The Garden Gamble

We’re pretty keen on them but it’s not everyday we find ourselves talking to the plants. Yet at this time of year we’re often checking with the zucchini: “are you done yet?” Some are ready for an early exit with their bags packed, others are holding on, reluctant to call it a day, still producing decent sized fruit.

These transition times – seasonal shifts out of Winter or into Autumn – present us with dilemmas. We are thankful for the cooler changes, the increase in wetter days, the shortening daylight hours and the anticipation of a change in diet and flavours. However, it’s usually a busy period as we plan and plant our main crops for the next 6 months.

When we were growing only for ourselves we were similarly busy (with less overall labour involved) but we were also able to allow a plant to slowly fade out and continue to glean whatever fruits it had the strength to produce. These days we are more inclined to weigh up the likely yields versus an opportunity to pull the pin sooner, turn the beds and potentially get a quick maturing catch crop in the ground (e.g. any Asian greens, rocket, lettuce, kohlrabi) before the next season properly hits.

We also play a similar game of compromise with our tomatoes throughout the summer. Do we prune heavily and sacrifice yield but potentially have a healthier plant which doesn’t collapse under its own weight and is less prone to fungal disease? What effect does any extra pruning have on the quality of fruit being produced?

We will learn more as we continue to grow more and our business expands. We know we won’t escape this continual need for nimble decision making. We thrive on the challenges. Hopefully (and ideally) we can one day contribute to the wealth of gardening knowledge with some of our own discoveries and experiences…..

 

Tikka Masala

A British favourite, this curry is best known for its pairing with chicken. We enjoy it just the same with seasonal vegetables and chickpeas instead. While we say the almonds are optional, they do help to thicken the sauce, adding a rich texture, so it’s worth the effort….serves 4.

Ingredients

  • a jar of tikka masala paste
  • a thumb sized piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • a glug of vegetable oil
  • about 500g of meat/vegetables of your choosing, chopped into chunks
  • 400ml cooconut milk
  • 400g tomatoes (chopped fresh or tinned)
  • 2 tbs of ground almonds (optional)
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • a handful of chopped coriander (optional)
Method 

Step 1: Fry the curry paste and ginger in the oil, in a deep frying pan or wok, on medium heat for about 5 min until fragrant and colour deepens

Step 2: Add your meat/vegetables and stir to combine with paste. Fry for a further 5 min or so.

Step 3: Add the coconut millk and tomato. Simmer on a low to medium heat for about 15-20 min. If using ground almonds stir in while everything is simmering.

Step 4: Remove from heat, stir through lemon juice and sprinkle with chopped coriander (if using) to serve.