With summer comes fresh produce. From the allotment, strawberries, broad beans, spinach. From the no dig garden beds rocket, mizuna, pak choi, lettuce in 6 different varieties, basil, thyme, parsley, mint. Inspiration for summer meals. The living is easy.
We ate the salad yesterday and today, we made a rice and spinach dish, the spinach steamed for a couple of minutes and then stirred through cooked rice, with toasted pinenuts, lots of salt and pepper and a grating of nutmeg. Chopped chorizo was added by the carnivore, the vegetarian was satisfied. That was a Nigel Slater recipe for June in the Kitchen Diaries cookbook. To follow was another from the same source, a strawberry and Mascarpone cheesecake, using soft cream cheese instead because it was late on a Sunday and locally there was no Mascarpone- but there was Philadelphia. On a biscuit crumb base. We’re talking Hobnobs here. Delicious. And all washed down with pear cider.
The first of the no-dig beds has started cropping-a handful of mixed lettuce and baby spinach leaves, half a dozen radishes. A small suggestion of salads to come throughout the summer.
The development of the crops has been steady so far-the temperatures have risen well this week and growth is accelerating. I am having to water but the thick mulch means every other day is fine. The obvious benefits of the thick mulch so far seem to be twofold. There has been no slug damage. The surface of the compost dries quickly, discouraging slugs and snails from crawling across it and is also coarsely textured, which is probably another slug deterrent.
The second benefit is that there has been no emergence of weed seedlings. The thickness of the mulch is preventing light from triggering germination in seedlings and there is no further disturbance of the soil to bring more seeds to the surface. So far, as they say, so good. Happy gardening to you all and spare a thought for all that biodiversity on Biodiversity Day today.