Tag Archives: organic gardening

Ruth’s top tips for June

1. Plant out seedlings such as beans, courgettes, sweet-corn.

2. Sow successional salads, dwarf beans, peas.

3. Feed with seaweed meal and organic potassium, homemade comfrey and nettle liquid or organic tomato feed.

4. Water well once a week in dry spells (little and often causes shallow roots).

5. Harvest first early potatoes, broad beans, salad crops.

Want to know more about planting out and successional planting?  Ruth will be running her Urban Gardening Courses: Planting Out and Successional Growing.  Saturday 2nd June for Planting Out & Saturday 16th June for Successional Growing.  Both 2-4pm at Phoenix Community Centre.

Free for BHOGG members and local Phoenix area residents, £3 donation for non-members.

 

Warm Allotment Salad

Here’s a simple, easy and tasty recipe with all of June’s wonderful produce in mind!   Thanks to Bhogg Chairperson Jenni for the recipe.  I can’t wait to try it out!

Ingredients

Potatoes
Broad Beans
Peas
Lettuce
Radishes
Any other seasonal veg
Smoked Peppered Mackerel OR Goat’s Cheese OR smoked tofu /tempeh

Quantities will depend on how many servings you want (and how much produce you have!)

Method

Chop lettuce and radishes into a large salad bowl.  Prepare strips of mackerel /cheese /tofu (you can heat these if you prefer).

Shuck peas and broad beans and place in a steamer. Boil the potatoes until they are just off being fully cooked, then place the steamer over the top to finish. Add the potatoes, beans and peas to the bed of lettuce, mix carefully and place your choice of mackerel, cheese or tofu on the salad.

Add olive oil and lemon juice, salt & pepper to taste.  Serve with crusty bread and a glass of something chilled!

 

Salad June

 

Our annual seedling swap Sunday 6th May

Our annual Seedling Swap is taking place this year on the Organic Community Allotments at the Weald allotment sites (238 & 239) on Sunday 6th May between 11 am and 12.15pm.

We will then have our own picnic lunch in the peaceful setting of the Community allotment – as ever please bring a delicious contribution! It’s a chance to see our three beautiful community allotments cultivated by over 20 regular volunteers.  The seedling swap is for members only, and we need you to bring along any seedlings to swap – any leftovers will be found a good home and bed! Those who have little or nothing to swap should make a donation to BHOGG.

If you need to drop off plants by car, the Weald Allotment site can be located just off the Old Shoreham Road on Weald Avenue, BN3 7JN.  Once through the gates turn right and follow the lane East and North to drop off your plants. The lane is too narrow to cope with parking so please park either in the small central car park or outside the site.

In previous years we have had a great time with the chance to chat to over 30 of us. Fingers crossed for glorious weather as well as great company! If there is rain we have a polytunnel to retreat into, where it will be warm and cosy!

 

Winter Greens Trial update and fabulous traditional Japanese Fuyuna recipe

The Winter Greens have provided the most amazing source of fresh veg over the dismal winter months. Visiting the poly tunnel has been like venturing into a tiny oasis even on the worst of the wintery days.

I have picked every week since the first harvest until at the peak I was almost unable to use all the crops as they reached maturity. As the weather has warmed and dried out the poly more, the plants have started to go to seed, but this has not prevented us from harvesting the tenderest parts of the huge plants and continuing to enjoy fresh, invigorating greens.

My Japanese friend Kyoko (who also provided me with some of the seeds for the plants) has given me a recipe from her mum for one of the Winter Greens – Fuyuna. Delicious!

Kyoko’s Mother’s Traditional Japanese Fuyuna Recipe

You will need:

Fuyuna
Oil
Abura-age (thin deep fried Tofu, you can buy those frozen in packs of 3-4 sheets in Japanese shop)
Carrots
Mentuyu (concentrated udon and soba noodle soup-made from fish broth and soya sauce and sugar)

Method:

  1. Wash fuyuna and cut them 3-4cm length.
  2. Rinse 2 sheets of Abura-age with boiling water in order to to rinse away the oil, cut them as little finger size.
  3. Cut carrots a little thinner than abura-age.
  4. You can add pork or chicken as your choice.
  5. Stir fry Carrots first then add Fuyuna. When those veggies are half cooked then add Abura-age.
  6. Add Mentuyu to half cover veggies. If the Mentsuyu is too salty then add some water.
  7. Put the lid on, cook it till carrots cooked – I quite like not too soft!
  8. Before serving it, cool it down a bit in order for the taste to go into the veggies.

Volunteering at our community allotment: INTO transforms our south plot

A lot of great things have been happening at our Organic Community Allotment this spring.  A group of seventeen staff members from INTO marketing department joined us on April 4th, as a day for working in the Community and for Team-building.  The photos show some of their hard work that has helped transform the newest of our three allotments.

Every year, INTO helps thousands of young people from around the world to study at a leading university working together with university partners, providing specialist degrees and pathway programmes.

If you would like to get involved  come along on Sundays (11am – 1pm). Efforts are rewarded with a share of whatever produce is available and this allotment is very productive. Come and visit!

Pollinator Workshop Sunday April 22

Team Pollinate 22 April Workshop

 

Scientists at the University of Sussex are looking for growers in Brighton & Hove to help them learn more about food grown across the city.

