Anna Hughes

May challenge: grow (or forage) your own

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May challenge: grow (or forage) your own

On May 11, 2018, Posted by , In #GetOutside, With No Comments

As the season has finally sprung towards summer, now is the perfect time to get outside and get growing. Cultivating your own food is a satisfying and enriching experience, not to mention easy, cheap and delicious.

In a garden

gardener's chartTomatoes and courgettes are among the more beginner-friendly of vegetables to grow. With plenty of sun and water, and the occasional prune for tomatoes, you will soon have a glut of vegetables to keep you happy all summer. It is not too late to sow courgette from seed, but for tomatoes it’s best to plant seedlings.

Others on the list include cucumbers (a climber, so can be tricky to grow, depending on space), sweetcorn (easy but make sure the squirrels don’t get them!), squash (rampant and can take over a garden), strawberries, spinach, onions, runner beans and potatoes. In fact, there’s no end to the variety of fruit and veg that can be grown at home.

Foraging

If you don’t have the space to grow your own, picking from nature’s harbour can be a great way to spend a day out.

The season for wild garlic is nearly at an end, so get it while you can! Wild garlic typically grows in woodland and near water courses and is recognisable by its fluffy white flowers and pungent smell. Pick the younger leaves for an intense flavour, wash, chop and stir into dishes or salads. Info and recipes can be found here: http://www.countryfile.com/wild-garlic-guide-plus-recipes

Nettles are abundant at this time of year. Rather than see them as a nuisance, there are plenty of ways in which you can enjoy this surprisingly nutritious leaf. Wear gloves when harvesting and washing, then blanch to remove the sting. Nettles make a great soup, tea, pesto and risotto. More info and recipes here: http://demuths.co.uk/rachels-blog/article/nettles

Dandelion flowers can make an amazing addition to risotto or salads – this is a delicious-looking recipe https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ethicallivingblog/2009/apr/07/dandelions-foraging-salads-spring-seasonal-food-recipe

It’s a bit early for hedgerow fruit, but once the summer and autumn come, the hedgerows hold an abundance of edible seeds: https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=641

As always, share pictures of your home-grown or foraged delights with me on Twitter: Eat Sleep Cycle

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