The garden has been left to its own devices for pretty much the last six months so over the last few weeks we’ve set about getting it back in some sort of order. As i’ve mentioned here before, i’m a pretty dismal gardener so this year we are planning to play it safe with flowers, herbs and a few easy vegetables that won’t get forgotten about come late summer.
Flower wise, I planted some Daliahs last week. My Grandmother was in fact the queen of Daliahs, with hundreds of beautiful pom pom shaped blooms in a rainbow of colours lining perfectly kept flower beds in her Norfolk garden. With such romantic memories of these beautiful flowers I rather fancied having a go at them myself this year. 1 week on from planting and the plants have been demolished by some vile insect/slug creature- there is literally nothing left of them bar a few nibbled stumps. This may be my most epic gardening fail to date and doesn’t bode well for the rest of the year.
For christmas we were given an amazing paper pot maker from our enviably green fingered allotment friends so we set to making some biodegradable planters for this years vegetable crop. Courgettes, french beans and tomatillos are all on the menu. We’ve also planted Electric Daisies but after the Daliah fiasco i’m not holding out much hope.
The most exciting garden discovery in probably all of the 4 years i’ve lived in my little house happened last weekend and was called green garlic. A few years ago I split up a bulb of garlic and planted it in odd places around the garden to see what would happen. Nothing was the verdict after checking on them pretty much every day for about a fortnight. I then promptly forgot about them until this year when I noticed some unusual green shoots sprouting from the flower beds. Curious the see what was growing I pulled them up and unearthed a spring onion-esque, garlic scented bulb. Real gardeners have probably known about these amazing little shoots for some time but this, for me to find growing in my own garden, was quite something. Ok, so really it’s just normal garlic picked before the bulb has had time to mature but still it’s sweet, delicious, and best of all the whole plant is entirely edible. It has a gentler flavour than normal garlic which it can replace in any recipe. So the big question, what to make with my new discovery?
For me the best way to showcase the green garlic’s flavour had to be Pesto.
You will need:
- 10-12 spring garlic shoots
- a handful of basil
- 80g toasted nuts- pine nuts, almonds, hazelnuts, all will work well
- 80g parmisan- this is optional, I actually made mine without
- the zest and juice of 1 lemon
- plenty of salt and pepper
- rapeseed oil to bind the mix
Wash the garlic shoots in cool water then peel off the outer leaf and trim off the roots. Chop the basil and the green garlic shoots very finely- all of the shoot, including the leaves can be used. Place the toasted nuts, lemon zest and juice into a mortar and grind to a rough paste with a pestle, next add the garlic shoots and herbs, along with a little oil and grind some more, add oil as required to help the mix blend. I like quite a chunky texture to my pesto so don’t grind it for too long. Season to taste.
Alternative method = place all ingredients into a food processor and blitz to a paste. I sadly do not have a food processor.
The pesto can be stored in a sterilised jar for up to a week. it’s great mixed into a bowl of pasta after a long day at work.
Maybe there is hope for my gardening skills yet.