Thursday, 4 August 2016

Goodbye to SFG

After a very enjoyable 5 years with a garden where I was able to try out Square Foot Gardening, I have moved. I only have the possibility to garden in pots now, but it's all I need. So, goodbye to all that, and goodbye to this blog... at least for a while. Who knows what may one day develop?

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Grand October SFG Clear-Out.

Time for a new video, and finally, something about the SFG which warrants it. I've had so much work over the last 18 months, plus other commitments which have put SFGardening right at the back of my mind, but the poor patch has been screaming for attention since July, when I last did anything worth while there, and two very kind friends came over and helped me bring it back into shape. We had a wonderful day working together, the weather was fabulous, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
I've removed all the grids and washing line which formed SF squares in the beds. The wooden grids were rotten anyway, and if I add new humus, compost and vermiculite next spring (I still have a couple of bags of horse manure waiting to be used) it will be easier to do without the grids there. I'll use fresh washing line which will look cleaner and nicer anyway.
I'll buy another couple of packs of plastic bed edging to replace the 4x4 which is really falling apart (where I had the squashes growing a couple of years ago). The great thing about this bed edging is that it also has holes in the upper surfaces exactly where the grids have to be positioned. The edging comes with pegs which can be inserted in case you want to add another layer on top, thereby heightening the raised bed. These pegs will act perfectly to wind the washing line around, creating a new 16 square grid.
This might be the last time I write about the garden this year...we'll see.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Recipe from 'Jerusalem' by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi.

Chicken with Caramelized Onion and Cardamom Rice. p.184

This was really easy and dead delicious.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Choc-Crunch Cake – (men LOVE this)

This was originally a Woman and Home recipe – I cut it out of the magazine sometime between the years 1994-1995.

I’ve added two pictures to show a couple of variations that you can make.

For the cake:
340 g plain chocolate
2 tablespoons golden syrup (if in Germany and you don’t have any, use Zuckerrübensirop – just as good – otherwise, Agave syrup or even honey would do)
140g butter
170g cornflakes (or crunchy nut if you like, but that’s more calories)

For the filling:
280ml double or whipping cream
230g strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
Blueberries, or any other fruit, bananas, apricots kiwi, whatever you like

To complete:
Icing sugar for dusting
110g strawberries and/or other fruit for decoration (optional)

I put a piece of greaseproof paper on a cake stand/plate and stick an adjustable gateau form (Tortenring) on top. If you don’t have such a form, line a cake tin (24cm) with greaseproof paper, so that the resulting cake can be easily lifted out.

1.       Put the chocolate, syrup and butter in a saucepan and melt on a low heat. Stir frequently. Remove pan from heat when everything is melted. (Or warm up in the microwave in a plastic bowl on the lowest setting for about 3-4 minutes).
2.       Tip the cornflakes into a large bowl. Pour the chocolate mixture on top. Mix until thoroughly combined.
3.       Pour the mixture into the cake or gateau form and spread evenly. Leave in a cool/cold place for 1-1,5 hours. Once chilled, removed from tin. Dust with a bit of icing sugar.
4.       Whip the cream until thick. Spread on the cake, or mix with some of the (sliced) strawberries … basically decorate as you like. I poured a bit of melted chocolate-butter-syrup over the top of the whole thing at the end, this time.  There are lots of decorative variations you can do with this –make it either in two smaller layers and stick a cream/strawberry layer in between, or do it in one, and mound all the cream etc., on top. I find the latter easier to cut, but it’ll probably break up anyway, so  if you mind if your relatives complain if their piece of cake breaks up when you put it on their plate, make something else. ;)  Another alternative would be to make small, individual amounts in muffin cases and decorate with cream and fruit.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Pesach: What to do with Lovage

We had a frost last night, which resulted in my lovage plant, which had grown to about a metre in height over the last four weeks, partially collapsing. It's an impressively fast growing herb, but apart from throwing the odd frond into a bowl of soup, I hadn't really come up with much of a use for it, except to look at as a centre piece for the SFG. So, knowing that in a few weeks' time the stems would become somewhat stringy, I decided to cut all the collapsed fronds off and make them into pesto. So here it is. A large trug full of lovage, some olive oil, three cloves of garlic, salt and pepper and a generous slosh of pomegranate syrup, which mitigates the rather sour lovage flavour, and there you are. It's amazing how little it concentrates down to. We're having lamb and couscous today, and I think this will go rather well with it, like Pesach bitter herbs. I expect in another few weeks I'll be able to do the same thing again.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

December Square Foot Garden

December Square Foot Garden
All the garden has been cleared up and weeded. Old growth has been cut away. So far we haven't had any snow, and it's still fairly mild. We only have 8°C today. There's a bit of chard left (Bright Lights) a few herbs plus the winter-hard shrubs.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

First 2013 entry - Spring's here at last - first time I've been able to get out into the garden.

 Well, at long last, Spring has arrived in Bavaria, Germany, as it has done for the last few years, with a vengeance - we've had temperatures up in the 70s and 80s this week - and nature is doing its best to make up for lost time, it seems. Winter seemed SO long this year and everyone is relieved to feel the sun on our backs. So I have taken advantage of the fact that I've had a bit of free time on my hands, and have re-weather-proofed the raised beds, put down fresh bark chippings in between (after laying new weed cloth along the back of the sfg area - the weeds came through a bit last year) , my herbs, spring salads and kohlrabi are coming up, and for a change this year, I've put a few flowers in the mix as we'll be away some of the summer and I won't be able to harvest things as much. It feels wonderful to have got everything ready at last.

The whole area from the south, taken this afternoon. The lovage is coming up very quickly in the middle.

From the top right: thyme, rosemary, oregano and chives, various bedding plants - to make a splash of clour, oak leaf lettuce, red kohlrabi and on the bottom left, stevia, which wintered in our living room, was cut back recently, and which I hope will do well in its corner there.

Cat mint, lettuces, kohlrabi and winter portulak.

Various lettuces, rocket (bottom left hand corner - winter hardy) and dill, sown under the obelisk.

Two blue lupins (right) and in the old sandpit, various bedding planst (campanula persicifolia, coreopsis grandiflora) cat mint, lettuces and rocket.

From the west.

Very exciting - this isn't a sfg, but my asparagus is coming up after I planted the plants last year. I'll be able to harvest one spear from each plant this year, and next year I will be able to harvest normally.