After last month's grandparents' growing day at Keynsham, the planting has continued apace across all the nurseries: borders and planters are being filled up with fresh compost and a smorgasbord of seed and bean varieties to delight the children.
At Keynsham the unusual organic herb varieties we sourced from Jekka's Herb Farm In South Gloucestershire are settling in well with the help of some diligent watering. We've already put two of the mint varieties to use with a refreshing lemon, apple, mint and elderflower infusion made by the children after a busy planting session. At this time of year the plants seem almost to grow as you watch them and the cartwheel vegetable beds are already yielding some tasty salad leaves which look too delicious to miss. Unfortunately, that's what our resident rabbits think too, so we've had to do some careful netting and an assault course of bamboo canes to try and fend them off. As one of the children said, "Mr McGregor has Peter Rabbit and he tried to catch him because he ate his lettuces".
This week Tim and the children planted some exotic "Painted Mountain' sweetcorn which will produce multi-coloured cobs of yellow, red, black and purply brown and some white 'Czar' runner beans which we are hoping will form a bean archway over our rambling nasturtium wall.
With all these plants to tempt us we couldn't resist getting started with some simple recipes starting with a fresh and zesty salad. When Tim was on hand to guide them, some of the children picked a selection of leaves to make a mixed leaf, herb and radish salad with three different lettuce varieties - little gem, lamb's and butterhead - chives, fat hen, radish, parsley and edible ground ivy flowers. Ground ivy, despite the name, is actually a member of the mint family and completely safe to eat. Whenever we pick plants we repeat the important instructions about which plants are safe and remind the children to ask before eating anything they've grown!
As promised, the latest Nursery Kitchen video features some of the produce from the garden - we used chives, parsley and marjoram to flavour some hand made "pici" pasta but any selection of your favourite herbs would work.