Potatoes

Extend the season for earlies and avoid blight on maincrops…

Plant just one short row of earlies as soon as conditions allow in order to get your first new potatoes of the season. Then plant maincrop and second earlies so they have a long growing season before blight strikes. Continue with the rest of the earlies, staggering the planting so not all are ready at once.

Gillian North

Sowing Seeds

Gillian’s ‘three for one’ planting tip…

Sowing: It is necessary to sow three seeds, or plant three plants – one for the slugs, one for the weather and one for yourself. If the first two survive, they can go to the annual bring and buy sale.

Gillian North

Onion Sets

Gillian’s tip for getting the most from your onions and garlic.

Always buy twice as many as you think you will need and either plant all closely or plant half in a separate bed one inch apart. Thin out or pull when large enough to use as spring onions from late April or early May onwards. Continue using as large spring onions and young ‘green’ onions. Delicious at any size and much sweeter and juicier than fully ripened onions. Also, start using some garlic young and green in late June. This is when it is at its best.

Gillian North

Eating Nasturtiums

Yes, really!

The Nasturtium is said to have sprung from the blood of a Trojan warrior. The blossom symbolised his golden helmet and the round leaf his shield. It is a close relation of watercress, which explains why its leaves make such a tasty addition to salads. The seeds of this creeping, twining plant when pickled make a good substitute for capers.

Gillian North

Slug Slime on Fingers

Next time you get slug slime on your fingers try this…

Yuk! Even soap and water won’t shift slug slime on your fingers. Next time try rubbing the slime with something mildly acid: rhubarb juice, gooseberry juice, lemon juice, vinegar. Magic!

Joe Foster

Disposing of Weeds

Even couch grass and bindweed roots can be composted if you know how.

There is no need to ‘dispose’ of weeds at all. You can compost them. Even couch grass and bindweed roots can be composted if you know how. Either bury them deep (60 cm) in your compost heap or suffocate them in closed black plastic bags with a bit of water. You end up with some nice rich compost and you preserve your precious soil.

Joe Foster

Scarpaccia

A Tuscan zucchini pie without pastry …

(a Tuscan zucchini pie without pastry):

  • 1 or 11/2 lb young courgettes (use flowers as well)
  • 4 or 5 large spring onions
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 4 or 5 tbspns finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • Batter made from
    • 2 large eggs
    • 2 oz brown flour
    • 4 fl oz skim milk or milk + water
    • Butter and olive oil

Finely chop or slice courgettes and finely slice spring onions. Crush garlic. Beat the eggs, flour and milk to make a thin batter. Add vegetables and Parmesan, and season and mix well. Butter a large shallow oven proof dish and pour in the mixture. Don’t make it too deep – rather use two dishes. Drizzle over some olive oil and bake in a hot oven (gas 6/ electric 400) until set, lightly browned and risen slightly. Serve warm or cold.

From Gillian North

Boundary Fence Update

We have been awarded a Well-Being grant of £219 to make up the last bit of the cost of a new fence along our eastern boundary, where Harry Jackson’s pig farm used to be. The Well-Being Fund grant is awarded by local Ward Members through the Inner North West Area Committee, part of Leeds City Council.

We have been awarded a Well-Being grant of £219 to make up the last bit of the cost of a new fence along our eastern boundary, where Harry Jackson’s pig farm used to be. The Well-Being Fund grant is awarded by local Ward Members through the Inner North West Area Committee, part of Leeds City Council. The rest of the £5177 for the project will come from a Weetwood Ward based initiative (many thanks to Councillor Sue Bentley) and from the Parks and Countryside allotments budget (many thanks to Tom Peacock, the Allotments Officer). We expect the work to be completed by April 2011. It will be a metal round-bar fence, like the one at the western side of the site, by the main gate. We hope will make a real difference to the spate of thefts and vandalism we have suffered lately, and will help us all to feel more secure when we are on our plots.