20 September 2009
TWO REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL:
We’re in the midst of an Indian Summer. Today has been absolutely gorgeous, yesterday it was too hot for working in the midday sun.
And, On The Plot is out there! I think it’ll be a few days until the warehouse has catalogued and got it in their system but I visited the publishers Friday, picked up my complimentary copies, and have started giving them away to folk who had an input in this book. I’m glad to say that quite a few friends and good folk did. I plan to gift a copy to all who contributed but for now have run out. I hope you’ll get as much pleasure from reading it and applying the practical stuff in your kitchens and on your plots as I did in the writing and creating.
PRICKING OUT WINTER SALADS
The celtuce, lettuce and Oriental salad greens I sowed into trays in the greenhouse on September 8th are all ready for pricking out. I’ve made a start. It’s a pleasurable job and organisation is key to a smooth operation.
This is how I do it:
1. Fill a bucket with peat-free multi-purpose compost.
2. Fill twelve 9cm pots and place them in a plastic fruit tray.
3. Use a pronged spatula, called a ‘widger’, to delicately tease the young three or four-leaved seedlings from their tray one at a time. Handle with a soft touch by a leaf tip only, never the stem.
4. Employ a flat tool (such as a lolly stick, but in this case the opposite end of my widger) to make a planting pocket in the fluffy compost.
5. Lower roots into the hole. Use widger to snuggle them down and the compost around. Ensure they sit no more than slightly deeper than they stood in the tray.
6. With your fingers, caress and firm the compost. Tap pot sides to finally settle it, place pot in the tray, keep moist but not wet.
Subsequently, as they grow, take one or two leaves per plant per picking. Keep them in the greenhouse (or on a sunny window sill) and enjoy fresh salad throughout autumn and winter.
APPLE DAY PREPARATIONS
It’s apple collecting season again. Apple Day at the Donkey Field Community Orchard, Church Hill, Enmore Green, Shaftesbury, is on Sunday 18th October from 2pm. It’s an established and looked forward to date in the calendar of local events. We have a formula, basically repeated every year, which is manageable to organise and works in terms of communal apple fun. But, for the day to be a breeze, planning and prelims have had to start already, before now.
To that end, Mrs Nails has painted and designed our 2009 poster, musicians have been alerted / reminded, cider makers stirred, and apples are being sourced. Last year we collected fruit from Stalbridge, Motcombe, Bruton, Gillingham as well as Shaftesbury. This time around, thanks to Mr Sweetpea, add Wilton to the list.
Various of us are on the case. Alongside the day-to-day tasks concerned with real life, harvesting sack loads of natures bounty is a priority on our short term lists of jobs to do.
Tags: apple day, bruton, celtuce, communit orchard, gillingham, house martin, lettuce, motcombe, on the plot, onion, pricking out, rosemary, september, shaftesbury, squash, st james park, stalbridge, widger