Posts Tagged ‘growing’

Whoooosh…..And there goes another year. Three weeks ago, 2016 sauntered right in and made itself at home while my head is still entertaining 2015. Time is a strange thing. It has absolutely no regard for my preferred pace of life. Marching along steadily, refusing to wait for me as I ramble off-course. If Time were not so regimented and I not so easily distracted, we might make better friends. Meanwhile, we put up with each other’s shortcomings and carry on regardless. As with any fractious relationship, a little venting eases the irritation. And what better bugbear to start with, than this very blog.

At the beginning, Time left lots of room for blogging. But the novelty lost it’s sheen somewhat when everyday stuff demanded attention. Other activities got priority and Time refused to wait for me to catch up. Time does not tolerate excuses. He is well known for forging ahead regardless. I have noticed that the more activities I plan to cram into each day the more indifferent Time becomes. So perhaps I need to narrow my focus to only include the activities that mean the most to me and allocate a realistic amount of energy to them.

Blogging is most definitely among my favourite activities. I’ve selected a few favourite images from 2015. A look back through the year helps me mend my relationship with Time and be more forgiving. After all it has been a great year! It also helps me reflect on what activities are closest to my heart.


I love the treasures that foraging brings, the act of gathering food from the hedgerows is such a delight. Thinking up new ways to use my bounty is so much fun! Home remedies, food, cosmetics…the list is endless. I’ll never tire of learning and exploring more about the natural world and as for making things by hand- it’s the perfect antidote for someone who spends too much time pushing pixels around a screen for a living.


Our new veggie patch of raised beds was a great success this year and for a few months we just ate what came out of the garden. That gave us a great sense of satisfaction with the added bonus of great-tasting, chemical-free, fresh ingredients.

If there are any fitting subjects that you would like me to cover here on Green Jam Jar please let me know. I like to think there are folk getting something out of my monthly musings – other than the other end of therapeutic venting! (But therapeutic venting alone is good enough!)  So, with your help, and that of my old pal time, Time, let’s take Green Jam Jar into 2016!

Happy New Year to you all! Make it the year to follow your heart.

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Kohlrabi-CarpaccioKohlwha? I know, it’s far from fancypants veggies like these we were reared on. Not popular round these parts, this much neglected veg is more at home in Germanic kitchens. Physically resembling the unplanned love child of a small turnip and a beetroot, Kohlrabi has a mild cabbagy taste with a fresh crunchy texture not unlike a radish. So despite its exotic name it does have a familiar appeal to the Irish palette.

I love it because it is easy to grow – happy to be left alone and quick to mature. For those very reasons it is a terrific starter plant for first-time veggie growers. It also likes cooler temperatures, bringing you out into your veg patch when there is not much else to be had. Harvest them when they are about the size of a medium sized apple as they get woody if they are too large. You can eat the young leaves too. After peeling away the outer skin of the bulb (it’s actually a swollen stem) you can chop it into sticks to stir-fry or to steam. They are also tasty when baked. Personally, I prefer to eat them raw. I use a potato peeler to slice the vegetable mega thinly. Then drizzle some olive oil over the slivers, toss on a few thyme leaves and add a handful of sliced hard goats cheese with a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper. Hugh F. Whittingstall gives it an air of sophisication by calling his recipe Kohlrabi Carpaccio*. Now that really is fancypants!

So if you have never sown any vegetables for your table this is one that will lure you in. You’ll find Kohlrabi in supermarkets Lidl or Aldi around about now so do test them out for tastiness. Then aim to get your seeds in by early spring and I promise you’ll not be sorry!

*Incidently, this dish works really well as a starter course for a meal, making Kohlrabi a great starter veg in every sense! Thanks to Belinda and her intuitive editing skills!

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I came across this recipe for compost tea on a tatty of piece of newspaper well past its prime. Obviously it had been in circulation for quite a while, waiting for me to put its instructions to good use. It floated out of a gardening book I had been flicking through. As I bent to pick it up, now, I decided was as good a time as any to put it to the test. The potatoes that I had planted in my polytunnel earlier in the year were long gone and the bare ground was looking dusty and barren. Crying out for a good feed. This is where my compost tea recipe was going to work its magic. My scrap of newspaper promised the stuff would regenerate spent and tired beds in a matter of days. Perfect.

Compost Tea

I bought a small, cheap water pump generally used for aquariums from our local pet shop. Its purpose- to pump air through my tea as it brewed. All the ingredients, topsoil, manure, compost, honey and water were assembled into a large bucket and left to sit for three days.

Compost Tea method

Sure enough on day three the liquid slurry was looking just like the head of a freshly poured beer. All frothy and alive with bubbles. Mixing 1 part tea to 9 part water I watered it onto my soil. I’m hoping to see spectacular results for my next batch of veggies. Has anyone else tried this? I’d love to hear how it worked for you.

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