Tag Archives: gardening

Growing purple cauliflower in Germany

I mentioned before that I’m growing my own vegetables this year.

One of the things I wanted to do was pick varieties that I wouldn’t normally be able to buy in the shops – or at least not without having to remorgage the house to afford a bag of variegated tomatoes or mottled frisée salad.

I am now paying the price of this overblown horticultural ambition. Take the cauliflower, for example. Of course I could have bought ordinary cauliflower seeds… but what’s the fun in that? Instead I picked out a packet of seeds which said “purple cauliflower”.  I was thinking along the lines of purple flowering broccoli – which is quite pretty, and in any case turns to normal green when you cook it.

Even so, when I found this growing in the garden…. I have to admit, even I recoiled a bit.

It’s recognisably a cauliflower… but nobody told me it would be that purple.

This is a serious problem. You see, my kids are not great fans of vegetables. Generally I have to hide them in soups, pasta sauces, curries and bakes… adding a tin of tomatoes or a cheesy topping to camouflage the presence of carrots or chopped cabbage.

But how the heck am I going to hide something this colour? If I make cauliflower-cheese, it’ll look like a purple monster lurking in an avalanche. Steamed cauliflower rosettes are going to look like they fell in the beetroot. Hmmm…. now there’s an idea. Can you make borscht with cauliflower?

Help me please! I need recipe ideas for alien cauliflower….

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Hedgehog update

I was out in the garden this morning collecting some vegetables for Sunday lunch and there on my peas was an enormous brown slug.

Now that I have a family of hedgehogs living in my garden, I know exactly what to do with slugs. I wrapped it up in a leaf (they’re too slimy and nasty to hold in your bare hand!) and carried it over to the hedgehog nest. Mum was just on her way out for a forage… but I could see the little ones watching me from under the dried leaves.

They’re getting quite big already and their spines are already turning brown.

One of them even popped out briefly to sniff at the gift I’d brought, before scurrying back to the nest.

I meanwhile went back to my garden to finish picking lunch. Peas, courgettes and kohlrabi today!

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Is it a plant, is it an alien?

I’ve mentioned before that I’m growing my own salad and vegetables this year.

In keeping with my infiltration of German society, I thought I’d better grow some proper German veg. And what could be more German than having your garden full of kohlrabi?

Well… that’s what I thought until they started to turn into aliens… right there in my vegetable patch! Seriously… some are purple and some are green… but they’ve all got tentacles… or possibly antennae. I can’t sleep at night as I’m expecting them to invade the kitchen any minute. If I don’t post again, you’ll know they got me….

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Teenage boys – what’s not to like?

Last Autumn our lawnmower finally went phut. Died. Ceased to mow. Went to the celestial greenhouse….

Being somewhat disorganised, and reluctant gardeners at that… we haven’t got around to replacing it yet.

So when the boy’s teenage mates came around to play football on our lawn… they were faced with an over-the-knee meadow with a set of goalposts just visible at the far end.

Imagine then, how gobsmacked we were when a set of German teenagers popped indoors to see me and my husband and asked: “Do you mind if we mow your lawn?”

They went and secured the requisite tools from their own homes and before we knew it, there was a buzzing and growling of electric and petrol motors at the far end of the wilderness garden.

I had to go and see this with my own eyes…  and indeed it was an amazing sight. It was as though the team from Ground Force had descended. One lad asked me (in polite English) for some “big scissors” – by which I assumed he meant shears – and proceeded to prune the bushes too.

The whole thing took them about 45 minutes.

And did they still have the energy left to play football? Yes… of course! Once they’d stocked up on calories from the fridge!

Teenage boys! What’s not to like?

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Kittens exploring the garden

We decided to keep three of the kittens in the end. This week they had their debut in the big wide outdoor world.

It’s been wonderful watching them explore their new domain. The sheds and woodstores have been popular – there are some great hiding places.

Helping (ahem) with the gardening is also a new favourite pastime.

And of course… whenever a plantpot gets knocked over, or a bag of potting compost ripped….

…it wasn’t me! Honest!

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