Welcome to Summer Growth – Saturday June 27th 2020
Thank you for visiting. We’re normally in Okehampton’s wonderful EcoHub every month but due to COVID restrictions we can’t so we’ve gone online!
The seedlings we planted out at the end of May have grown and grown (see below) as have our sunflowers and potatoes from the month before. Find our top tips for things to do in the garden and see if you can match the things we planted out to how they look now.
The new moon that started on June 21st is the Wyrt or Holly Moon with the Full Moon on July 5th. Wyrt is an old word for herbs. These are plentiful and now is a good time for picking them for drying. On June the 21st we celebrated the summer solstice with a fire and food and drink made from things in the garden. The summer fruits are well and truly ready for eating now. Hear the story of the first strawberry and have try some Summer flower pounding.
We hope you enjoy our summer growth workshop. Do send us any photographs of things you do.
In this workshop ..
Growing: + Changes + Matching plants + Garden Jobs Cooking: + Jam + Energy Bars + Elderflower Cordial Creating: + Flower Pounding Storytime: + The First Strawberry
Growing: What changes can you see?
Drag the slider and spot what has changed over the last month
Growing: How have the plants changed?
A lot has been changing in our garden. Can you match the plants from late Spring to what they look like now in early Summer? Drag pictures on the left onto the matching ones on the right.
Look out for potatoes, tomatoes, chives, courgette, nasturtium and cucumber
Growing: Garden Jobs – Top tips for the month!
- Tie up Sweet Peas and keep picking the flowers to ensure they flower more and more
- Tie up any beans/peas/tomatoes that need it and strengthen poles/sticks if needed
- Plant out sprouts, cabbages and cauliflowers and make a brassica frame and cover in mesh to protect from pigeons
- Check your Potatoes. Have they flowered yet? If yes have a little look to see what the potatoes are like under the soil. If they are still quite small leave them for a couple of weeks longer to get bigger. The ones we planted have flowered but we’ll harvest them for the next family workshop.
- Look on https://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/what-sow-and-plant-july for great advice and growing tips
Cooking : Summer Fruit Jam
Can you name the fruits that went into the jam? Drag the name of the fruit under the correct picture. Will you be FRUITASTIC and get them all right?
Watch out jam gets VERY VERY HOT! Tell the grown ups to be careful.
You will need:
- Large Preserving or Heavy Bottomed Pan
- Jam/sugar thermometer (optional)
- 6 Sterilised Jars
- Jam funnel or narrow -spout jug
- 6 waxed discs and jam covers or lids
TIP: To sterilise jars
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3.
2. Wash the jars and lids in hot soapy water and rinse but don’t dry them.
3. Place the jars onto a baking tray and into the oven for 10 minutes.
4. Soak the lids in boiling water for a few minutes. (Don’t put them in the oven like Jo did!!- burnt seals was the result!)
- 1kg Summer Fruits of your choice (chop larger fruits and destone cherries etc)
- 500g Honey, Sugar or Maple Syrup
- Juice of 1 Lemon
- Zest of the lemon (optional)
- Put all the fruit in a large preserving pan with the jam, sugar(or honey or maple syrup) and lemon juice. Leave to soak together for at least 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon and gently squashing the fruit. This will help the sugar to dissolve and draw the juices out of the fruit. Put a couple of small plates in the freezer ready for testing the set of the jam.
- Put the pan over a low heat and warm gently until all the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a vigorous boil. Test the temperature with a jam thermometer – when it reads 105°C, you can test the set of the jam. (It should only take 3-4 minutes to get there but, depending on how vigorous your boil and the size of your pan, it may take up to 10-20 minutes.) The bubbles should become larger and rise to the surface more slowly, and the jam should look a bit thicker.
- Remove the pan from the heat and spoon a small amount of jam onto a cold plate from the freezer. After a few seconds, push your finger through it – if it wrinkles up around your finger it has reached setting point. If not, return the jam to the heat and boil for a minute more, then repeat the wrinkle test on another cold plate from the freezer.
- Once the jam is ready, leave it in the pan off the heat for 10 minutes
- Ladle the hot jam into still-warm sterilised jars using a jam funnel or use a narrow-spout jug. (Take care as the jam will be scalding hot.) Once filled, lay a wax disc (wax-side down) on the surface of the jam, then, while the jars of jam are still hot, seal with a lid or top with a jam cover. Leave to cool completely, then label and store in a cool dark place. If using honey or maple syrup use within 3 weeks and store in the fridge. You may want to make smaller quantities if doing this.
