Sunday, 17 April 2011

Playing catch-up

Eight o'clock and all's well.

Have spent another Sunday afternoon busy in the potting shed, sowing seeds.  Had to stop because I was running out of space to put the seed trays.

Spring this year was colder than usual to start with, so I held back on sowing, as I don't have anywhere to put heated propagators, let alone a heated greenhouse.  Then, just when I was fretting that I would have to buy in tomato seedlings, the weather warmed up and the frenzy started.

I haven't been quite so organised with my sowing schedule as in previous years.  My seed packet collection wasn't in perfect order, so I had to go with what I could find.  A few of my favourite varieties were missing, so I'm going to have to get new packs and sow them over the next two extended weekends.  Good thing pay day is just before Easter this year.

What with Howard bringing stuff home from Yorkshire, and us deciding to ditch the expense of storage, the house is looking like  a glorified shed at the moment.  Never mind, as a boss many years ago had emblazoned above his desk - Tomorrow, we are going to get organised.

Despite this chaos, I have managed to sow 18 varieties of tomato for starters.  Because of the late start, I focused on tomatoes and their relatives for the first few sessions.  Having splashed out on a small polytunnel for the allotment last pay day, I'm hoping that we will get a decent crop and can preserve some. Home made pasta sauce is one of Howard's targets for this growing season.

One of my plans is to make my own coffee substitute.  I can't drink much coffee anymore.  Not because of the caffeine content - I find it too acidic nowadays.  So I have been using a coffee substitute, Barleycup.  I really like it, and have been getting through shocking amounts of the stuff.  With the rise in grain prices, the price of a jar of Barleycup has rocketed.  Getting through a jar in less than two weeks, and not being able to locate catering sized versions, I decided to look for an alternative.

Plants For A Future lists multiple plants as suitable coffee substitutes.  This may mean that they taste bitter and a little muddy, but they won't kill you.  I'm going to concentrate on a plant that is a known palatable coffee substitute, which has other valuable uses - chicory.  The leaves make a good salad crop during the Summer, then the plants can be "forced" for use during the Winter.  The roots are cleaned, dry roasted and ground to make the "coffee".  Also,  the blue flowers are worthy of growing in a border, and are much loved by bees.  Finally, my chickens love a chicory leaf or four as a treat.

So it's a good multi-purpose crop.  Looking forward to the three different harvest parts of the experiment.

2 comments:

John Gray said...

great to catch up!

Ann Somerset Miles said...

Hi, I'm not quite sure how I happened upon your blog, but so delighted to make your acquaintance. We (husband and I) started our gardening adventures south-west of London in the late 1950s - thought we had discovered self-suffiency and so much more. My blogs (sorry, four of them!) meander between many aspects of our present garden, and those of others - do please visit, for cyberspace is just wonderful at drawing like-minded bloggers together into a magic world