Friday, 21 August 2009

Work and rewards

It's a busy time in the garden and on the plot. The lawns will be in full flight and need cutting several times a week now. Hedges will benefit from a trim and the weeds will be racing to flower and seed every time your back is turned. When you get the chance to weed, you'll notice the soil is dusty and dry, so watering is going to be a chore on a daily basis if you haven't worked out ways to reserve moisture. A good mulch after a good soaking will help keep the water in, but wait until the evening when the sun is going down and not sucking the juice out of the ground. Water a little if the ground is too hard to remove the roots of the weeds but leave the good soaking for the plants you want to enjoy and water after you've weeded.
Just because you are regularly cropping them don't think fruit and vegetables won't appreciate the same treatment. I sometimes save a big sack of lawn clippings to cover the soil under my runner beans. It lowers the soil temperature and encourages plump string less pods.

Other Jobs To Watch

Continue picking beans to stop them getting tough
Lift onions
Sweetcorn should be checked for brown tassles-they show the cobs are ripe.
Transplant leeks to final beds
Harvest garlic,onions and shallots
Finish planting brassicas
Tidy plots as you clear crops
Feed plots that will need it for next crop-compost is a mulch too!
Water thirsty plants-Squashes,tomatoes and beans will thank you for it.
Keep looking out for caterpillars and slugs-squash on sight!
Continue weeding between plants
Dig up main crop potatoes
Think about next year-order those onion sets,shallots and garlic bulbs for autumn planting.

Jobs for the flower borders

Collects seeds to increase your stock
Keep the flowers coming by deadheading regularly
Take shrub cuttings from non flowering shoots
Sow overwintering annuals and biennials

Recipe time!

Make the most of the glut of Courgettes with these recipes, donated by people who follow me on Twitter.

Sarah Bailey's Chocolate and Courgette Cake

350g Self Raising Flour
4 tsp Baking Flour
100g Dark Brown Sugar
200g Caster Sugar
4 tblsp Cocoa Powder
120g Butter
125ml Oil
130ml Milk
Vanilla Essence
100g Good Dark Chocolate(min 70%)
3 Eggs
450g Courgettes peeled and finely grated


Pre heat oven to Gas mark 4/ 180 c.
Cream the butter, sugar and oil together, beat the eggs with the milk and add to the butter and sugar mix.
Carefully add the flour,baking powder,cocoa and vanilla essence until thoroughly combined.
Break up the chocolate and mix in along with the grated Courgettes.
Fill a loose based 10" cake tin and place in the top part of the oven for between 50-60 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
When the cake has cool enough, top with a chocolate grenache.

Time to sow

Its still not too late to sow some seeds for a continuing crop. Try a few of the following:

Autumn/Winter variety Cauliflowers
Leaf Salad varieties
Autumn Winter Lettuce-Winter Density etc.

Too late to sow but still time for plants

Kale- a winter stalwart
Sprouting Brocolli- one of my favourites
Brussel Sprouts- If you like them
Leeks-As above,you should be planting your own into final positions.Remember to drop into the hole then water,not backfill the hole.

Another recipe to finish with

No quantities this time, just use what suits your tastes.

Chop courgettes into chunks and fry with basil and garlic,then simmer in stock until soft.
Blitz in a processor (be careful, hot liquids expand!) then stir in cream and parmesan if liked.
If you don't enjoy Parmesan cheese, substitute with natural plain yoghurt instead.

Well, I have plenty to do and enough mistakes to fill a new blog but until I find the time to do so,

Good Gardening!

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