Archive for January, 2009

The eat-free diet

Leeks, parsnips and Jerusalem artichokesOn the menu tonight:

• Parsnip, onion, porcini and Jerusalem artichoke soup (tastes a lot better than it sounds)
• Ham, potato and leek casserole

Bit of a calorie nightmare, but probably just about within the bounds of my new diet. I’m now into the action phase of my face-facts-you’re-fat campaign.

Somehow, I have to lose half a stone.

Posted on 31st January 2009
Under: Alliums, Roots, Winter | 3 Comments »

Celeriac seeds are go!

Well here it is: the first seed sowing of the season. And the first alliteration.

This is celeriac, which needs a long, long growing season to achieve any size. I sow the seeds indoors, transferring to individual pots when the seedlings are established. To simplify the process, I’m experimenting with these expanding peat pockets.

And yeah, I know I shouldn’t be using peat. Gimme a break; it’s the only time I touch the stuff for anything.

Peat pockets Pockets in tray

Pockets expanding in water Seeds sown in propagator

Posted on 26th January 2009
Under: Roots, Winter | 7 Comments »

Soilman’s self-help principles

asparagus_bedI have to face two cruel facts:

  1. I’m lazy
  2. I’m fat

Proof of the first: Since Christmas, I have completed but one task at the allotment – manuring the asparagus. That’s it. Sod all else. This is a dismal performance, even by my low winter standards.

Proof of the second: None of my trousers fit. Some don’t even come close.

So I have a plan. To counter the laziness issue, I plan to do… nothing. And my response to being a porker will be… nothing. Because the main thing, when you’re in the shit, is to Face Up To The Truth. Action can come later, if ever.

I feel so much better for tackling the problem head-on. See how some simple, home-spun philosophising can change your whole outlook? I tell you, I should bottle this stuff.

Posted on 24th January 2009
Under: Asparagus, Rants, Winter | 6 Comments »

Lousy leeks

Slow-growing leeksWhat crappy leeks. 

OK, so I planted out the seedlings a little late – mid-July, rather than June. But they should have made better growth than this. 

I’ve not had a single meal out of them yet. And probably won’t before March. 

I blame the grim summer. Anyone else had difficulty with their leeks this time around?

Posted on 23rd January 2009
Under: Alliums, Winter | 8 Comments »

Emerging garlic shoots

Emerging garlic shoots The first vegetable shoots of the new season. Rather wanky, admittedly, but great oaks from small acorns grow. And big garlic bulbs start with shoots from small cloves.

I know it’s MADNESS writing this, but I’m more and more convinced we’re going to have a great summer. Mark my words: it’ll be a cracker.

And if it isn’t, at least now you’ve got someone to blame.

Posted on 19th January 2009
Under: Alliums, Winter | 11 Comments »

Early signs of Spring

Snowdrops growing in my garden

At long bloody last; a few signs of winter thaw. I’ve been desperate to see these for weeks.

The appearance of snowdrops is my cue for sowing celeriac, the slowest growing vegetable of all. The earlier you get cracking, the bigger the bulbs you get in autumn.

So the season begins here.

Posted on 17th January 2009
Under: Flowers, Winter | 6 Comments »

Is it Spring yet?

Duvet daySurely it can’t still be midwinter??

If I seem a tad low, it’s because I bloody am. Two weeks of frost means I’ve not been able to turn a spade in anger. Ground’s frozen solid.

So’s the economy, of course, which adds a nice dollop of misery to an already frosty January.

It will get even worse, too, but can I just savour the delicious frisson of gloom already available to the born pessimist? Who knows, things might look up any minute.

Then where would I be?

Posted on 7th January 2009
Under: Rants, Winter | 8 Comments »