Power Plants, Composting and Veg of the Month

As spring gathers pace and new leaves begin to green Glasgow’s open spaces again, we look forward to our next GAF meeting which has an interesting scientific focus on the way plants power their own growth. This post also encourages you to think of holding a composting workshop on your site and Veg of the Month highlights a vegetable for harvesting in April that’s pretty rare on allotment sites nowadays but has a variety of possible uses in your kitchen.

POWER PLANTS

The wonder of photosynthesis

Thursday May 2nd – 7pm at Garnethill Multicultural Centre G3 6RE

In this talk Sarah Henry will provide a  simple guide to photosynthesis and some of the very latest discoveries about how plants use light to provide them with the energy they need in order to grow. She will also  explain how this new knowledge is being applied by scientists to convert sunlight into electricity and  develop another source of renewable energy.

ABP diagram

Composting Workshop at Springburn Gardens

Thank you, GAF, for sending us your composting expert, ‘par excellence’, to work with us.

On Sunday 7th April Jan McDonald gave us an excellent, illustrated talk on ‘How to make good compost’. Despite the dreich day there was a good turnout of Springburn Gardens members. We all learned a lot more than we thought we knew about this fascinating topic. It was great to be able to go round the plots and discuss  the various arrangements that members were using, or proposing to use, to make this valuable soil ingredient. We were delighted to host this excellent event.

Margaret Scott

 ( Please contact us if you would like to host a similar workshop for your members). 

Veg. of the Month for April

SORREL

sorrel-leaves

At this time of year there are some early pickings of forced rhubarb and kale, broccoli and leeks are still on the go. Another vegetable that is ready to harvest is sorrel. If you don’t have any on your plot, now is the time to grow it from seed.  Sorrel is a hardy perennial so you will be able to enjoy this vegetable for years to come.

Garden sorrel was used widely in Britain in the 18thcentury but has since fallen out of favour. Jane Grigson writes of the patch of sorrel that would have grown by the kitchen door, handy to add to a dish as a lemony flavour before lemons were readily available.

1) Sow in a tray of compost Feb – April indoors or outdoors from May to July. 2) Let the seeds germinate. 3) For indoor sowings pot up  the seedlings when the first true leaves appear. 4) Plant out the young plants in May in moist, well drained soil with added compost.
5) Plant or thin the plants to 18” apart. 2- 4 plants should be sufficient. 6) Net the plants in early spring each year to prevent bird attack. 7) Start cutting young leaves when the new growth appears in late March/April 8) In June and July cut back flower stalks to keep the new leaves coming.

 

The sharp, lemony flavour of young sorrel leaves makes a tasty addition to any egg dish – a handful of sorrel can lift an omelette or a quiche. In France sorrel is used as a sauce to go with fish, particularly salmon. A few raw sorrel leaves add a zing to any salad as does throwing a handful into lentil soup just before serving. This month I’ll be making pesto – garlic, nuts, and olive oil with large handfuls of washed sorrel blended together and served over pasta.

Christine Forde

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