Tuesday 26 April 2016


This vegetarian curry is yummy, and tastes even better the day after making. Its low GI too.


9oz / 250 g chickpeas (if dry then soaked overnight)
225 g / 8 oz washed spinach
1 cauliflower, broken into florets
400g chopped tomatoes (tinned)
2 large onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 litres / 3.5 pints water
2.5 cm piece ginger
2 crushed cardamoms
2 chillies, deseeded and finely sliced
1 tablespoon chopped mint
2 tablespoons chopped coriander
4 whole cloves
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 bay leaves


Place the chickpeas, ginger, bay leaves, half the onions and the cinnamon stick in a saucepan with the water and simmer gently for 2 hours.  Drain, set aside the chickpeas, reserve the liquid and discard the ginger, bay and cinnamon.

Heat the olive oil in a pan and cook the onions and garlic until softened but not yet coloured. Add the turmeric and chillies and cook for a further 3 minutes. Add the tinned tomatoes and half the cooking liquid and bring to the boil.

Place the cinnamon, cardamoms, cloves, peppercorns and cumin in a muslin or cheesecloth and add to the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, add the cauliflower and cook for 20 minutes.

Add the spinach and cook until wilted.  Add the chickpeas and simmer for a further 15 minutes.  Add some of the reserved liquid to the pan as required.  Remove the cheesecloth spices and stir in the garam masala, mint and coriander,  

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Friday 15 April 2016


Click here for the 'Seeds of Eaden' seed shop

I am forever buying spring onions to put in salads or stir frys as for some reason I always neglect to grow this crop myself even though they are really easy to grow.  However, this year I am going to grow them myself.

Spring onions like a rich, well drained soil. Prepare the ground a week before planting by gently tilthing the soil and adding a general purpose fertiliser such as Growmore.

You can either grow your spring onions directly into the soil or into containers. Seeds can be sown from early March until August to ensure a crop from May until September.

If planting into beds sow your spring onion seeds thinly into rows 15 cm apart and cover with 1.5 cm of soil. Alternatively fill a container with seed and potting compost and sprinkle your seeds on top, covering with a light layer of soil.

I will be sowing into various containers successively each fortnight from early March to ensure a continuous crop of onions during the summer.

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Sunday 10 April 2016


Click here for the 'Seeds of Eaden' seed shop

Potatoes are easy to grow in containers, and I much prefer this method in my garden.  The advantage of container grown potatoes is that they do not take up so much space as when planted in the ground, and you can tip the container up to release the potatoes rather using your fork which inevitably pierce the potatoes as you dig.
Firstly you need to select a suitable container.  I use an old plastic dustbin, but you could use half a barrel, larger container or builders’ bag.  The key is to select a large, deep container that will hold enough soil to support your crop and to drill holes in the bottom to allow free drainage.  Main crop potatoes will require a larger container that first and second early varieties.
Potatoes like a water retentive, fertile soil so use a good quality potting compost or a mix of multipurpose compost and organic matter such as well rotted farm yard manure, leaf mould or homemade compost.
Fill the container up 20 cm high and place chitted seed potatoes on top of the compost.  A large 40 cm container will usually take 3 potatoes; a dustbin around 5 tubers but a smaller container will take an only single potato. From each seed potato you will achieve a crop of 15-30 potatoes. Cover the potatoes will 15 cm of soil and gently water.
Within a couple of weeks you will see your potatoes sprout.  Keep earthing up your potatoes by covering the green shoots with soil until the compost is 5 cm below the top of the container.
You will need to keep your potatoes well watered as containers will dry out quicker than bed grown potatoes, and they may need watering several times a day in hot weather. .  Feed your crop with a liquid plant food weekly.

Early potatoes can be harvested from when the plants stop flowering onwards, whilst main crop potatoes when the vegetation has withered and died back. Harvest your potatoes by gently tipping the container and releasing the potatoes.  Leave your potatoes to dry before storing them in a cool, dark place.

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Sunday 3 April 2016


Click here for the 'Seeds of Eaden' seed shop

Carrots are so delicious picked fresh from the garden or allotment, and it is really worth giving them a go as they can be grown directly in a bed or just as successfully in a container.

You can choose from early cropping varieties such as Nantes 2 and Mokam, which are also good for growing in containers.  Main crop carrot varieties include Kingston and Bangor.  Of course, carrots are not only available in orange and you can grow a variety of different coloured varieties such as rainbow, Purple haze and Yellowstone.

Like all root vegetables, the quality of the soil within the bed that they are grown in is very important. To successfully grow carrots you need to ensure that soil conditions are favourable. They like a light, fertile soil in a sunny position. Growing carrots in heavy or stony soils should be avoided as they cause forked and stunted carrots.

To prepare your beds dig over the bed in late winter or early spring, breaking up the soil structure to create a fine, crumbly texture. Remove any stones or debris within the soil and add a general purpose fertiliser such as Growmore one week prior to planting, which should occur in spring after the risk of frost has past or earlier if the beds are protected with a cloche or fleece.

Carrot seeds are sown March till July, which allows for a summer and autumn harvest. Carrot seeds are very small so you may wish to mix them with a handful of sharp sand in order to allow for a thinner sowing and aid drainage.They should be sown directly into the bed or container as thinly as possible in shallow drills made by gently pressing bamboo canes into the soil 2-3 cm deep.  Set out your carrots in rows 25 cm apart. 

When the seeds have germinated after 2-3 weeks and are showing their first true leaves, t
hin the seedlings to 5cm between plants. Carrots require space and will produce a vastly reduced crop if grown in crowded conditions. Discard unwanted seedlings; do not attempt to replant unwanted plants as they do not transplant well.

Carrots require seldom watering so keep to a minimum once seedlings emerge.  Water every 10-14 days in hot weather when the foliage wilts.  Remove competing weeds regularly. 

Carrots will be ready to harvest in the autumn, but smaller carrots can be pulled and eaten at any time during the season. Feel the size of the carrot tops through the soil to feel how wide they are and pull when they reach the correct size. Take care when weeding or thinning that you don’t crush the foliage, as the smell attracts carrot fly. 

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