Broad Beans

Some seeds in our garden have completely failed to germinate this year. I’ve not seen hide nor hair of the beetroot, courgettes, or pumpkins. The odd spinach and lettuce has come up but nothing compared to last year. In contrast, planting the peas in tubs has been a real success and our strawberries in the hanging baskets have done well. None of it makes it to our dinner plates though. Little Owl and I are far too effective at munching as we go about our daily activities.

One thing that has been a real revelation has been chickweed. We think we may have imported it when we spread the manure over the garden as it has popped up literally everywhere and definitely wasn’t here before. You can read about the epic manure pile here if you’d like…it’s okay if you don’t want to! Apparently chickweed also tends to thrive when it’s wet so that’s one good thing about all this rain. I was busy pulling it up when one of our friends told us it’s edible. It tastes a bit like watercress and is great in salads.

The broad beans are also doing well in their fortress against the rabbits. They’re such great plants to grow here because they’re so hardy. As long as I stake them well they laugh in the face of frost and gale. I found this great recipe last year for broad bean patties from Catherine Mason’s Vegetable Heaven. You can cook them up in a big batch, stick them in the freezer, then pull them out for an interesting vegetable accompaniment to a meal all through the winter. My slightly modified (as usual!) version of her recipe goes like this…Steam your broad beans. Whizz them up with garlic, spring onions, ground coriander, parsley, egg, salt and pepper. Roll them into balls and fry on both sides. When they’re cool you can stick them in freezer bags for storing. My top tip is not to make the mixture too wet as they’re difficult to turn otherwise.

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