Posts Tagged ‘peas’

Rhubarb, Rhubarb, Rhubarb

Another week gone by, another hanging basket hung in the overcrowded greenhouse, and … another wet day! Will we ever be able to plant anything out? There are so many jobs to be done but this grotty weather is stopping us from getting on with most of them.

We planted another lot of peas last night. This is our third attempt: the first lot got eaten by mice, the second lot got drowned in the rain, so hopefully third time lucky. It seems that if things don’t get eaten, they get washed away. The sprouts and Sticcolli got bombarded by the storms a few weeks ago so we had to dismantle the cloches. This was good news for the pigeons, who managed to peck their way through the lot before we had chance to protect them. A second batch has now been planted and surrounded by a very complex system of gold cotton – ha, try pecking your way through that without getting stuck!!

Despite all of this, there are a few things that are doing well. Many of the strawberries are in flower and looking very healthy, the currants all have currants starting to appear and the rhubarb is growing like wild-fire. So, with a very soggy Bank Holiday Monday there was no option but to get creative in the kitchen with the rhubarb. We were determined to pick it while it is young this year and make the most of it. Last year we were complete rhubarb novices and left it to grow far too long and it became woody. Anyway, we called in the rhubarb tester last week (my mother) who assured us it was just right for picking. She eats it raw – aghh! (that’s what growing up during the war does for you). Last year she spat it out, but this year she just kept munching – proof that it was fit for eating.

So, what do we do with it? Well, I came across a recipe for Rhubarb Vodka so that was high on the list. Here it is…

The Rhubarb Vodka in progress

It might look all a bit stringy at the moment but hopefully in 3 weeks time when I’ve strained it, it’ll be pure nectar. Could it be this year’s village show winner and help us retain that Vicarage Cup? Well, if that fails perhaps the Rhubarb and Orange Jam might be a winner.

Lovely rhubarb

Rhubarb & Orange Jam

This is really tasty – a bit like marmalade but with that slightly sharp rhubarb taste. All we need to do now is to wait for a few more sticks to grow so that I can have a go at Rhubarb and Cardamon Chutney – Yum!

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Who’s had a picnic on our peas and a mange on our mange tout?

Having set ourselves a whole list of jobs to do on Sunday, we were a bit disappointed to have only completed a couple of them by the end of the day. Still, the carrots are in and some nasturtium have been sown around the broad beans to help control any blackfly. If it’s anything like last year, the broad beans will have come and gone long before the nasturtiums have sprung into action, but they do add a bit of colour in the veg patch…eventually. This is what they should look like.

Nasturtium Tom Thumb

Anyway, there has been much progress on the Jubolympic sitting area. Although a couple of hours were spent scratching our heads trying to work out how on earth to reconstruct the polytunnel frame in a creative way whilst making the best use of all the pieces, we finally cracked it. It seemed that the DIYerphobe member of the team suddenly came into his own once he had attached a pencil behind his ear. He was suddenly transformed into a Tommy Walsh-like character (spare the thought!) and soon had the whole thing adapted and ship-shape. The idea is to attach canes to it so that we can grow the runners, squash, borlotti and french beans up them. They should then grow over and cover it to provide a shaded area to sit under for those well-earned coffee breaks! In theory, it’s seems a good idea although there are concerns that it will either attract so many bees that we won’t want to sit under it, or that we might end up having to wear hard hats for fear of being tonked on the head by a butternut squash! It’s not complete yet, so not willing to post any pictures until it’s finished. So instead, here’s a of picture of our lovely tulips…

and another…

Whilst being so engrossed in our masterpiece construction, we failed to notice that something had pinched our peas. Himself had planted them the week before and had made quite a display of how neatly he had done so. Since he has finally understood the ‘piece of string attached to two wooden pegs = a straight line’ concept, his planting skills have come on leaps and bounds. Sadly, some cheeky mouse has decided to take the mickey and pinch every single pea seed without leaving a trace except empty holes where the seeds had been. So, it was back off to Wilko to buy more seed today. This time we’re starting them off indoors – he’s not ‘aving ’em this time!

No mouse is going to mange through these mange tout!

It’s pouring with rain today so not sure if we’ll get much done tonight, except pea planting. Still, it’s all helping to fill up those water butts. Not good digging weather for us, but apparently ducks don’t mind it!