home, so I scheduled Sunday as a whole day of gardening at home.

How to prick out seedlings (and other February gardening)

It feels strange to be writing about heat loving plants like aubergines as Britain is gripped by unseasonally cold weather. Kitchen gardening is about always thinking ahead, anticipating and planning for what is to come, so I have been happy thinking about warm summer days as I wrap myself up in layers of thermals and woollens!

Sowing aubergines, chillies and sweet peppers for summer and autumn harvests

I absolutely love growing aubergines. Incredibly versatile for so many different recipes, I love all of the different colours and shapes, how some are seriously spiky and of course the delicious taste.