Anyway, I won’t bore you with all that I have done in the last year, but I am becoming more proficient and less utopian in my view about gardening. I am heading more towards Charles Dowding’s model – mulching my plants with an inch or so of compost supercharges them and with few slugs – though I still have a problem with importing that much fertility: imports of compost are essentially the soil from other people’s land. I am responding to this by sacrificing nearly half of my allotment space to clover, grass and other green manures (including the pretty sanfoin) in a bid to test the efficacy of resting the land with nitrogen fixation. This year the green manures (one two beds) have either been dug in or I have carefully skimmed the green manures off and mulched with the remains. I have planted into the cleared ground: garlic, onions, shallots, peas, early potatoes and sown parsnips. This year will tell me if this system is going to work by showing me (hopefully) a good, half-decent yield after a year and two winters under green manures.
Below I have a video, basically a walk-round my back garden. I’m playing with the potential of my new phone – a lumia 950. My old lumia I resurrected, even though it was 5 years old it still shot good video. My newer HTC 510 was awful at video so I did my research and was pleased to see the lumia 950 was well respected as a camera phone – it does 4k! Anyway I’m not going to do 4k as the upload speeds are terrible, but it has a dead good camera. The windows operating system is much improved also.
Halfway through the video I discuss how to process the cardoon for eating. The cardoon is basically the same species as the artichoke, they have simply been selected to do two different things. With the artichoke we eat the flower buds and with the cardoon we eat the ribs of the leaves. The cardoon can be quite bitter and to defeat this we have two techniques: firstly, wrap the leaves up in early autumn with some light defeating fabric and then cut the blanched leaves a few weeks later; or, instead, chop individual leaf stalks as and when you require them, throughout the season and boil them to remove the bitterness. If you cut them into crudite sized pieces, they require much less boiling. In fact, cut at that size I just bung them in to stews with the other veg.
Either way, you need to remove the leafy bits, leaving only the rib. Then remove the fibres running down the outside edge of the skin (much like the fibres with a celery stalk).
Anyway, that’s all for now. I am enjoying the beginning of the season and look forward to posting more often.
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