Approximately one fifth of the world’s food is grown in urban areas, yet we know surprisingly little about how it is produced. That’s why citizen-science project, Team PollinATE, is working with growers in Brighton & Hove to collect data on which insects pollinate crops in urban areas, how much food small city growing spaces such as gardens and allotments can provide, and the most common pest control methods used by urban growers. The project has also partnered with scientists in India, who are working with urban growers in Kolkata to collect similar data and give a global view of urban food production.

The project launched in April last year, and already volunteers have collected lots of useful data. After attending a workshop on pollinator identification, throughout the summer of 2017 volunteers conducted quick pollinator counts in their growing spaces (surveying over 17, 000 flowers in total, and spotting 850 insects!), as well as keeping a diary of any pest control methods used. To help us quantify how much food people are producing across the city, some volunteers kept a record of the food they harvested, and by using our handy ‘Garden Shop Calculator’ could find out how much their produce was worth- on average volunteers grew an impressive £425 worth of food last year, with some volunteers ‘saving’ up to £900 by growing their own.

This year the project is open to anyone who grows their own food, be that in an allotment, garden, window box or community growing space. So, if you’d like to learn how to identify bees and other pollinators, why not visit our website and register yourself as a volunteer or come along to our next pollinator workshop at the BHOGG plot (11-1pm, Weald Allotments- all welcome!). You’ll receive a pack with more information on how to participate and monthly updates on the findings.

For more information, visit our website http://www.teampollinate.co.uk or email Team Pollinate co-ordinator, Beth Nicholls info@teampollinate.co.uk.

Review: No Dig Gardening Talk by Joshua the Gardener

We had an excellent illustrated talk by Joshua on 8th March at the Phoenix Community Centre.  Joshua was inspired to develop his raised bed veggie garden for his son with Down’s syndrome.  The soil was covered with cardboard, straw, manure, compost in a 2” deep layer, replenished every year, growing fab veg.  Worms and micro-organisms do hate to be disturbed; mulching with whatever is available is great for soil structure, preventing weeds, evaporation and keeping roots happy.

If anyone would like to take on the challenge of testing out their own ‘no-dig’ system, we’d be really interested in hearing about your experience.  We’d especially be keen to have a mini write up and pictures documenting your trial.  Let us know by email:  bhogg.org@gmail.com.

Review by Ruth.

How to grow…. potatoes

Traditionally, potatoes were planted on Good Friday.  This, of course, is not a set date, but moves around the calendar by up to a month.  I suspect it may have had more to do with Good Friday being a long standing common law holiday than it did with weather conditions, but links to the moon and gardening have always been exploited, so perhaps Good Friday signals an auspicious lunar time slot.

Whatever the reason, I find it a useful reminder of when to plant and I try to sow my potatoes around that date (and try to coincide with a mild spell followed by rain – potatoes are frost-sensitive).  I have sown both my early and main crop potatoes, but if you haven’t done so yet and if you’re new to growing, click on the video below.

 

Article and video by Jenni – BHOGG Chairperson

Winter at the allotment

Things have been pretty quiet on the allotment over the winter.  Still some hardy souls come along regularly enjoy the peace and tranquillity at the site. And we were treated with some spectacular scenes with the snow.

A gale-force rainy day compelled us to relocate our annual outdoor Winter Solstice celebration to the warmth and comfort of Alan’s house.  Mulled wine was sipped, delicious soup and cakes were consumed and carols were sung while the rain pelted the window.

CakeXmas

Now spring is here we are looking forward to the regular Sunday sessions 11-1pm at the Weald Allotment site.  For more details about how to get there click here.

 

Growing, Gluts and Generosity

Kate Harrison’s talk on Growing, Gluts and Generosity posed some interesting questions around what we as gardeners can do to take responsibility for our own food production. We discussed sowing less, sowing successively, thinning out more boldly, choosing varieties with longer harvest seasons, or growing multiple varieties to stagger production. But despite these ideas, we will still be likely to have gluts during the year. Solutions to this could be inventive recipes, food fermentation (see Kate’s fermenting article from last month), gifting to friends & family or even composting.

There were some shocking figures around food waste, yet 8.4 million people in the UK struggle to afford a meal (source: Food & Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations).

Fareshare, Food waste in the UK statistics, WRAP

Fortunately, many charities and organisations are working to ensure that the food waste meets the needs of those most vulnerable people struggling to afford to eat. FareShare (a national organisation) manages just 4% of the edible surplus food available, distributing food donated by supermarkets and food producers to frontline charities and community groups. Last year they provided enough food for nearly 25.8 million meals!

How FareShare Works

FareShare Sussex Impact

FareShare Sussex is based in Fairway Business Centre, Westergate Road in Moulsecoomb and is very happy to receive food donations from individuals.  This means for those months when you’re grown too much there is another option: you can bag it up and drop it off to the warehouse where volunteers and staff will be genuinely glad to see you.  Our community allotment volunteers delivered over a ton of apples to Fareshare in 2017.

To ensure your surplus stock is put to the best possible use, please contact:

Rachel Carless, FareShare Sussex Development Manager
Email: rachel@faresharesussex.org.uk
Tel: 01273 671 111

Review by Jenni, and special thanks to Kate Harrison for use of her FareShare slides.