Summer garden produce ‘Bakeoff’

This year’s bake-off was as much about the food as the growing of it.  Lester, our newest member, hosted the event on his allotment where we were treated to a fine lesson in creative gardening without breaking your back.

As the table filled up with culinary delights from our own gardens, Lester gave a quick background to his allotment.  He took on the overgrown, bindweed infested plot in May 2015 as a project for him and his son. First job was to build a shelter (a) to block the prevailing winds (b) to provide a cosy place for drinking tea.  The shelter is insulated with books which double up as insulation both in the winter and summer as well as providing reading material once all the weeding is done (actually Lester doesn’t do weeding – he is a no dig gardener).

To deal with the bindweed the ‘no dig way’, it takes 2 years of excluding the light by use of mulches… On Lester’s allotment everything was built up and nothing grown in the soil (ref: Charles Dowding method) – paths are ‘paved’, mulched or decked, beds are raised, plants are grown in chimney pots, suspended, grown on the roof…  vertical spaces (including shed walls) are used which makes perfect sense for a small plot.

  

The green house has been extended and it is now a ‘passive solar greenhouse’ which can be used all year round without any electricity.  Light and heat are absorbed through the windows in the normal way however in addition to this rainwater is collected and stored in black plastic tanks throughout the greenhouse.  This water serves for irrigation but also absorbs daytime heat, re-releasing it at night (like storage heaters & the  walls of a Victorian walled garden), the process also works throughout the winter months.  The water tanks also serve to keep the glasshouse from overheating in the summer months by the same process.

All planting is mixed up with lots of companion plants (e.g. Nasturtium & Limnanthes).  Everything is build from reclaimed materials, all used in creative and fun ways.

So the food…. It started to arrive and we all started the very difficult task of judging (‘People’s choice judging’). We keep the judging simple: (a) best presented sweet category (b) best presented savoury (c) best tasting sweet (d) best tasting savoury

   
(there were many more entries than this, omitted to photograph)

And the winners are…
(a) Simon for best looking savoury

  dish (beetroot & feta tart)
b) Angela for best looking sweet dish – courgette cake (using own grown courgette, eggs & honey)

c) Lizzie for best tasting savoury dish – cheesy tortilla tart

d)  Chrisi for best tasting sweet dish – red currant ice cream

 winners: Chrisi, Angela & Lizzie

 The score sheet showed that there were clear winners this year!

   

notes by Angela Morley www.wildgardens.co.uk