Friday, 6 June 2014

Garden day

Just had a tiring but nice day sorting out the garden - actually demolishing part of it and checking out the lotty.

We have a prize-winning foxglove (self-seeded) in the corner of one of the beds.  It must be a good eight feet tall, quite perfect and unsupported.
The patio area filled with roses and lavender and pots was always the best part of the garden.  Happily and sadly we are adding a conservatory and they all had to go.

I hacked the roses down to about half.  They are already loaded with buds and first flowers so it couldn't be a worse time to move them.  To add insult to injury they have gone to replace two rubbishy Iceberg roses that have never done any good.  So we will see if the adage of 'never plant a rose where a rose has been' is true.  Mind you I presume we will never know what killed them when they keel over.

I chucked a gallon of water on each and talked to them nicely.  I'll let you know if they make it or not.

Over at the lotty my jersey royals are doing very well.  I hope to be attacking them very soon for the scrumptious baby stage.
The middle bed has tiny raspberry bushes in it and they seem to have taken OK just need to bulk up a bit!

I filled the rest with all sorts of seeds:
- Dwarf beans.  'Speedy'  by name and by nature as they claim 'from sowing to eating in 7 weeks'.
- Red cos lettuce - Rosedale.
- Red spring onion - Furio
- Purple carrot - Cosmic Purple
- Tomato - F1 Sweet 'n' neat Cherry
- Cucumber

I don't have great hopes for the tomatoes or cucumber this far north.

From my third box I picked about six pounds of rhubarb and still have this lot left ready to fatten up.  There was no black membrane visible before I pulled the rhubarb, it completely filled to box. 

The strawberries are loaded with their first batch of fruit ready to ripen and are a good size.  Really should be feeding them!  Make a note.  Incidentally a good all-purpose food to save you buying lots of different things is a tomato food (cheap one from Home Bargains at the bottom of Brandlesholme Road).  The basic rule is that anything where you want fruit or flower can be fed with pretty much the same thing.  If you want roots then it needs something else.

OK over to the fruits of my labour - Rhubarb Crumble.

The spoon is a table spoon to give you an idea of the size of the dish - serves four generously or six if you are posh.

Rhubarb, plus tablespoon water or orange juice or whatever takes your fancy - just enough to make sure the rhubarb stews down nicely.
100 g cold butter cut in cubes
75 g caster sugar
175 g plain flour
good pinch of salt

Cut in ingredients with a knife or rub in with finger tips or much, much better,  get a pastry blender - dirt cheap - as little as £4 - Google them.  You can make crumble or pastry in minutes.  Make double the amount and freeze half for another day.

Cover the rhubarb with the crumble - don't press it down just make it level and bake for about an hour at 180C .  Just keep an eye on it after about 40 minutes as ovens vary.

There is a more precise recipe at the top of the blog under Recipes and one for a really nice rhubarb and orange pudding.  Enjoy.

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