|Chris made sure that we're ready for|
the world cup!
One thing that Windmill is VERY good at growing is bindweed. It's a beautiful plant really, with white or pinkish trumpet flowers that appear as a twisted point which unfurls in the morning when the flower is ready. The problem is that it's too successful, and very difficult to eradicate. We knew this when we installed the fruit cage. We dug over the ground time after time to remove all traces of roots, but it quickly re-established, too late for us to dig up the bushes and remove it. The problem is that bindweed can regrow from a tiny fragment of root, so even a small piece missed will mean that you get a new plant. It can also be very deep rooted, so when you pull it out, the base of the root will just snap off and lie in wait.
Each year, we promise ourselves that we'll get on top of the problem, and each year, we discover lots of other more urgent jobs until we realise that the fruit bushes in the cage have so much bindweed on them that they are starting to get weighed down. We find that the best option seems to be pulling the bindweed out at the root then leaving it to dry on the bush. That way, you don't risk snapping branches or stripping off the fruit. The problem now will be trying to keep on top of it, because we know it will grow back. Hats off to Brian, Mark and Lizzy for battling through the bindweed and numerous other weeds to make the fruit cage look a bit more like we know what we're doing!
|Brian, Mark and Lizzy venture into the jungle...|
It was actually a really productive day at Windmill, not just about weeding. Chris, Hassan and Martin did a great job planting up the last of the brassicas in the high-bed, and sowed some kohlrabi as well, which we hope will get going quickly now the soil has warmed up.
|The brassica 'dream team' get ready for action.|
|Lunch in the polytunnel.|
For elderflower cordial, you will need:
20 large elder flowerheads,
5 unwaxed lemons,
2 pints / 1 litre of water
2lbs /1kg of sugar
- Use a potato peeler to take several slices of lemon zest then grate the rest of the rind from the lemons and set aside.
- Stir sugar into the water, and bring to the boil.
- Add the zest to the syrup and boil for a few minutes longer, then remove from the heat.
- Juice the lemons, then chop them into chunks and add both to the syrup, along with the flowers. Stir thoroughly and cover with a scalded and rung-out tea towel.
- Leave to infuse for 24 hours.
- Fill some jars or bottles with boiling water to sterilise them, then empty.
- Strain the juice into a jug and use to fill the bottles.
- Fish out the larger slices of lemon zest to add to the bottles then seal them.
- Alternatively, add the juice to ice-cube trays and freeze.
- Juice will keep for about 1 month in the fridge, or 6 months or more in the freezer. Dilute with water to taste or use as an ice-cream syrup or to flavour jellies.