Are Your Runner Beans Stringy? Don’t Despair – Turn them into Runner Bean Soup!

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At this time in the harvesting calendar runner beans can be past their best and it is certainly the case on our allotment at the moment.  But having taken the time to grow them and then pick them, I was determined to find a recipe that would turn stringy runner beans into something delicious. 

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  • Chop the onions and in a large saucepan fry them in some olive oil until they turn clear
  • Wash the runner beans and remove the stringy edges with a potato peeler
  • Chop the beans and then add the beans and their seed pods to the onions
  • Peel the potato, chop into chunks and add to the saucepan
  • Add a sprig of mint torn into small pieces
  • Cook gently for a few minutes
  • Add the vegetable stock – use enough to cover the vegetables
  • Simmer gently for around 20 minutes
  • During the cooking add the milk
  • When all the vegetables are cooked add the remaining mint and then blend in a food processor
  • Add more vegetable stock or milk if the soup is too thick
  • Reheat the soup if necessary and add a dollop of sour cream to each bowl along with some croutons and a sprinkling of freshly chopped mint

Seven Reasons Why Using A Wooden Raised Bed Will Make A Difference

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edible_garden2More and more schools and gardeners are discovering the benefits of growing in Raised Beds. Here are the top seven reasons to use one!

1. You can match the type of soil in your Raised Wooden Bed to suit your plants or if you live in an area with poor or heavy clay soil you can fill your Wooden Raised Beds with a good growing medium.
2. Raised Wooden Beds take the bending out of gardening and provide easy access gardening for the young, old and the disabled.
3. Raised Wooden Beds offer improved drainage which is good news for those that live in an area prone to flooding and also during prolonged wet weather.
4. Crops are easily reached without walking on the soil so there is no compaction meaning less digging and less work.
5. The soil warms up much faster in Spring enabling you to plant earlier crops.
6. They are easy to cover with film, fleece or netting to protect crops.
7. They are suitable for growing a wide variety of Soft Fruits, Vegetables, Herbs, Flowers, Alpines, Small Trees and Shrubs.

Let Us help You Get Ready For May With These Top 10 GYO Jobs

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May can be one of the most busiest months in the garden or on the allotment so here are our top ten jobs for you to be getting on with during May:

  • Plant tomatoes in greenhouses either directly in the soil or place two in a grow bag. Make sure they have plenty of support!
  • Harvest asparagus spears if the plants are over two years old.
  • When you leeks are pencil-thick, transplant them in to 15cm deep holes.
  • Sow spring cauliflowers and winter cabbages in 1cm deep drills.
  • Plant your main crop potatoes and earth up around the shoots when they are 10cm tall.
  • Thin out your gooseberries by removing every other one.
  • Sow different varieties of salad leaves every three weeks for a constant and fresh supply.
  • Place a cloche over early strawberries to help them ripen early.
  • Watch out for carrot fly – they’ll be about and ready to strike.
  • Be prepared for late frosts. Even in May we can still get them!

Gardening Works – In Harmony With Nature

Robin and Wren Nest Boxes – A Question Answered

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The Robin & Wren Nest Box

This week we were asked the question this, ‘why does the Robin and Wren Nest Box have a metal hook and a wooden peg on the side?’

Well, we contacted the manufacturers of this wonderful product and here’s the answer we received…..

The flap on the side is so you can clean the nest box out which should be done between October and January. The reason for this is that you can get a build up of parasites in a nest box when a bird uses it consistently. The metal hook is to hold the lid up when the wood potentially shrinks in summer and stop the possibility of the flap opening and the bird falling out. The little wooden knob is there to it give you something to grip hold of when you are opening the box.

So there you have it – the answer to a puzzling question!

Get Involved With The RSPB’s Big Bird Watch

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Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 12.31.27Helping garden wildlife is fun – and it couldn’t be easier. Over the weekend of 30-13 January 2016, the RSPB would love you, your friends and family, to get involved in Big Garden Birdwatch – the world’s largest wildlife survey!

As an activity that started life as something for their youth membership to do in winter, Big Garden Birdwatch has grown into fun for all the family. All you need to do is count the birds in your garden or a local park for one hour then tell us what you see.

If you love wildlife and want to do something to help, this is your chance to get involved in something that really counts. After all, where would we be without snail eating thrushes and all the other birds that munch on so many pests?

You’ll have a little while to submit your results either by post or online by clicking here.

A Very Happy Halloween From Gardening Works

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Halloween is celebrated on the 31st October and is an ancient Christian Festival to mark the evening before All Hallows Day and today’s the 31st October so Happy Halloween!

Sylvia with a selection of giant pumpkins

But even before the days of Christianity, there was a celebration at this time to signify the changing of the season, and the preparations for the winter months ahead.

The Celts introduced the idea of wearing masks and costumes to ward off evil spirits at this time, and the Romans included the idea of fruit to the festival…which is still seen today with toffee apples and apple bobbing.

What will you be doing this Halloween? Maybe having a party or carving your own lantern?

Let us know as we’d love to hear from you! PS This picture is actually Sylvia on a past trip to Switzerland and we couldn’t resist showing you the fabulous pumpkins!gardening

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