October’s Top Tips

 

Onion Bulbs.jpg

1. Plant spring cabbage, broad beans, garlic & onions.  And why not try sowing some winter greens if you have a sheltered spot or poly to use. Check out last year’s winter greens trial.

2. Plant bulbs & spring bedding (wallflowers, forget-me-nots)

3. Divide rhubarb crowns (see community noticeboard for some crowns going spare)

4. Clear beds & mulch with compost; put old vegetation into emptied compost bins

5. Trim hedges; cut down tired vegetation; protect ponds from falling leaves with netting

Autumn Wild Knowledge Walk led by Vera Zakharov

Toadstool

Sunday 21st October, 12pm to 2pm, Stanmer Park, meet outside of Stanmer House at 12 noon.

Come and discover the diverse and beautiful ecosystems thriving on our city’s doorstep at Stanmer Park. We will focus on edible mushrooms and plants, but will consider more broadly how species work together in a woodland setting, and explore foraging as a mindful practice and entry into caring for our natural environment.

Please note that due to the size and sensitivity of the woodland we will abstain from picking mushrooms, focusing instead on identification and broader knowledge development. Foraging is weather-dependent; please dress suitably for all eventualities. Children and dogs welcomed.

Free to BHOGG members; £10 for non-members or join for £10 on the day.

Jenni’s Autumn Chutney

A quick and easy recipe for using up any last autumn gluts from the garden.  Ready to eat in 3 months – the perfect homemade gift.

Spicey Chutney

Ingredients:

  • 3lb Marrow/ overgrown courgettes (skin & de-seed if tough)
  • 1lb Onions
  • 1lb Tomatoes (use green ones if that’s all you have left)
  • 1lb Crunchy veg (such as cabbage, runner beans, chard stems)
  • 6 good sized Garlic cloves
  • 1oz Root Ginger
  • 1oz Mustard seed
  • 1.5 pints Vinegar (use any: white, cider, spiced – I used cider vinegar)
  • Spices to taste (paprika, ginger, cayenne)
  • 2tsp Salt
  • 2oz Sugar

Method:

  1. Chop all veg into small pieces (think Branston pickle sized chunks) and place in a large flat-bottomed pan
  2. Add vinegar, sugar, salt & spices and bring to the boil.
  3. Simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally (don’t let it stick!)
  4. Pour into hot, sterile jars & seal

Prepping the veg

Wonderful Urban Worms

Wormery

Ruth has been busy with volunteers at the Phoenix Community Garden welcoming some of the best gardeners’ friends: wriggly worms!  A wormery is a great way of recycling your unwanted kitchen scraps when you live in an urban area and don’t have access to much outdoor space.  Here’s Ruth’s top tips for setting up a new wormery:

  1. Allow worms to settle for 2 weeks before adding any compostable material
  2. Add a handful of garden soil or homemade compost to bedding to add microorganisms
  3. Initially just give a handful of food (raw kitchen scraps, etc) every other day, bury it under damp shredded newspaper to keep it moist & deter fruit flies
  4. Position out of the sun & in winter insulate with bubble wrap
  5. Worms need air: add plenty of egg boxes, damp, shredded paper & corrugated cardboard to trap air
  6. Dry eggshells, crush & sprinkle; this gives them the grit they need & keeps alkalinity good
  7. Avoid onions, garlic & citrus fruit, grass cuttings

Cheat ‘Sun-ripened’ tomatoes

Although we have had more than our average sun quota this year, sadly its not lasted long enough to take full advantage for sun-drying our harvests.  So here is a simple recipe to make the most out of your cherry tomato glut and provide a mouth watering taste of summer in the deepest winter months.

Ripe cherry toms

It does take some time to oven dry your produce, so make sure you choose a time when you will be around for 2-3 hours.   Perhaps use this time to look through some lovely organic seed catalogues and daydream about next year’s plans.

You will need:

Cherry tomatoes – de-stalked, washed, dried and any dodgy ones removed

Olive Oil – for brushing

Salt & herbs for seasoning

Method:

  • Turn on oven to a low heat (around 120C / GM 1 or lower).
  • Line a large baking tray with baking paper or parchment and place a wire rack over this.
  • Slice your prepared tomatoes in half and lay out cut side facing up on the wire rack.  For added ease, I highly recommend this fabulous 1-minute tutorial on how to cut multiple tomatoes: https://www.wimp.com/a-simple-technique-for-cutting-cherry-tomatoes-in-half/

 

Tomatoes before

  • Brush the tomatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and herbs of your choice.  Basil or Marjoram are good with tomatoes.
  • Pop in the oven checking on the tomatoes’ progress periodically to make sure they are cooking evenly; they will probably fall through the wire rack, but don’t worry about that.
  • Continue to cook until they are squishy but not juicy (or you can decide for yourself the perfect consistency you want from a sun-dried tom).
  • Either use these in pasta dishes immediately, or you can further preserve them by either freezing or bottling.  I have frozen mine in one-meal quantities for easy use. Try searching on line if you want to preserve them in oil – this will take a bit more effort.

