Compost - News and articles to enrich your gardening experience

Snowdrop Time

We are truly lucky to have Stowe Gardens on our doorstep and the gardeners have been working hard to keep it looking wonderful, reinstating forgotten areas that include the snowdrop walk. If you want something closer to home our very own Brickle Park has a magnificent display that has increased over the years. Well worth a visit as you stroll around the village.

 

 

Stowedrops!

 

We've brought back our special snowdrop walk, with special paths re-opened for this winter season highlight; see one of the best hidden treasures of the garden at Stowe where the snowdrops blanket the banks as you walk from the Lamport Garden to the Gothic Temple. Winter is a great season for displaying the garden undressed where the defined views open and become more apparent.

Garden Tasks Now

Get ready for spring! Organise the shed or greenhouse to be ready for seed sowing. Clean pots and labels.

Order seed potatoes, seeds and plants and seed compost.

Finish winter pruning wisteria, shortening shoots to two buds.

Deciduous trees and shrubs can be moved now if soil isn’t waterlogged or frozen.

Inspect stored dahlias, begonias and cannas for any sign of rot or drying out.

Plan your vegetable crops and flower beds for the coming season.

Take root cuttings of oriental poppies, verbascum, phlox and acanthus.

Cut back deciduous grasses before new growth appears.

Don’t forget to put food out for the birds!

Keeping the Garden Healthy

  • Continue to remove dead or dying leaves from plants indoors and out. Put them on the compost heap. Good hygiene is an essential part of keeping the garden healthy. Botrytis (grey mould) will attack any dead plant material. Once established, it will quickly move onto living plants and cause extensive damage, sometimes even plant death.

  • Remove old mulches (compost them) to get rid of overwintering pest-pupae. Then hoe around the base of fruit trees and bushes to expose overwintering insects to hungry birds.

  • In warm spells, early aphid colonies can build up on new buds. Squish them off with your fingers to prevent a build up.

  • Bury stems and stumps of overwintered brassicas - in a compost heap, or a trench in the ground - as soon as they have finished cropping. This will help reduce the population of mealy aphids and whitefly which otherwise would simply move on to your spring-planted crops.

  • Check plums, damsons and gages for signs of the plum leaf-curling aphid. This tiny green aphid can hatch as early as mid-January. If seen, spray with insecticidal soap.

  • Encourage birds (especially blue tits) into your garden by putting up nest boxes. A hungry brood in the spring will be fed many hundreds of caterpillars and other pests every day by the parent birds.

 

From: gardenorganic.org.uk

Suttons Seed Catalogue 2021

All members are entitled to a discount from the

2021 Suttons Seed Catalogue.

The discount code is available from the

Club Secretary: sally_l_hudson@hotmail.com

Useful Links to websites that may be of interest:

Just click on what interests you and it will take you straight to  the relevant website

Stuffed Delicata Squash

 

This is a recipe from my niece, Meredith Laurence, aka The Blue Jean Chef. Since it is american, I thought it would make a change – of course you have to translate cup measurements etc - but nothing here has to be exact. I’ve never come across delicata squash, however butternut or similar will work well. It’s very tasty!

There are other options for varying the stuffing for this recipe. If you’re not a fan of pork, just substitute turkey or chicken sausage instead. To make the stuffing gluten-free, you could use a grain like quinoa or rice instead of the bread cubes, reducing the chicken stock to just enough to moisten the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2½ cups ¼-inch bread cubes

  • 2 medium delicata squash

  • olive oil

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 6 ounces mild Italian sausage raw

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • ½ onion diced

  • 2 ribs celery diced

  • 4 ounces cremini mushrooms chopped

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • ½ teaspoon rubbed sage

  • 1 cup chicken stock

  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries

  • 1 egg beaten

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

 

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375°F.

  2. Spread the bread cubes out in a single layer on a sheet pan. Toast in the oven for 15 minutes and then transfer them to a large bowl.

  3. Slice the delicata squash in half, lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Brush the cut sides of the squash with olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place the squash, cut side down, on the sheet pan and roast for 25 minutes. (You can toast the crumbs and roast the squash at the same time if both will fit in your oven.)

  4. While the squash is roasting, make the stuffing. Remove the sausage from its casing, breaking it into chunks. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add a little olive oil. Add the sausage and brown it, breaking it up into small crumbles. Transfer the browned sausage to the large bowl with the bread cubes using a slotted spoon.

  5. Melt the butter in the skillet. Add the onions and celery and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the diced mushrooms, dried thyme and sage and sauté for a 6 to 8 minutes, until the vegetables soften. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the vegetables to the bowl with the sausage and bread cubes, along with the chicken stock and cranberries. Toss to combine all the ingredients and to allow the bread cubes to absorb all the liquid. Stir in the beaten egg and fresh parsley.

  6. Remove the squash from the oven and carefully turn it cut side up. Spoon the stuffing into the cavity of each squash half. Return the pan with the stuffed squash to the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until squash is fork tender and stuffing is browned on top.

  7. Serve immediately with vegetables or a side salad.

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