It feels like such a long time since I wrote my last update, even though it’s only been a month! But what a month – with hot weather, a homemade irrigation system, our first taste of garden carrots and beetroots, and a delicious summary recipe to enjoy them too! If you’re just here for the recipe (it’s fine if you are!), scroll all the way to the bottom – the recipe is down there somewhere!
I can’t believe the weather from the last couple of weeks. It’s been so hot I haven’t known what to do with myself, and by the look of them, out tomato plants have been struggling in the heat as well. We’re still not sure whether we’ll actually get any tomatoes of the plants, as they were late, and are struggling to catch up, but we’re still hoping for the best. (Fingers crossed!)
In an attempt to give them a boost (and water everything else too), Chris has taken it upon himself to make the job easier with a self-watering garden he can connect and switch on. As the water goes straight into the ground it’s also really useful for watering in hot weather without burning any plant leaves – bonus! As it connects to the hose, it’s easy to use, and wasn’t too difficult to set up either.
Effectively, it’s an old length of hose pipe, with small holes pierced along the length. It’s held to the ground with some metal hooks (basically giant staples) and is plugged up at one end with a piece of wood to stop the water flowing straight through. The other end is attached to the hose (connected to our outside tap) so that when the water is switched on, it flows into the old hose pipe and drips steadily out of the holes. Perfect!
It does need to be left on a little longer than watering with the hose as normal, and there’s one in the VegTrug as well as the ground, so there’s a bit of changing between the two, but overall it’s an easy effective system. Even my Dad (a seasoned veg grower) was impressed!
We’ve been trying to water the carrots less, to encourage them to grow longer in search of water, so the one in the VegTrug only reaches part of the way across (not where the carrots are), and so far, it seems to be working! I’ve been really pleased with them so far, they have a gorgeous colour and strong carroty flavour.
I’ve been similarly happy with our beetroots too. They’re still quite small at the moment, but their flavour is sweet and intense, and the colour, again, is just beautiful! I’ve been thinning them out to les some grow bigger, so this is the perfect excuse to eat delicious baby beetroot in recipes like my Root Vegetable Salad recipe below. If you’ve not grown your own beetroot before and are thinking about growing veg next year, I would definitely recommend them!
Home grown veg is the perfect base for a salad recipe like the one in this post. Its simplicity means that the flavours really shine through, and for me, make all the difference. If you’re not growing veg, I’d recommend trying organic options in supermarkets, or locally grown veggies from farmers markets to get quality ingredients to enjoy.
Warm Root Vegetable Salad Recipe
Serves 2, cooking time 20 minutes
6 small carrots (10-15cm long)
2 small beetroots (if using cooked ones, skip the cooking of these!)
6-8 new potatoes
4 tbsp 0% fat yogurt
1 tsp course grain mustard
1 tsp jalapeno pickling liquid or lemon juice
Small handful of fresh parsley or dill, leaves only
Boil the kettle (this speeds up cooking time!)
Remove the leaves and scrub the veg clean – leave the skins on!
Cut the carrots in halt lengthways, and cut the potatoes into 4cm chunks.
Place the beetroots in a pan of boiled water, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes, or until tender, and the skins will easily scrape away.
Put the carrots and potatoes into a separate pan, ring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes, or until tender.
Meanwhile, wash the fresh herbs and mix up the dressing: put the yogurt, mustard and jalapeno liquid or lemon juice into a large mixing bowl and combine. Add salt and pepper to your taste, mix, and set aside.
When the potatoes and carrots are done, drain them, and leave to drip-dry while you prepare the beetroot.
Carefully remove the beetroot skins (they should easily scrape away with the edge of a spoon) and slice.
Add the carrots and potatoes to the dressing bowl and gently mix. Add the beetroot slices and carefully fold in, trying not to turn the whole mixture pink!
Spoon into bowls to serve, and top with the fresh herbs. Homemade croutons go really well with this too!