 

Tomatoes after

Save TOAST in your diary: The Organic Apple Sharing Treat

Sunday 2nd September, 11.00am at plot 182, Weald Allotment Site, Hove

We plan to pick apples from Alan’s heritage mini-orchard on the Weald allotment site, giving most of them to Fareshare, taking some home to sample, and juicing many of the ‘not quite perfect apples’ to make our own delicious drink. It will be a real treat.

We will also share Viv’s recipe for apple chutney and show you the ingredients so that you can make delicious chutney in your own kitchen and have it with cheese/ fake cheese on toast.

Bring your own organic apples if you have any to share; a press will be available on the day.

BHOGG members only event or join on the day.

What to do with courgette gluts? Sweet and savory recipes

Ross’s Easy Peasy Courgette Pesto

Courgette glut? Fed up of the sight of them? Use this recipe to hide the offending veg and make a super fast, super tasty, super fresh meal. This recipe makes enough pesto for 6 people.

Ingredients
6 courgettes, ideally around 12 cms long. Don’t use the oversize ones, as they may be too bitter for this recipe.
3 tbs olive oil
1 large clove garlic
handful of fresh basil
1 tbs pine nuts (or use cooked chickpeas as an alternative)
salt & pepper to taste
chilli flakes for dressing

Method

  1. Roughly chop courgettes – there is no need to cook, salt or drain them.
  2. Place all ingredients into bowl and whizz together using a hand blender (or put into a blender) – keep the mixture slightly textured
  3. Test and adjust seasoning to taste.
  4. Cook up your favourite pasta – I used linguine
  5. Serve the pasta with a little olive oil mixed through; spoon the pesto on top, garnish with basil and sprinkle with chilli flakes and / or cheese.
  6. Add a tomato salad and warm crusty ciabatta to make into a main meal.

 

Courgette & Chocolate Chip Muffins
Adapted from Allrecipes UK

This is a great recipe for using up all those pesky courgettes coming into season now. The ones I used were a drier variety, which meant I needed to add a bit more water to get the right consistency. I also reduced the oil and sugar to make a less sweet muffin.

courgette-choc-chip-muffins.jpg

Ingredients
200g plain flour
100g caster sugar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
100ml vegetable oil
80ml soya milk
1 tbs lemon juice
200g grated courgette (excess moisture squeezed out)
100g bar of dairy free chilli chocolate (cut into chunks) or choc chips

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C/ Gas 4. Grease muffin tins/ line with cases
  2. Combine flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda & salt together.
  3. In a separate container, mix egg, oil, milk, lemon juice & vanilla extract together. Add to dry ingredients and stir until just combined
  4. Fold in grated courgette & chocolate chips. Consistency should be dropping off spoon, but not runny. Add extra milk or water if mixture is too dry.
  5. Put mixture in muffin cases and place in oven.
  6. Cook for 20-25 minutes; cool; eat

 

Recipes supplied by BHOGG member Jenni.

Walk & Talk led by Geoff Mead: History of Gardening & Food Production in Brighton. 18th July, 7pm

Geoff Mead will reveal to us the history of gardening & food production in Brighton as we take a leisurely stroll from the Palace Pier around the city.

Please wear suitable shoes/ clothing, remembering to bring water, hat, sun cream, waterproofs, etc as the weather dictates for this outdoor event.

Meet at Palace Pier, July 18, 7pm.

Free to BHOGG members; £10/£5 non-members or join on the night.

Ruth’s top tips for July & August: Yielding

  1. Keep on top of weeding and watering.  It’s hot and dry out there so water well once a week.  Water at the base of the plant and try and avoid waterting during the heat of the day.

  2. Harvest beans, peas, courgettes, cucumbers etc. regularly to ensure on-going production

  3. Lift early spuds and use the beds to either plant out leeks and winter brassicas or sow with green manure; lift garlic and autumn planted onions

  4. Sow lettuce, beetroot, chard, oriental greens, rocket, carrots Feed tomatoes and peppers with an organic seaweed tomato feed or diluted comfrey liquid; spray everything with diluted liquid seaweed

  5. Summer prune trained apple and pear trees and cherries and plums in late August.