Slug Wars – The Finale

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It’s well into October now and the slugs are still active so you can’t let up just yet! I have been experimenting with different beers in my jam-jar traps to see how cheaply I can keep them topped up as it can get expensive replacing the beer once a week ( if you leave it longer it starts smelling horrible). One bottle only does about 5 traps so it’s good to check out prices. I tried Sainsbury’s basic bitter in cans, which was the cheapest they have at about 25p per can…BUT IT DIDN’T WORK! I watched the little blighters climb … more

Elderberry Rob

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Now is the time to make elderberry rob, a useful addition to your medicine (or drinks) cabinet. Scientific studies have validated the usefulness of elderberries as one of the finest remedies for preventing and treating upper respiratory infections and fever, as well as for treating nasal congestion and sore throat. It is reported that a mixture containing elderberry extract could inhibit the replication of 11 strains of the influenza virus and increase the production of cytokines, which enable immune cells to communicate with each other. Elderberry juice—or other preparations, such as syrups and “robs”—are among the finest remedies to keep … more

Beetroot & chocolate brownies

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This recipe for when you’ve got a glut of beetroot has been submitted by Claire.  She says you can’t taste the beetroot at all as it gets absorbed in all the chocolatey-gooey-ness.  People challenged to name the secret ingredient rarely get it right, unless they are eagle-eyed enough to spot the speckles of red in the middle. So if you’ve grown some monster beetroots this year (and we’ve seen some big ones up on Norton Road so we know it’s happening!) then give this a shot.  Who knows, it may even get some veg into the kids! Beetroot and Chocolate … more

Too many… courgettes?

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This year has been the year of the courgette as far as I’m concerned.  Three plants has been about two too many at this household – this picture is just the haul from this morning!  Fortunately friends, neighbours and colleagues have been quite happy to help out with the problem and have gladly taken them off my hands. I’ve grown yellow courgettes this year, which would look lovely in this tart.  And the result would be great for a light supper with a salad or in your lunchbox the next day. Thanks to Chris for sending us this one. Courgette, … more

GIY August – The harvest begins!

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But first, an up-date on the war on slugs:  our little mucosy friends seem to have slowed down a bit with all this fabulous summer heat but I’m still catching them in the beer traps so I shall continue with that. It seems that the harvest is going to be several weeks early this year. Blackberries and damsons are beginning to ripen and I’ve already made cherry plum jam, and I’ve included the recipe below. Speaking of recipes, if you have any favourite ways of using up surplus crops, do share them with us. Please send them to ttletchworth@gmail.com.  We … more

Grow It Yourself – Slug Wars Part II: This time it’s personal

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Despite massive attempts to rid my garden of slugs, using mostly ‘death by drowning in beer’ which is very effective, I have still lost half my beans and potatoes, two courgette plants and three pepper plants, not to mention the green lettuces and chard! Red lettuce seem more immune to slug damage.  I have discovered that crushed egg shells, coffee grounds, and plastic collars offer only limited resistance and its only a matter of time before the enemy ignore these protective measures.  Still, I am NOT resorting to blue slug pellets. I was glad to see that LDGA have stopped … more

Grow It Yourself – June

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By now your veg patch and fruit bushes should be flourishing, if the slugs haven’t ravaged the lot!  It can be like a war zone out there, trying to protect against beasties eating your crops before you do. the clear winner in slug prevention is the copper band. They are expensive but they last for years around a plastic or ceramic pot (they don’t stick well to wood), so now I am going to plant some more climbing french beans in a large pot with copper tape around and woe betide any slug that gets past that!! If you’re keen … more

Grow It Yourself – May

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May came in with a ground frost which killed the nasturtiums but not my runner beans, which are still alive and kicking in the veg plot! May 3rd saw the first TTL Growers’ Market of the year.  It came with a cold start, which freaked out the poor tomato plants, but plenty of sun to bring out the shoppers!  The plants all recovered and we sold a lot. It was lovely to meet so many people and encourage them on their horticultural journey.  A big thank you to all who helped on Saturday. Don’t worry if you missed it; we … more

Grow It Yourself – April

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Apologies for the lateness of the April GIY blog, I’ve been too busy planting and potting on my tomato seedlings and other newly sprouted plants. I have masses! I’ve grown so many because the first TTL Growers’ Market of the year is in two weeks time on the 3rd of May. So if you are planning on growing tomatoes please buy them from us, not a garden centre! I have small ones (Gardener’s Delight), medium ones (Ailsa Craig) and big ones (Super Marmand).  At the moment they are in 3″ pots selling for 50p. Once they have to be potted … more

Grow It Yourself – March

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March has to be the month when it all kicks off in the garden and the greenhouse. The weather can be very unpredictable though so you have to watch the forecasts carefully.  Once we get towards the middle of the month you can plant onion sets, early potatoes and peas outside. I suggest you start some peas off in pots too (see photo), as insurance.  Soak the seeds overnight first before planting.  Peas have long roots so cardboard tubes are ideal to plant them in.When they are ready to go out in the garden, harden them off for a few … more