Tuesday, 7 July 2009

My favourite food

The garden is looking good. It's so nice being able to pick fresh veg and have it on the plate within twenty minutes. I have an abundance of peas, but I am not sure which are mangetout and which are ordinary peas, as they are all mixed up. So I am eating them with the pods when they are small and flat, and shelling them if I have missed them and the peas are fat.
There are loads of spuds in the raised beds and some in pots, I am sticking my hands down and pulling a few out at a time. The broad beans are nearly ready, and the first courgettes are appearing. It won't be long before the beetroot is ready, might pull some in the next few days, I love cooked beetroot. There are a few carrots ready so I am pulling them to make room for the rest to grow, same with the turnips. I have been eating the broccolli, should be quite a lot of that as the plants look big and healthy. The brassicas are under net curtains over a frame, I made the mistake of taking it off too early last year, so they are staying covered. With a bit of luck I will have sprouts and cabbages later on. The tomatoes are coming but won't be ready for a week or two, I was a bit slow at getting them started this year, also the cucumber plants are only a foot high, but they will come eventually.

I'm surprised I haven't had as much trouble with slugs and snails this year, could that be because I have been collecting them up over the last two years, and there aren't many left I wonder.


  1. Wow your veg looks great! My tomatoes are being very slow to fruit this year even though they were quite well on in growth... Its wonderful eating the stuff you grew yourself... x

  2. Just watched you on TV, what a treat - you are fabulous. Finally someone else who is enthusiastic about peeing on their compost, not flushing much, and wearing boys pants! At art college friends thought I was weird but I was just saving money to spend on art materials and also trying to be environmentally friendly. 16yrs on and it's become a way of life that I absolutely relish.

    I thought you might be interested in a few things that I swear by. One is a hotbox or 'fireless cooker' as they were called 100 years ago. Costs nothing but saves a fortune on cooking costs because you only need to do a 5min initial boil/simmer of your soups/stews/pulses and then it gets packed in to the home-made insulated box to cook slowly for an hour or two for free. It's great for retaining flavour as it can't overheat. Healthier too. The key is to use pot with a tight fitting lid and to have the food almost to the top, very little air gap. After the initial boil on the stove (2-5mins usually) you swiftly pop it into your box of scrunched papers or straw or whatever, cover with a 2 inch layer of the same and close the lid.

    Your food, pots & chosen materials for the hotbox mean there are no exact cooking times but I've found a great free online e-book from 1913 that has been invaluable in helping me predict more accurately and has lots of helpful hints on different insulating materials. If you are at the library for warmth it really is a fascinating read in itself. Here is the web address:

    Another tip I thought you might like is to use a Kelly Kettle. They are great for heating up water really quickly for free (just use twigs or waste paper) for tea, cooking etc and you can also cook or re-heat certain foods over the top of it. Much more efficient than campstoves and great for filling a hot water bottle to keep feet cosy when you are blogging in a cold house (as I often do).
    If you watch Gardener's World you may have seen Alys making tea with one. www.kellykettle.com

    It's also handy for heating water for my 3rd tip, a WonderWash modern hand-crank washing machine. Sadly the man who makes them is unwell so they are hard to get just now but sometimes pop up on ebay. Saves water, time, electricity and money and is kinder on clothes so they last longer. Here is a link to a video clip of one in action:
    It makes collecting waste water for the loo or garden much easier too.

    My lack of heating in the house has meant some of my art/craft materials are suffering a little with damp so my new passion is to try and make a free solar air heater from aluminium cans! Also handy for keeping a greenhouse warmer to extend the growing seasons. I've not been well enough to try it yet (I have M.E. just now) but as soon as I can I'm going to make one to get free warm air on sunny winter days. Here's a link if you want to see how it's made:

    Well, enough of my frugal preaching, it's time to delve deeper into your blog for more of your tips. So great to have come across someone like minded but not loopy! All the best - Cally


Trolls will be deleted. Please include your name in your comment, or choose the 'Name' option and put your name or whatever you call yourself, in the box. Thank you.