Stoots Kitchen

Eat shoots and leaves

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Curcubita Pepo Fruit

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Courgettes.

Yep – Curcubita pepo – and yes they are fruits not vegetables because they have seeds.

Jamie Oliver’s vegepedia has some great recipes to try when they are ready in June/July!!!

READY, STEADY, GROW

  1. Sow seeds in compost in April/May
  2. Keep plantlets indoors until end May
  3. Plant outdoors in a border OR in a carrier bag full of soil/compost if you are short of space
  4. You should get 3 or 4 Curcubita Pepos a week ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐ŸŒฑโค๏ธ

For more advice on planting and growing go to the RHS

GROW UP (vertical gardening)

Grow courgettes vertically to save space and increase yield

  1. Tie the stem to a wooden stake as it grows
  2. Use garden twine, securing it about every 10cm
  3. Cut off all lower leaves so it focusses growing on the courgettes
  4. Harvest frequently!

See this video for more details

HEALTH FACTS

  • Courgettes contain very few calories and have a high water content
  • They provide useful amounts of immune system-boosting vitamin C and significant levels of potassium, which is key to controlling blood pressure
  • The soluble fibre in the skin slows down digestion and so stabilises blood sugar and insulin levels
  • Soluble fibre also helps prevent constipation and relieves irritable bowel symptoms.

 

Tomato ‘Pizza’

Tomato Pizza.jpg

 

You don’t have a packet of tomato seeds?

Try this great idea. It’s so obvious!!

Simple, honest, FREE growing!

๐Ÿ…

๐Ÿ…๐Ÿ…

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cut an over-ripe tomato into slices about 1cm thick
  2. Place on a layer of soil/compost
  3. Cover with 1-2cm soil/compost
  4. Leave in a warm place
  5. When the seedlings grow, re-pot the best plantlets into individual pots (it’s always so hard throwing away the rejects ๐Ÿ˜”)

Watch the full ‘How to’ video on Youtube

INTERESTING FACTS

  1. Tomatoes originally came from Peru, where their Aztec name translated to plump thing with a navel.
  2. The scientific name for tomato is Lycopersicon lycopersicum meaning wolf peach.
  3. ย People used to be afraid to eat tomatoes, thinking them poisonous due to their relation to the belladonna or (deadly nightshade) plant.
  4. Tomatoes increase in weight as they ripen, even after harvesting.
  5. Tomatoes are the richest source of lycopene which is important for the health of the prostate gland in men.
  6. They were first brought to Europe in the mid 1500โ€™s.
  7. The first tomatoes in Europe were yellow varieties, the Italian for tomato is pomodoro and translates to golden apple.
  8. A tomato is a fruit. The confusion arose after the 1890s when the US supreme court named them a vegetable for taxation purposes. A fruit is the edible part of the plant containing seeds, a vegetable is stem, leaf or root.
  9. There is no mention of tomatoes in either the bible or in the complete works of Shakespeare.
  10. 600,000 tomato seeds traveled to the International Space Station and back before being grown in school classrooms all over Canada as part of the โ€˜Tomatosphere I, II, III and IVโ€™ experiments.

Reference

 

Braw-d Be-en

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Broad Beans are known as Fava Beans in the US (made famous by Hannibal Lecter…)

Watch out for pesky aphids – they love a braw-d be-en.

Recruit plenty of

๐Ÿž๐Ÿž๐Ÿž๐Ÿžโค๏ธ

TIPS

  1. They need something to climb up
  2. Water plant at the base
  3. Eat them while they are young – you can even eat the whole pod
  4. Once beans appear pinch new shoots off

Visit the RHS for more growing advice

 

There are some fabulous recipes out there – try and eat them when they are young – you can eat the whole pod when it’s juicy and tender. I love the recipes on the Olive site and check out Jamie’s Broad bean, garlic and feta bruschettaย ๐Ÿ˜‹๐ŸŒฑโค๏ธ

 

Marjoram or Oregano?