Enjoy : )
Cooking: Beetroot and Blackcurrant Energy Bars
- 1 Large Beetroot (cooked or grated)
- 3 Ripe Bananas
- 175g Oats
- 3tbsp Maple Syrup
- 100g Nuts (of your choice-ground or chopped)
- 200g Blackcurrants
- 45g Oats
- 50g Nuts(roughly chopped)
- 50g Seeds
- 1tbsp Maple Syrup
- 50ml Nut milk
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4
- Line a 20cm x20cm (or similar size) baking tray with greaseproof paper
- Prepare the bottom layer – if using cooked beetroot, blitz in a food processor or blender with the banana into a puree. If grating the beetroot, mash the ripe banana with a fork and mix together. Then add the oats, syrup and nuts.
- Spread the mixture evenly over the bottom of the baking tray and bake for 8 mins.Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Prepare the top layer- In a bowl combine all the ingredients for the top layer. Spread them evenly over the bottom layer. Return them to the oven for a further 12-15 mins until they start to go golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and leave in the tray to cool. Then slice into portions and enjoy : )
Martin and Sara are selling blackcurrants from Hilltown at the moment so
if you need any then do visit the shop.
Thank you to thevegspace.co.uk for this recipe
Wild Cooking : Elderflower Cordial
The sweetly scented, creamy-white flowers of the elder tree appear in abundance in hedgerows, scrub, woodlands and wasteland at the beginning of summer. The fresh flowers make a terrific aromatic cordial. They are best gathered just as the many tiny buds are beginning to open, and some are still closed. Gather on a warm, dry day (never when wet), checking the perfume is fresh and pleasing. Trees do differ and you will soon get to know the good ones. Remember to leave some flowers for elderberry picking later in the year.
Thanks to River Cottage for this recipe
Makes about 2 litres
- About 25 elderflower heads
- Finely grated zest of 3 unwaxed lemons and 1 orange, plus their juice (about 150ml in total)
- 1kg sugar
- 1 heaped tsp citric acid (optional)
Add a splash or two, undiluted, to fruit salads or anything with gooseberries or dilute one part cordial to two parts water for fragrant ice lollies.
- Inspect the elderflower heads carefully and remove any insects. Place the flower heads in a large bowl together with the orange and lemon zest.
- Bring 1.5 litres water to the boil and pour over the elderflowers and citrus zest.
- Cover and leave overnight to infuse.
- Strain the liquid through a scalded jelly bag or piece of muslin and pour into a saucepan. Add the sugar, the lemon and orange juice and the citric acid (if using).
- Heat gently to dissolve the sugar, then bring to a simmer and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Use a funnel to pour the hot syrup into sterilised bottles. Seal the bottles with swing-top lids, sterilised screw-tops or corks.
Creating: Summer Flower Pounding!
Think you better watch your fingers for this creative activity!
The flowers are in full bloom. Many places celebrate midsummer on June 24th and people wear headdresses made with flowers or leaves. Maybe you could make one? Years ago they would make midsummer cushions by putting flower petals on a board covered with wet clay to make pictures.
Our craft activity is japanese in its origin and could be used to make a real cushion if you use a bigger piece of material when doing your pounding. You can use the smaller pieces as a test to see which flowers and leaves you like best and then put these into the design for the bigger piece of material. Once done sew up the sides inside out leaving a gap to put the stuffing in and then sew up that hole or add ties. Alternatively make a small pin cushion from the sample pieces.
Story: The First Strawberry
Once right back when the world was new and green and full of bird song there were two people. Most of the time they got on but sometimes they argued. Not about really big things but mostly about little things like whose turn it was to pick the leaves for salad, whose turn it was to gather firewood and WHO HAD LET THE FIRE GO OUT?
One day they got really cross. One day they really shouted. One day one stomped off and the other stared sadly at the ground. Not so good. Not so good at all.
But what happened? Well find out by watching the video!
We hope you have enjoyed the family workshop. Look out for the next workshop.
Thank you to Learn Devon for funding the Family Workshops and Growing Plot Project
Thank you to Okehampton United Charities for funding our education and community program of activity