Weekly Blog No 101 – Vegetable Garden

This year, my goal was to do a vegetable garden. As I had the space down the bottom of garden, it was worth a shot. In February/March, I started to grow from seeds, tomatoes and brussels sprouts. In the meantime, I got Mr Zebrakat to start making raised wooden beds.

Everything I was attempting was a complete learning curve. I did the seeds in seed trays and watering the seeds was crucial. There was even an element of excitement when you see a sea of green coming through the soil. Little leaves started to protrude through and develop into a dainty like stem. Once I had seedlings I would transfer them into seed/cutting trays. Seeds definitely need a lot of attention and perseverance. Outdoor seeds seem less demanding. Now in seeing my crop of veggies, I think I would attempt seeds again but on a smaller scale as I will explain later.

I needed the wooden raised beds, therefore I got Mr Zebrakat to show me his carpentry skills. My request was wooden tubs with legs to reduce bending. Most of my raised were 4ft X 2ft. I painted the outside of the beds with a Ronseal paint. I filled the bed with a layer of gravel for drainage and to stop mould. Then a layer of organic compost and then a moisture control soil and I had read raised beds dry out quicker. That does appear to be the case, however we have had extreme heat wave days.

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Raised Vegetable Beds

I attempted to plant vegetable companions to avoid diseases etc. For example Brussels with tomatoes.  Potatoes with cauliflower. I brought cauliflower plants the only plant I didn’t grow from seed and caterpillars took revenge. The perfect yellow and black inserts were all over the back of the leaves. I was so disappointed, nevertheless it’s the only way to learn. Therefore, to eliminate the problem I removed them all. Goodbye cauliflower.

I then sow carrots from seed directly into the beds and are ready in 12 weeks. They are doing fine, however are being smothered by tomato plants.  Brussels are still growing and I’m learning they take a while. My early potatoes are taking shape in spite of picking some to early. My first crop of potatoes tasted wonderful.  I actually pulled the potatoes when the plant flowered, I have since you don’t pull them until the flower has died. Someone else told me to let them flower twice before gathering the next crop.  well today I have collected the remaining crop. I shall plant some more potatoes in the next couple of days.

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Potatoes

I actually over planted my tomatoes. It’s like a jungle of plants and restricting my walking around the beds. I have learned, I don’t need so many plants next time around and I will support the individual plants. Although my tomatoes are taking shape as you can see from the photos its definitely a lesson learned.

When spaces become vacant in the beds, I will plant some other vegetables. I would like to try courgettes, cabbage and salad items. If anyone has any tips please share them with me.

Weekly Blog No 60 – Food Discovery 

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Earlier this year, I did mention in Challenge No 27 that I was going to try to extend my skills in cooking etc. I wanted to eat less processed food, which I believe I’ve achieved. However there is always room for improvement.

My GI symptoms have not improved but I do think there is an element of underlying food allergies. I have previously been tested for coeliac in the UK & Canada and it has always came back negative.  Yet other tests have shown that I am gluten intolerant. I do have an allergy to the protein in cow’s milk, I’m not lactose intolerant, therefore I have refrained from cows milk in over 10 years especially in tea & coffee.  I’m a big fan of almond milk and I will use the product in cereal, puddings or sauces etc.

I will be the first to say I’m no saint, I don’t have the complete discipline in avoiding bad food for me.  When I say that, I don’t mean eating loads of cakes or chocolate. What maybe is considered as healthy to you its not good for me. For instance a nice chicken salad sandwich is a sensible option for most people but bread for me is not a good option, bang goes my discipline.

I have read & learned from other people’s blogs and gained  some fantastic ideas, which I’m working through. At present I’m making soups, this is my version of a root vegetable soup. Carrot, parsnip, turnip, onion, garlic and vegetable stock.

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I’ve recently discovered spiral carrots and cauliflower couscous, I have the carrots instead of pasta and cauliflower for rice.  Yum yum

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I shall continue to work on clean living & healthy choices, nevertheless Rome wasn’t built overnight. If anyone has information or recipes to share please do

Written in UK English.