Why grow borage? Well…
Bees LOVE it for starters 🐝🐝🐝which is why it’s often called ‘Bee Bread’. It’s easy to grow, can reach 2 metres tall, you can make a healthy tea from the leaves and the blue flowers are beautiful and edible!!
*Gorgeous photo of borage flowers by Lise-Lotte Larsson
- Soak borage seeds in water for 2 days
- Plant outdoors straight away from April (they have a long tap root and don’t like being transplanted)
- Cover seeds with 2cm of compost or soil
- Watch it grow and wait for all those bees!
For more details see Gardening Know How
THE PERFECT POT OF BORAGE TEA
Your tea was brought to you courtesy of HerbClass ❤️
What’s the difference between a swede and a turnip??
Well, it depends where you come from and it is VERY confusing!!!
There are two distinctly different root vegetables called Brassica napus and Brassica rapa. Strictly speaking (and according to the RHS!) the rapa is an older variety (turnip) and the napus is a more recent cross between a cabbage and a turnip (Swedish turnip or swede).
Jamie Oliver’s Vegepedia has great ideas for cooking turnips and swedes
And plenty of articles are devoted to these two:
‘Are neeps swedes or turnips?’ The Guardian
‘Turnips: the unsung hero of the vegetable world’ The Guardian
‘Rutabaga vs. Turnip: How to Tell the Difference Between These Yummy Vegetables’ Pure Wow
‘The difference between turnips and rutabagas’ The Spruce Eats
Make a FREE Watering Bottle for a targeted, delicate stream that won’t drown your seedlings 🌱💦🌸
#lockdown took us by surprise 😳and our little plantlets and seeds need gentle watering.
We didn’t have time to buy a little watering can from B&Q….
So, we’ve made one!
- Find a plastic milk bottle or pop bottle
- Put holes in the bottle top using a large pin (I used a safety pin)
- That’s it!
Turn one supermarket basil plant…
…into all these!
Then make yourself a delicious Stoots Basil Smash
- Split up a supermarket basil plant (this will work for other supermarket herbs as well)
- Carefully replant into individual pots
- Harvest leaves from the tops to encourage bushy growth
- Water in the morning (they don’t like having wet roots at night!)
For more information on growing basil visit the RHS
STOOTS BASIL SMASH
Stoots Basil Smash
The Basil Smash is quite a famous cocktail (I didn’t make it up!)
- Smash a handful of basil leaves with 1 tbs caster sugar (I don’t have a pestle and mortar so I just use a wooden spoon and sturdy glass!)
- Add a glug of vodka or gin
- Add the juice of half a fresh lemon
- Pop in some ice
- Cheers! 🍸
And apparently the basil in your drink could also be giving you many, many additional benefits….
- Reduce memory loss associated with stress and ageing
- Reduce depression related to chronic stress
- Reduce stroke damage and support recovery, whether given before or right after a stroke
- Improve fasting blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides
- Reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension
- Relax blood vessels and thin your blood, similar to aspirin
- Protect against aspirin’s damage to your gut, particularly preventing ulcers
- Prevent certain cancers, including of the breast, colon and pancreas
- Increase mental alertness when inhaled as aromatherapy
- Inhibit the growth of bacteria that cause dental decay
- Improve food safety if integrated into food packaging by manufacturers
- Provide an alternative to antibiotics for infectious diseases, including combating antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria
- Repel insects, such as mosquitos and ticks
Leeks are SUCH fun to plant!
Just get yourself a dibber…
And a leek-ling..
- Make a hole in the ground using a ‘dibber’
- Put the leek-ling in the hole
- Fill hole with water
- That’s it!
- Leeks have been cultivated since the time of the Ancient Egyptians and were probably part of the diet of those who built the pyramids
- The Romans brought leeks to the UK because it grows well in our colder climate
- Leeks were prized by the ancient Greeks and Romans especially for their beneficial effect upon the throat. Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, believed the clear song of the partridge was down to a diet of leeks and Nero, the Roman emperor, ate leeks everyday because he thought it would improve his singing voice!
- Legend has it that in 640AD, the Briton King Cadwallader and his men were fighting the invading Saxons. To distinguish themselves from the enemy, the Welsh wore leeks in their hats – and subsequently gained a great victory over their opponents
- Girls who sleep with a leek under their pillow on St David’s Day will see their future husband in their dreams!
Taken from British Leeks
Make the most of all the wild garlic growing in shady places this time of year 🌱and make this pesto in about 30 seconds flat.
Store it in a jar in the fridge for weeks for a potted taste of Spring!!
Wild garlic pesto with wholewheat spaghetti
Wild garlic & hazelnut pesto
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
- Sow seeds in compost in April/May
- Keep plantlets indoors until end May
- Plant outdoors in a border OR in a carrier bag full of soil/compost if you are short of space
- You should get 3 or 4 Curcubita Pepos a week 😳😳🌱❤️
For more advice on planting and growing go to the RHS
GROW UP (vertical gardening)
Grow courgettes vertically to save space and increase yield
- Tie the stem to a wooden stake as it grows
- Use garden twine, securing it about every 10cm
- Cut off all lower leaves so it focusses growing on the courgettes
- Harvest frequently!
See this video for more details
- 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.
You don’t have a packet of tomato seeds?
Try this great idea. It’s so obvious!!
Simple, honest, FREE growing!
- Cut an over-ripe tomato into slices about 1cm thick
- Place on a layer of soil/compost
- Cover with 1-2cm soil/compost
- Leave in a warm place
- When the seedlings grow, re-pot the best plantlets into individual pots (it’s always so hard throwing away the rejects 😔)
Watch the full ‘How to’ video on Youtube
Sainsbury’s ‘Taste the Difference’ tomatoes even come with their own ready-labelled growing tray!!
Just 2 days after making the Tomato ‘Pizza’ the first seedlings appear…
- Tomatoes originally came from Peru, where their Aztec name translated to plump thing with a navel.
- The scientific name for tomato is Lycopersicon lycopersicum meaning wolf peach.
- People used to be afraid to eat tomatoes, thinking them poisonous due to their relation to the belladonna or (deadly nightshade) plant.
- Tomatoes increase in weight as they ripen, even after harvesting.
- Tomatoes are the richest source of lycopene which is important for the health of the prostate gland in men.
- They were first brought to Europe in the mid 1500’s.
- The first tomatoes in Europe were yellow varieties, the Italian for tomato is pomodoro and translates to golden apple.
- 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.
- There is no mention of tomatoes in either the bible or in the complete works of Shakespeare.
- 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 ‘Tomatosphere I, II, III and IV’ experiments.
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
- They need something to climb up
- Water plant at the base
- Eat them while they are young – you can even eat the whole pod
- 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 bruschetta 😋🌱❤️
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. It’s a tougher, evergreen plant that often gets unruly/straggly.
Marjoram leaves are more rounded with smooth edges.
There’s a big difference in flavour – Oregano tends to be 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 is 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.