Are you a gardener?
What is giving you pleasure in the garden at the moment?
My favourite exercise, since settling down to grow roots instead of travel, is gardening. Reg and I ate a fresh home grown garden salad with dinner after a harvesting stroll around the garden together.
Temperate Zone, Early Winter Vegetable Garden.
I harvested the last of our butternut pumpkin today. It is cooking right now in the slow cooker. Lamb shank and vegetable both comfort food when I get home from the dentist tomorrow.
Tonight I used a whole head of cauliflower to make Cauliflower cheese bake. Oh, yummy. It is my favourite non-meat meal.
I need to layer well-rotted compost over my three vacant vegetable beds and plant them up for early spring harvest. I'm seventy, and my body has retired, even if my mind hasn't. So I just tackled a small amount of work at a time. I have raised garden beds, and I have chairs dotted around the garden which are well used when I need a rest, which is often these days.
I use a yard man for heavier work such as cutting back spent perennials near the ground or for tying rose canes over arches. I've needed to get tough and remove plants that become too heavy maintenance.
Cauliflower Cheese Bake
I skip the flour use for thickening and use about 100 gram of strong tasty cheese per person. Se, 400 grams of cheese per cauliflower, and no flour. I use a smothering of breadcrumbs and lots of dabs of butter on top to ensure it makes a crunchy topping.
I throw away the recipe book and create.
Boil the cauliflower flowererettes until tender. Drain the water into the stockpot and add the cauliflower sharks. There is no need to throw half your edible vegetable scraps away, they make excellent stock, soup of stems.
Add tho drained cauliflower to a lightly buttered (to stop it sticking to the sides) ovenproof dish.
Heat oven to 200C
The recipe says: Put the saucepan back on the heat and add the milk, flour, and butter. Keep whisking fast as the butter melts, and the mixture comes to the boil – the flour will disappear, and the sauce will begin to thicken. Whisk for two mins while the sauce bubbles and becomes nice and thick. Turn off the heat, stir in most of the cheese and pour over the cauliflower. Scatter over the remaining cheese and breadcrumbs.
I scrap all of that information. It is my kitchen. I create.
My plan is delicious, nutritious, and easy to prepare and clean up after.
Lightly fold the 400 grams (not measured, just tip from the packet) of grated cheese over the cauliflower and fork through.
Pour a little will over the top. Cover with more grated cheese, add a breadcrumb topping. Add dabs of butter on top ef the breadcrumbs. Put in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes until the cheese and breadcrumb crust is golden and crunchy.
The recipe says that this serves four.
What I plant in the garden in early winter
Beans - broad beans, fava beans
(also Fava bean)Plant in garden.Harvest from mid Spring.
Compatible with (can grow in same bed): Dill and Potatoes.
I have potatoes growing I leave a few in to from on from the previous year's crop.
Culinary hints - I pick them while tiny and sweat. cooking and eating Beans
Plant out seedlings.Harvest from August.
Winter is the best time to grow these. Get them picked and eaten before white butterflies are about in springtime to destroy the crop.
Compatible with (can grow in same bed): Dwarf (bush) beans, beets, celery, cucumber, onions, marigold, nasturtium, rhubarb, aromatic herbs (sage, dill, chamomile, thyme) Marigolds and nasturtiums are deterrent to insects but will not grow through wither in my area where we get frost.
Garlic Plant in garden.Harvest from November.
An easy way to remember when to plant garlic, is to plant it on the shortest day of the year and harvest it on the longest day.
Compatible with (can grow in same bed): Beets, Carrots, Cucumbers, Dill, Tomatoes, Parsnips
I have my garlic growing with onions, leek, chives and shallots, and I plant these in a different bed every year.
(also Borecole)Plant out (transplant) seedlings.Harvest from August.
I find kale easy to grow. It is one vegetable that does not need full sun.
Compatible with (can grow in same bed): Dwarf (bush) beans, beets, celery, cucumber, onions, marigold, nasturtium, rhubarb, aromatic herbs (sage, dill, camomile)
Plant in garden. Harvest from early spring,
Compatible with (can grow in same bed): Carrots, Onions, Strawberries, Beets, Brassicas, Radish, Marigold, Borage, Chervil, Florence fennel, leeks.
Plant in garden.Harvest from early summer
Plant in garden.Harvest from early spring.
(also Sugar Peas, Mangetout, Chinese Peas)
Plant in garden.Harvest from mid spring,
Plant in garden.Harvest from mid spring
It is time for me to remove my strawberry runners, and replant them. They will take root to form new plants. Cut them off and leave the parent growing.