Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Big Wednesday

I never normally consider the fact that this is a household of boys but there are times when there is a gender weighted divergence of interests. Happily, for all its faults, the TV caters for me on a Wednesday night: 'Flash Forward'. The couch and chairs are full with the line up of five who sit mesmerised and only break into life in the ad breaks to punch/pinch/chew nails/argue/discuss the programme, and all manner of boy things. I have the computer to myself and I don't need to see the screen to know that I'm not missing a thing.

These remind me of little birds peeping for food, actually, emergent lupins; planted a month ago in the glasshouse. At this time of year, indoors or out, growth is either nil or death by freezing. I have only really grasped the fact that in this climate there are only two crops a year and one of those is a cover crop that will germinate and grow through the coldest months.

It seems painfully obvious that winter crops need to be fully grown here before winter starts. I didn't quite manage that. For celery and cabbage I bought plants in early February which bought me time but the brussel sprouts should have had a lot more growing and the Kale, well I'll save that for a blog of shame.

The brussel sprouts, freshly shampooed and glistening. The spray had to be used in 24 hours and the recipe made 5 litres which even for me was too much. Next time I'll freeze half. It's active ingredients were chilli, garlic and onions and there was speculation that rather than annihilate, I might instead incite some sort of mexican party. No sombreros to be seen and the aphids turned from grey to black so I consider it a success. Each leaf has a sprout in its armpit until you get to the little cabbage on top which is the last thing to eat.

Getting back to the two crops per season, that main crop needs to go in as early as possible and the fennel also went in too late. I finally got one beautiful fennel, the only one that didn't bolt to seed and had to pick it because it was beginning to freeze. Now what? Well I feel like we need a culinary success here to justify growing it again. Just don't quite know what form that will take. Have used some in a salad to get the benefit of fresh, there's nothing like it but then you knew I would say that.

Finally I am going to take my own advice Marg, who I merrily told to save her runner beans to eat as shell out beans. I haven't tried them yet in this form myself but I am drying them very carefully. How easy it is to assume that voice of authority ... and really know nothing at all. Posted by Picasa


  1. Oh don't we all have an experience like that! Telling other people what to do based on ignorance and a desire to be knowledgeable. When someone left a comment saying, "line with batiste" - because in her experience it worked well, there were several nay-sayers decreeing it wouldn't work - who had never tried it. It worked perfectly. If only experience were behind our mouths instead of in front of them.

  2. THose brussell sprouts look lovely miri. Mine are in very poor shape - only a leaf or two masquerading as a sprout. I think I got them in too late. I did shell and cook the rest of my beans and may I say they were delicious. A added them to a lentil curry - I recommend them.

  3. even up north here I'm realising that those 'winter' crops need to be in way early. your fennel is beautifuland impressive - hopefully mine will keep growing, they are very wee at the moment! i'm interested in how you find eating your beans - every year I think I really should do that too, but haven't managed it yet.

  4. Those beans look like some kind of beautiful photo from an italian cookbook.
    I laughed about your garlic spray inciting a mexican party. Reba reba underlay underlay!