Saturday 19 June 2021

First Fruits

Colour alone persuades us to give the strawberries star billing this week. These are a commercial Malling variety that hold their heads high, making for easy picking

AND we still have a few potted plants available - you could be eating your own fruits within days! Just get in touch and the plants are yours. The fruit shown was grown outdoors and picked a couple of days ago - they will be devoured in the next 24 hours

Being completely honest, the strawberries are not the very first fruits we have enjoyed - we have been eating lettuce for weeks now. But not so glamorous, I admit
Our Rhubarb
I tend to think of rhubarb as rather humble crop - but value it greatly. Perhaps it is misunderstood because it is spoiled by overcooking. It only needs five minutes simmering once the water has boiled. Keep an eye on it and remove from the heat as soon as looks in danger of going mushy

My other tip concerns sugar. Put the chopped rhubarb in the pan, sprinkle the sugar on - and then add some more!

Incidentally, I say our rhubarb because it is an unknown variety that has been passed down Mrs Codger's family through the generations - a true heirloom! (Perhaps it should be called Great Bridge or Horseley Bridge and Piggott - Tipton historians, please note)

Broad beans
I've left the best 'til last - broad beans (variety: Aqua Dulce). Old Codger is both amazed and relieved how they have pulled through. Although they were knocked back by that week of frosts, they are tastier than ever

Now, broad beans, just like rhubarb, are wrecked by overcooking. And, I think, almost uniquely are a vegetable that needs to be homegrown. Pick, pod, cook and eat

They barely require more than five minutes in the pan. I've noticed that TV chefs like to remove the skins. It is much easier to do this after cooking. When the beans are young, I find them absolutely fine - skins and all. A truly delightful experience - good with bacon and also tasty as a salad ingredient

[In case you have never eaten them the beans are to the right and the skins are to the left. The pods (above) go on the compost heap]

Growing your own
The space allotted to gardens is undoubtedly getting smaller. I certainly know readers of this blog who have little room for veg. So, an idea we kicked off last week - using a growbag (see photo in last week's edition)

Codger's twist on this is to frame the bag with a length of decking. Here's how - and with just two cuts. First, purchase a 2.4m length - about £10 at B&Q. Cut exactly in half. Place the two pieces together and cut off one foot (between 30cm and 31cm, not critical). Screw together (see photo)

Nearly finished - see more next week
The hardest bit is making saw cuts that are straight and square. But there's an easy solution - get B&Q to do it, up to four cuts come in the price - not bad

Two further points. Make sure you perforate the bottom of the bag - simply give it a few jabs with a fork. How you fashion the top of the bag is up to you. Many bags have instructions for cutting out three planting holes. I prefer a completely open top

As regards position, sun is essential but not necessarily all day. It is advantageous to position the bag against a wall - the retained heat can make quite a difference

Tomatoes still available!
Read back over the previous blogs to see what we have available. We have many varieties but if you want to keep things simple, just go for Cerise - an easy-to-grow bush variety. But, please get in touch soon - when they have gone - they've gone!

Although not obvious from the angle of the shot, these fruits are on a tomato plant growing in a hanging basket

Boxes of plants
We are still pleased to supply a box of plants for the flower border. And also willing to give a bit of advice, if that is what is required. This photo shows plants that went out just this afternoon - made up to meet a particular requirement

Codger feels a project coming on
As regular readers will know, Codger comes into the no-dig organic category of gardener. However, I've never created a growing area without digging!

Well, that's about to change. We have a brand new opportunity to deploy the no-dig method on, what is currently, a lawn at a secret location in Birmingham

Why secret? Well, apart from anything else, we do not want floods of tourists distracting our efforts!

Slight digression
Viewers of the BBC Gardener's World TV programme may not remember the series as it was prior to being filmed at Monty Don's Longacre property in Herefordshire. Up to 2010 it came from a 'secret location in Birmingham' - a garden specially constructed for the series

Fans did their best to find the site. This photo shows one spoiler. Why the policy of secrecy, I cannot remember. You may have noticed that the BBC does strange things from time to time

Anyway ...
... as regards our new no-dig project, the first decisive step has been taken: the purchase of a bicycle! 

The evidence is visible in this photograph. However, this is but the initial stage in the process which will result in a productive vegetable patch growing salad crops

Watch this space next week to see how the exciting story unfolds ...

And finally ...
... The first fruits idea got me thinking about the situation described in the Bible where the Old Testament people dedicated the first portion of the harvest to the Lord

How might Codger apply this principle? It then occurred to me that all our produce - not just the first bit - is all first fruit! All we receive dedicated to the Lord in the form of support for BCM. This prompts me to thank all those who have made cash donations this week. As a result I have just transferred another £230 into the BCM account

You can find the current total by clicking here. The figures displayed will show donations made online and also those cash donations I receive here at Codger's Nursery. Our stock of plants is changing all the time - feel free to have look but, please, get in touch first

All for now, thanks again for reading  - best wishes from Garden Codger

PS - as well as strawberry plants we also have available the rhubarb mentioned which, I've now remembered, is known in the family as Raspberry Rhubarb

And a few photos to follow ...

A bit of help with the rhubarb

Our first rose: Peace

We do hanging baskets - interested?

Origanum - looks fresh, doesn't it 

No comments:

Post a Comment