Posts tagged rhubarb

Seedlings, storage ideas and this Sunday’s allotment harvest

I would like to be sharing some exciting news with you about some readings I’m going to be doing … but nothing is finalised yet, so I have to bite my tongue and wait until it is! Meantime:

winter density lettuce seedlings

The winter density lettuce seedlings are through!

radish seedlings

And the radish seedlings are even further along.

clever greenhouse storage solution

Winter is the time to work on storage solutions: like greenhouse flowerpot stockings!

allotment harvest leeks and rhubarb

Today’s allotment harvest: muddy leeks and early rhubarb.

nasty rhubarb

All of which leads to smugness when I see the price of supermarket crops that are of inferior quality to my home-grown ones!

My first workshop of 2014 will be on 29 March and I’ll be teaching people how to propagate perennials and grow their own exotic crops in a cold greenhouse. £5 per student, an extra 50 pence if you want to take home a starter pot of fresh lemongrass. Contact me through comments if you want more information!


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Allotment harvest 12 May 2013

103 allotment haul 12 may 13What a haul for a windy Sunday! We’ve got:

• one immense leek, the very last of the year – it will be a bit woody in the core but with that cut out it’ll make a great soup or pasta sauce
• at least a kilo of purple sprouting broccoli – which we love as much as asparagus (and a good thing too, as we’ve got plenty of the former and none of the latter for at least a year)
• rhubarb
• a nice big bunch of sage (for sage butter, and also fried sage leaves over pork – delish!)
• the first of the rainbow radishes

Not bad, not bad at all.

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How plot #103 looks today

allotment long view
Very mellow in the afternoon sunshine.

Two back-aching allotment holders trudged home with a trug ful of purple sprouting broccoli and another of rhubarb, after planting three rows of broad beean seedlings, a row and a half of second early potatoes and a row of Little Gem lettuce seedlings … plus watering, weeding and general tidying up!

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Rhubarb fool recipe

rhubarb foolNot everybody likes rhubarb – a fact I find it hard to accept. This simple recipe is lower in sugar and yet tastier, than many others. The addition of ginger gives warmth to a fruit many find too acidic for their tastes.


• 400 grams rhubarb, cleaned and chopped
• 2 tablespoons caster sugar
• 200 grams Greek yogurt
• 1-2 tbsp icing sugar
• 1 teaspoon ginger syrup
• Thumb-sized piece of preserved ginger (I used Gran Stead’s ginger in syrup – best flavour ever!)
• 200ml double cream

103 rhubarb 20 apr 13Method

1. Put rhubarb in a baking tray with the finely chopped ginger and sprinkle with sugar. Roast for 15-20 minutes at 170C until soft when pressed. Pour into colander to strain off juice.
2. Cool.
3. Put yoghurt in a bowl and beat with icing sugar and ginger syrup (spoon it from around the preserved ginger) until smooth and then gently beat in the cream.
4. Fold in the rhubarb gently, so it ripples through the mixture rather than being fully blended.
5. Spoon into pots, chill, serve.

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At last – purple sprouting broccoli!

103 rhubarb 23 feb 13There’s a delicious hint of fruit to come – the rhubarb is belting out of the ground, as it always does. Sometimes I feel like I can hear it growing, it’s so speedy! One of the nicest things about rhubarb is that you don’t have to do much with it, it grows pretty well anywhere, kills pretty well any weed that has the temerity to grow in its shadow, and can be used in pretty well any recipe (as long as the other ingredients have enough sweetness) from ice cream to wine.

I know other people listen for cuckoos and sigh after daffodils but for me it’s the first psb of the season that lifts my heart. Not just because I love it, although I do, but because by now I’m getting pretty fed up with the other things that are harvestable: kale, parsnips, cabbage and leeks being about the totality of what’s on offer if you don’t have a polytunnel. Purple sprouting broccoli adds a delicious new vegetable to our dinner table and from now on it’s going to become a regular treat until the rest of the spring vegetables start to appear.

And the two honeyberry (lonerica) bushes are both putting on a decent amount of bud. They aren’t going to be highly fruiting for several years and for the first few seasons they have a bitter or tart fruit, but apparently this will become sweeter as the years pass and even when it’s tart it’s a good addition to jams and jellies, which we eat a lot of every year. All in all, the burgeoning has begun!

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