Wednesday 8 July 2020

Gwenfar's Garden is moving!

Over the next couple of weeks, my site is going to be moving from Blogger to WordPress. Hopefully there won't be too much downtime, but I wanted to let people know.

Email subscribers: with luck your subscription will just transfer over, but if not, I'll need to get you to resubscribe. Once the work is done I'll be able to confirm.

RSS Feed: This will be moving as well, but I'll let you know the new feed URL once I have it confirmed.

I've been wanting to move to WordPress for ages and get away from the google-sphere, so fingers crossed it all goes well. See you on the other side!

An unknown Sempervivum cultivar, that after several years
finally flowered for the first time this summer.

Courgette Soup with Lentils and Cheese

c. 8 litres of soup

Serves 6

450g courgettes - chopped
350g potatoes - peeled and chopped (I leave the skins on as I prefer them that way)
3 garlic cloves - chopped
1.2 litres veg stock
Small bunch oregano
Summer: add ½ cup lentils (c. 120g)
Winter: add ¾ -1 cup lentils (c. 150g to 230g)

225g Brie - rind removed, or 200g grated cheddar or feta

1. Briefly fry garlic and oregano.

2. Put all the veg in a large pot, add the stock.

3. Bring to the boil, and add the lentils. Then simmer for 15 minutes or until the veg are tender.

4. Cool slightly, then process the soup using a blender until smooth.

5. If batch cooking, separate out into containers to freeze. When eating straight away or once a batch has been defrosted, see 6 and 7.

6. Add the cheese, bring back to near boiling point, stirring constantly so the cheese is combined with the liquid (you can also do this step using a microwave).

7. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

The lentils make it a heavier but protein rich soup, so I've given rough summer/winter estimates, given you don't always want a heavy soup in summer.

This soup easily scales up too. I often make x4 of the recipe, c. 10 litres.

Note: this is based on an Allotment Soup recipe, by Michelle at Veg Plotting, but adapted to my taste.

Monday 6 July 2020

Broad Bean and Feta Salad

Serves 2

200g shelled Broad Beans
1 crushed garlic clove, several garlic scapes, or Chives
10 or so leaves of Mint, chopped up
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
Black pepper
100g Feta
Salad leaves

1. Put garlic (or chopped alternatives) into a bowl with the olive oil, lemon juice, black pepper and mint.

2. Chop up the feta so it’s small crumbly pieces, then put to one side.

3. Boil or steam the broad beans for 1min 30 seconds.

4. Add cooked beans to olive oil etc dressing, and stir. Then add in the feta and stir again.

5. Serve on salad leaves.

Simple, but delicious.

Sunday 5 July 2020

A simple way to water sprawling cucurbits

Once your cucurbits (pumpkins/squash/courgettes) get growing, they can sprawl all over the place. When it comes to watering them though, you only need to water near the root of the plant. Watering along the sprawled stems and fruit won't actually do anything.

I use plastic bottles to make it easier for the water to go directly to the roots. Below are some bottles where I've taken the label off.

Remove the caps, then cut them roughly two thirds of the way along the bottle.

You end up with two pieces. On the left is the section that you'll be using for the cucurbits. On the right you could cut a couple of holes in the bottom and use these as pots to sow seedlings into.

You then want to dig a small hole next to the root ball of your plant. Not too deep, c. 10 cms. Basically, one-third of the plastic bottle (the thin end) should be embedded into the ground.

This shows that the plastic is in place, with the soil pushed hard up around it to keep it in place.

You can now easily water the roots of the plant via the plastic bottle access.

Here you can hopefully see that I've put in a plastic bottle next to each of the three plants, two pumpkins and a courgette.

Ideally, do this when you plant out your cucurbits, but as I did, you can do it a bit later. Just don't leave it too long, as you don't want to disturb the roots too much.

It's kind of less of an issue in a small garden when you are only growing a few plants, though even then, I've found it means I water more carefully. In a large garden or on an allotment site, this makes it easier to see the where to water.

P.S. I cannot claim that this was my idea originally, but I wanted to share how I do this, with pictures, to show people the steps.

Monday 29 June 2020

Happy ramblings: Rosa 'Seagull'

When we were leaving our previous house and garden, I took 10 cuttings of my rambling rose, Rosa Seagull. Roses aren't exactly known for being easy growing plants, and I'd never taken rose cuttings before and wasn't that hopeful that the cuttings would take. So it was quite a surprise when 9 of the 10 cuttings did!

So two years ago I planted two 20cm 'sticks' into the border of our south-facing fence. Here's the result. 

This was after a large attack of greenfly, just when the flower buds were developing, which my soapy water squirter took care of. It recovered well!

It's a very fragrant rose, and in the hot weather last week, sitting outside for dinner at our garden table, the aroma was beautiful.
And it was alive with buzzing from the many bees seeking it's pollen.

The flowers are now spent, so I'm going to prune back the stems and with luck, I might get a second smaller flowering.

As for all those other 7 plants, I didn't have room for them, so I gave them away so others could enjoy them.

It turns out that taking rose cuttings successfully is really quite easy, so do give it a try.