Sunday, 17 May 2015

Win Tickets to BBC Gardeners' World Live 2015



The BBC Gardeners' World Live show will take place in Birmingham at the NEC, from Thursday the 11th to Sunday the 14th of June 2015 and will feature top gardening experts Monty Don, Carol Klein, Toby Buckland and Joe Swift.

We are offering one lucky reader a chance to win a pair of tickets for entry into the BBC Gardener's World Live 2015 show. Your tickets will also give you free entrance into the BBC Good Food Summer Show.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Gardeners' World Live 2015 Discount code


Exclusive 15% discount for Fusian Living readers ...

We have an exclusive promotional code for readers of Fusian Living.

You can save 15% on tickets to BBC Gardeners' World Live at NEC Birmingham, held 11 - 14 June 2015 with top gardening experts Monty Don, Carol Klein, Toby Buckland and Joe Swift.

Simply enter the following Promotional Code when you buy your tickets online...

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Asparagus 'Pacific Purple' emerges

It's always a joy to catch the first asparagus spears emerging from the ground. We have two 'Pacific Purple' crowns which we put in three years ago.

Admittedly, we have not paid enough attention to them as we should have. We have simply let them be.

Ideally, we should have mulched with straw and added some organic fertiliser early spring. At least, we did cut back the foliage last year!

Nevertheless, there are a few nice, juicy spears that can now be picked which we will enjoy immensely. One day, I hope to have a huge bed of asparagus with ten or so crowns, to harvest enough spears for an asparagus dinner. Wouldn't that be lovely?

Sadly, our 'Connover's Colossal' asparagus which produced green spears has died. When we moved house, we dug it up and brought it with us but it never quite thrived.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Primula Balerina 'Nectarine' & 'Valentine'

We bought these flowers from the Suttons stand on the last day of the Edible Garden show last year (when they were selling off their displays).

I've not had much success in the past growimg primroses so I am very pleased that these have returned with lots of blooms this year.

So far, they seem to be reliable, grown as a perennial.

Seen here are Primula Balerina 'Nectarine' & 'Valentine'.

Ours are in a partial shady spot grown directly in the ground, but I think they would look gorgeous grown in pots.

Autumn sown broad beans

These broad bean plants were sown from seed last October. They've finally started to flower - lovely white petals with dark centres.

The variety is 'Aquadulce Claudia', which is suitable for sowing in Autumn for an earlier harvest in May/ June. These have been overwintered under a cloche (which I have taken off in recent weeks).

I'll soon be sowing more broad beans ('Stereo') in April.

The plants have all been staked with bamboo canes and twine to provide them with some support. 

Also pinch out the tops of the plants once the first beans form, to deter blackfly.

I also remove any side shoots that emerge from the base.

You can buy:

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Easter Picnic loaf and Tomato bread salad

Celebrate Easter with a family picnic ...

Easter is just around the corner and with the weather warming up, it may be time for a family picnic in the great outdoors.

For my Easter picnic spread, I'm making a layered roast vegetable picnic loaf filled with courgette, sweet potato, aubergine, peppers and mozzarella. The scooped out bread pieces from the picnic loaf are then used in a delicious Tuscan-style tomato bread salad.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Sowing Tomato seeds - Fenda & Corazon

This year, I'm growing two new varieties of tomato: 'Fenda' and 'Corazon'. After all the excitement of The Big Allotment Challenge, it was nice to receive these seed packets from Marshall's seeds inviting me to do a seed trial.

Tomato 'Fenda' is a rose pink 'Rose de Berne' type tomato. It is fleshy and almost seedless, which will be interesting. Hopefully, they will be brilliant for making sauces and jams. 
Tomato 'Corazon' is an oxheart 'Albenga' type tomato. The fruits are large with few seeds and has a "superbly tasty, meaty flesh".  

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Thai fish cakes recipe for the Sainsbury's Love Your Freezer campaign

Thai Fish cakes with fish from the freezer ...

It's surprising what you can make with ingredients from your freezer, isn't it? Sainsbury's have launched a Love Your Freezer hub to encourage people to get the most of their freezer and help them to make quick and delicious food.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Baba Ghanouj (Aubergine Dip)

When I was a contestant on The Big Allotment Challenge, we were tasked with making dips using our own allotment produce in Week 3. Baba Ghanouj is easily my favorite dip and the main reason I go out for Lebanese food... mmmm.... This is a lovely smoky aubergine dip that is quite easy to make and tastes delicious. Serve it with pitta bread or vegetable crudités.

Ever tried this?

To get that smoky taste, a whole aubergine is grilled over the hob. To see how it's done, watch this video and read the original recipe here (SBS Australia). This is where I learnt how to make Baba Ghanouj.

Tahini is paste made from ground sesame seeds. I used Tahini by Sainsbury's which is available from Sainsbury's.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Growing Potatoes for the show bench on Big Allotment Challenge

"Best in Show" Potatoes - Big Allotment Challenge "Grow" challenge (Photo courtesy of BBC) 

In The Big Allotment Challenge, we were tasked with growing new potatoes for the show bench for our first Grow challenge.