Monthly Archives: August 2012

Eden Project 2012

During our summer trip to Cornwall, we spent a lovely afternoon at the Eden Project, near St Austell.

Registered as a charity, the Eden Project is not only a beautiful place to visit, but a hugely educational one, and we loved exploring the enormous biomes and gardens.

In one is the world’s largest "rainforest in captivity", large enough that there are many distinct environments such as the mangrove swamp, a large waterfall and rainforest, mini rice paddies, vegetable fields and soya plantations and an absolutely incredible collection of flora.

The smaller Mediterranean biome doesn’t feel quite as real, in some ways, though it’s still delightful.

In the gardens, we admired plants more suited to our climate, and a range of sculpture and art.

The educational centre is more geared to children, but we did appreciate the immense stone egg sculpture inside – a shame it’s not on display in the gardens, where one could enjoy it from all around.

We were very impressed by both the quality and the price of the food served in the enormous Eden Bakery. All the food and drink offerings use local, seasonal or fairly traded products wherever they can. I also loved my baobob ice cream, from the small stall just outside the rainforest biome.

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Our visit to the Eden Project was part of a week-long South West Tour courtesy of The Eden Project and The Food Travel Company. The Food Travel Company offers specialist trips for food lovers, with group departures and customised itineraries available.

Hops In Bloom

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This year hasn’t been too kind to us on the crop front – the weather has confused everything, and usually for the worse.

However, somehow it’s worked out very well for the hop plant I planted this spring – not only has it grown more vigourously than I ever expected in it’s first year (it’s finally reached the end of the absurdly long string I gave it to climb), but it’s also bristling with hop flowers.

I hadn’t expected to get anything off it in it’s first year, but not only am I going to get some hops – I’m going to get enough hops to make more than one batch of beer, by the look of it.

Oh, and the bees seem to love these flowers too – they’re everywhere. It was hard finding a bee-free flower for the photograph!

First Potatoes

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It looks like blight has arrived in North London, although rather selectively. Half of our second earlies – the Yukon Gold – were totally wiped out, which has caused me to harvest them rather earlier than I would have chosen to otherwise.

Curiously, the Ratte plants sitting right next to them appear to be completely unaffected. This might be a lesson for the future – assuming they taste as good, it’s worth choosing Ratte in future years for a demonstrated blight resistance!

As for the Yukon Gold – as you can see, it’s a pretty small harvest of just 800 grams from four plants. The extremely random weather probably hasn’t helped, and the early harvest forced by the blight only compounds the problem.

Still, we will be able to eat our first potatoes of the year this evening!

July’s Harvest: Yellow Mange Tout

This year hasn’t been a great one in the garden or allotment but we did have a few small harvests in July. Alongside some summer berries (more of which to come soon) we harvested some yellow mange tout from the back garden. Not as vivid in colour as the seed catalogue promised (the variety is called Golden Sweet), but that’s probably a factor of the variable weather, they were nonetheless pretty and tasty.

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