Archive for July, 2018

Crazy day (yesterday), 4am wake up, check outside (rain / wetness status) and prepare seed trays for final crops that are able to be sowed in July, go to work and finish an our later than normal … come home, eat and get busy in the kitchen!
So last night I made the Banana Loaf and followed it up with a few jars of home made Chutney, it’s been a good while since I made a Chutney and I only did it as I had more than a Kilogram of foraged red plums that were harvested before ripening, they are a bit too tart to enjoy as they are and I was running out of my last couple home made chutneys from previous years …

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For now, here is the Banana Loaf recipe, I might only share the Chutney recipe at a later date as it was also an experiment and I will need to age the Chutney for at least one month before I can do a taste test.

If you have never made a cake before, this is a great beginner recipe with only 5 ingredients!

Banana Loaf:

3x medium or 2x large very ripe bananas,

250g self raising flour,

120g Sugar,

2x Eggs,

125g Butter, cut into small pieces at room temp

1x Greased Cake Loaf Tin (I usually use a small amount of Olive Oil for the greasing)

Method:

Mash the bananas in a bowl with a fork or back of a spoon, now add the butter together with the sugar in a mixing bowl and mix.

Add one egg followed by 1-2 Tbsp of the flour, mix then add in the other egg and mix well.

Add in the mashed banana, mix again, followed by sieving in the remaining flour – mix again.

Fill your Loaf tin or smaller Cake tin,level it a bit and bake at 180 Degrees C. For 40 minutes.
After 40 min’s, place a sheet of Aluminium foil over the top, bring down to 150 Degrees C. And bake for a further 20 – 30 min’s.

Remove and check with a metal skewer or cutlery knife, stick it in and pull out fast, if a sticky substance shows then it is still a bit wet internally, cook for a further 7-10 min’s and check again, once your tool of choice comes out clean, then switch off and place somewhere to cool down for 10 mins before removing from the tin to cool down further.

The original recipe calls for a crazy 175g of Sugar! I have substantially reduced the amount of sugar needed and the result is a pleasant sweet loaf cake …

A week or o ago I made a Rhubarb and Custard Cake which was delish’, I hope to share this recipe with you soon as well, otherwise click on ”Recipes and Preserving” at the top of the page.

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I know that this summer has been bad in terms of the ‘drought’ we are experiencing in England / Britain and this may be part of the cause of the issue discussed further but, it is human stubbornness that is the main culprit when it comes to environmental issues.

People insist on Buxus (Box hedge /tree) in their gardens but now the Box tree Caterpillar is a serious pest in the UK and other parts of Europe, as usual people turn to the RHS for advice and they themselves don’t even tell us that our chemical treatments Will kill other beneficial insects such as Ladybirds, Bees, Lacewigs etc etc.

The solution is simple, Stop Trying To Fight what may become a permanent problem!! Simply get rid of the Buxus and replace it with similar shrubs ie: ‘Ilex crenata‘ being one I would say is the go-to replacement.

Also, write to and pressure the RHS to take more time out and inform their members about the environmental damages which the chemicals they seem to promote – actually cause.

One great way to control Aphid in your garden or vegetable patch is to encourage Ladybirds, there are a couple methods and probably the best guaranteed one is to find trees / plants which aphid go for in serious numbers, Linden ‘Tilia cordata’ or Lime tree as it is wrongly known as is a great example, they get covered in Aphid every yea and subsequently attract ladybirds, you can collect ladybirds and their pupae into small bottles to spread around your garden or you could order them online! Another method is to research which umbellifer wild flowers are native locally and plant a mixture of them, umbellifers are plants which have flat clusters of small flowers which are often umbrella shaped, these usually attract aphid and result in Ladybird and hoverflies coming in to look for food! Often ants fight off the ladybirds, one method to distract the ants is to have a sugar water source nearby …

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Organic Pest Control by Encouraging Nature – Permaculture Allotment

Keep in mind, only release ladybirds in the evening and it helps to spray your plants with water as this will dissuade them from leaving right away however, if you place them in the day by hand directly onto a plant covered in Aphid, they usually start chomping immediately.

Store them in their bottle (with breathing holes and some leaves / twigs inside) inside the fridge if you cannot get them in place the same day …

The above photo is of two newly ‘hatched’ ladybirds hence why they are only orange at this stage, going back to my allotment the next day I saw the plant already had at least 50% less aphid just within 24 hours!

Today I had a short watering and planting session and can confirm that companion planting potatoes around a french bean tipi delivers good foliage and healthy plant results! If I remember, I will do my best to weigh the resulting potato harvest – Beans are natural Nitrogen Fixers and they help feed nearby plants in a symbiotic relationship (The potatoes will deliver a ground cover and reduce moisture loss).

Further, small frogs are leaving the pond and again I harvested 1 large and 3 smaller Courgettes (Zucchini) from only two dwarf bushes! I am on a mission this year to be sure to keep harvesting them when small to see how much yield I can get from those two plants, I have germinated two others to be able to possibly pickle their yield for winter use. The dry weather is actually a welcome! I have had far less slug and snail damage this year when compared to previous years …