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Archive for May, 2013

Beef Tomatoes

This week it is British Tomato Week 20th-26th May which is launched by the British Tomato Growers Association to promote our own locally grown tomatoes.

British grown tomatoes are available in shops now, picked when they are perfect for eating and with only a short distance to travel to the shops they are super fresh, tasty, healthy and environmentally friendly.

Although many British growers produce tomatoes on a large scale they care about the environment, millions of bumblebees are used each year to pollinate plants, insects are used as a natural pest control and millions of gallons of water are stored from glasshouse roofs for irrigation.

Tomatoes are delicious fresh or cooked, they are very healthy containing Vitamins A, C and E, and Potassium and Calcium, they are low in calories and contain virtually no fat or cholesterol.

Store your Tomatoes at room temperature, keeping them in the fridge impairs their flavour.

Did you know?

  1. Tomatoes are fruits not vegetables.
  2. In Britain we each eat on average two tomatoes every week. 
  3. Tomatoes originate from the Andes in South America, where they grow wild. They were first cultivated by the Aztecs and Incas as early as 700 AD. 
  4. Tomato Seeds have been grown in space.
  5. The largest UK tomato glasshouse covers 26.5 acres, but is currently being extended to 44.5 acres, or 18 hectares. That’s the size of 25 international football pitches. 

For more information, recipes, and facts have a look at the British Tomato Growers website and the Kid’s Tomato Zone for fun activities.

So support our growers by buying British and local Tomatoes or why not have a go at growing your own it is a lot easier than you think and now is the perfect time to plant them, click here for a Guide to Growing your own Tomatoes.

Gill

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On the Gardening With Children website we have just launched two new free Childrens Competitions, with a chance to win some great Wildlife and Gardening Goodies for your home or school.

1.  In the Family Zone and Kids Zone

To help the Bees in your garden why not enter our competition for a chance to win

 
Solitary Bee Hive
 
 
 
Butterfly/Bee Nectar Feeding Station
 
 
 
Guide to Solitary Bees
 
 
What you need to do
‘Bee’ creative and design a poster with the heading ‘Bee kind to Bees’  or  ‘Bee’ artistic and draw a picture of a Bee in your garden.
Send your drawing to us with an entry form before the closing date of 30th June 2013 and our favourite will win. Click here for full details and an entry form.
 

2.  In the School Zone

Win a Scarecrow for your school garden.

 A dressed scarecrow

Scarecrow Heads
 
For a chance to win one of our Scarecrow Kits complete with a hand crafted Head why not enter our competition, your Scarecrow will make a fun addition to the school garden; why not dress him in your School Uniform or a local Football Team Kit.
 
What you need to do
Simply draw or paint a picture of a Scarecrow, then give him/her a name and send it to us with an entry form before the closing date of 30th June 2013 and our favourite will win. Click here for full details and an entry form.
 
Congratulations to the winners of our last two competitions
The winner of our March/April School Zone Competition was Ludworth Primary School, Stockport, they have won a Kids Raised Bed Growing Table and the winner of the Family/Kids Zone competition was Lydia Clarkson from Leeds who won a Yeominis Childrens Wheelbarrow and a Haws Watering Can.
Well done to them, we hope they enjoy their fabulous prizes.
 
Gill

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Cucumbers are often only thought of as an ingredient in a salad but there is a lot more to cucumbers than you think.

A Cucumber is classed as a fruit not a vegetable and consists of 95% water, it also contains potassium and vitamins K, C and B5 which help to restore water to your body whilst removing toxins. Cucumbers are beneficial to your eyes and skin and can help fight against different types of cancer, cucumbers contain 15 calories and no saturated fat or cholesterol making them very healthy indeed.

So why not celebrate National Cucumber Day on 12th May 2013 by sowing some seeds and growing your own:

Sow seeds individually on their edge in small pots 1cm deep in seed compost, place in a propagator and once they have germinated grow them on somewhere cool and light (not in direct sunlight).

Young Cucumber

When the plants are well established plant into good vegetable compost in large pots or grow bags in the greenhouse or outdoors (check the seed packet) and provide canes, wires or strings to train the plants up. Outdoor Cucumbers ideally need a sunny and sheltered position; these plants will need hardening off before planting out after all danger of frost has passed. Keep plants well watered and feed regularly.

I planted my seeds at the end of April and will be planting them in large pots in my greenhouse towards the end of May.

Gill

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It’s Bank Holiday weekend, giving me an extra day to get busy in the garden, go out for a walk or if the weather is not great I usually find myself in the kitchen baking. The walk is planned for tomorrow, I was in the garden yesterday and so today with a light drizzle falling I have dug out a recipe.

I usually have a jar of honey in the cupboard and honey and lemon is such a lovely combination – we can take these on our walk tomorrow.

Honey and Lemon Fairy Cakes

Ingredients

  • 150g Butter/Margarine
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 150g Self-Raising Flour
  • 2 Medium Eggs
  • 50g Clear Runny Honey
  • Finely grated zest of a Lemon
  • 3 tbsp Lemon Juice

For the icing

  • 100g Icing Sugar
  • 4 tsp Lemon Juice or Water
  • Sprinkles, Small Sweets or Sugar Flowers to decorate.

How to make your cakes

  1. Line a bun tray with 12 paper bun cases.
  2. Preheat oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/gas mark 5.
  3. Mix together the Butter/Margarine, Sugar and Honey in a bowl until pale and creamy.
  4. Beat the eggs and add gradually, mixing well.
  5. Stir in the lemon juice and zest.
  6. Sift the flour and add gradually, mixing well until light and fluffy.
  7. Divide the mixture between the 12 bun cases.
  8. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the icing

  1. Place the icing sugar in a bowl, add the Lemon Juice/Water gradually and mix until it is smooth and runny.
  2. Spread or drizzle the icing on the fairy cakes, add your decorations whilst wet then leave to set.

If the weather is fine there are lots of things to do in the garden click here for some ideas.

Have a lovely weekend

Gill

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