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But how do you tell the difference?

Oregano is on the left. Marjoram is on the right.

Oregano leaves are more pointed and covered in tiny hairs. The edges are slightly toothed or jagged. Itโ€™s a tougher, evergreen plant that often gets unruly/straggly.

Marjoram leaves are more rounded with smooth edges.

Thereโ€™s a big difference in flavour โ€“ Oregano tends to beย pungent, spicy and bitter. It is roughly twice as strong as marjoram and can over-power delicate flavours. It can be used in slow-cooked stews and tomato sauces and will maintain its flavour.

Marjoram isย sweet, floral and woodsy and is best added just at the end of cooking or added fresh to salads. It’s milder in flavour so you can use more of it that oregano. It loses its flavour with prolonged cooking.

 

Pea Sticks

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This is the follow up to Peas Please which tells you how to germinate supermarket dried peas.

This amazing time-lapse shows how peas love to climb!

Pick up sticks on your next daily walk and make a frame for your peas to climb up, along, around & about.

Join us on facebook and post photos!

Spuds in a Bag

 

McDonalds is shut????? What about my fries??

Grow spuds in a BAG!

๐ŸŒฑ๐Ÿฅ”๐ŸŸ

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cut a few holes in the bottom of a supermarket carrier bag
  2. Fill the bag with soil/compost
  3. Carefully bury a ‘chitted’ potato
  4. Water once a week to keep soil damp
  5. After about 10 weeks you can lift out the bag and have a cheeky peek to see if you have any babies.

There’s a great video of a guy and his dog Molly showing how you can pick your crop gradually over a month or so. Watch here!

NB This won’t make you self-sufficient in chips – it’s more for the fun of it!

Sage Advice

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Take some sage advice ๐Ÿ˜‰

This could be the only sage plant you’ll ever need!

๐ŸŒฑ๐Ÿง…

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Put a sage spring in water
  2. It should grow fine roots in 1-2 weeks
  3. Plant outside in a sunny spot
  4. Absolutely amazing fried and sprinkled on savoury meals!

For health benefits click here

For propagation advice click here

Fresh Mint

Willow Tea v Water

 

Take mint cuttings in spring.

Easy to do for mint all year round.

Mint goes pretty crazy so keep it tamed!

๐ŸŒฑ๐ŸŒฑ๐ŸŒฑ๐ŸŒฑ๐ŸŒฑ

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Take cuttings from the top 8cm of a mint plant
  2. Cut just below a leaf node
  3. Strip off lower leaves of the cutting
  4. Put in water for 2 weeks. For best results use Willow Water
  5. When cuttings have lots of roots, plant in soil

Root Ginger Roots

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Yes, ginger roots root!

And while you wait for a winter harvest, you’ll have a lovely houseplant.

Up to 1.5m tall….

๐Ÿ˜†๐ŸŒฑ

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cut the nodes/buds off a piece of ginger
  2. Plant in compost
  3. Keep warm & damp

James Wong has more information

Willow Tea

 

Willow Tea is a home-made rooting solution for cuttings.

Spring is a great time to pick willow twigs.

Keeps for 2 months in the fridge.

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INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pick a handful of new, green willow twigs in spring*
  2. Strip off the leaves
  3. Chop the twigs into 2cm pieces
  4. Fill a large jar/jug with 1/3 willow pieces
  5. Top up with 2/3 boiling water
  6. Leave on a sunny window sill for 3 days
  7. Strain the Willow Tea and store in a jar/bottle
  8. Soak fresh cuttings overnight in Willow Tea before planting

New willow twigs are packed with Indolebutyric acid which enhances root growth and Salicylic acid which fights bacterial and fungal infections.ย 

*If you are harvesting from a tree later in the year, choose the end shoots.

EXPERIMENT

I put cuttings of 2 different types of mint plant in Willow Tea and water to see the difference. Results to follow…watch this space!

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Willow Tea v Water

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