Summer Cold

Head colds are a nuisance at the best of times but there is something so wrong about having a cold in Summer! I tried to take things easy this weekend but there is an awful lot to do in the garden at this time of year… mowing, strimming, weeding, sowing. My mind was soon taken off my sore throat and aching bones and because of the head cold I didn’t notice my hayfever! Bonus!

Tea time

Everything in the kitchen garden is starting to look like it should. I spent ages in winter looking through seed catalogues and trawling the internet for great plants. When I first looked at the various little seeds in my hand it was hard to believe they would transform so quickly into such great plants!
The first sunflower is out and there are lots of different colours in the raised beds. Admittedly, it does look like a five year old has been in the crayon box but in my first year excitement I just threw plants in – and it does look pretty! My main aim was a productive fruit, vegetable and herb garden with a nectar bar for the wildlife. Next year I would like a more cohesive flower design if possible… maybe there’s an artistic seven year old out there?

Flower Power

The first sweet peas are out so I picked the few that had already opened and put them into a small jar along with some Rosemary. I love to put herbs and fresh flowers together and I’m just disappointed that I can’t smell them at the moment!

Sweet Pea

The thing that I’ve enjoyed more than anything this weekend is the fresh produce for lunch – baby carrots, roast beetroot, chard, and broad beans (freshly podded and lovely). The sun made an appearance late afternoon and I could almost hear the tomatoes and dahlias singing!

Rainbow Chard

Rainbow chard is one of the prettiest vegetables in the garden. Some people grow this purely as an ornamental plant but they’re missing a tasty treat!  I’ve found that chard is easier to grow than spinach and will tolerate dry weather better (not that we’re getting much of that around here at the moment!). I sowed some directly into the raised beds in April and thinned the seedlings after a few weeks – after quite a slow start it’s finally ready for picking!

Rainbow Chard

Chard is a great source of vitamins and minerals (A, C, Iron and calcium in particular) and I especially like it when it’s picked young and added to salads. It has a robust texture and I love the slightly earthy taste which goes really well with sweet tomatoes and roast peppers. You’ll be pleased to know that I rescued the little Ladybird  below (can you see him?) and put him back to work munching on aphids.

Ladybird in Chard

Chard can be substituted for spinach in numerous recipes and, as a cut-and-come-again vegetable, it’s value for money and takes little time to cultivate! I picked some this afternoon and we had it lightly steamed along with carrots, beans and a roast dinner.

I’m always on the look out for something more interesting to take to work, on a picnic or simply as a quick meal. I came across this lovely, healthy recipe which would certainly make a light supper, or an alternative to sandwiches, in a packed lunch.
Chard Frittata
4 large egga
4 large egg whites
1/4 cup swiss cheese
6 1/2 cups chard
1 onion
2tsp light butter

There is plenty of salad in the garden to accompany it and hopefully soon the tomatoes will be ready too!

Update: the weather has been really wet and windy but luckily everything seems to be coping quite well in the garden… however, just to be sure, the sunflowers and broad beans have been re-staked today!