Archive for July, 2013

Strawberries on plate

I seem to be surrounded by Strawberries: at my allotment, in my garden and even when I visit my parents, they have a strawberry bed which is simply overflowing with fruit (I can’t resist them and always leave with a tub full). This year has been an exceptional year for Strawberries, they are at their best now and simply delicious, however you choose to eat them.

HomeBetween 1st June – 31st August Breast Cancer Care are encouraging people to support them by holding a Strawberry Tea. Simply get together with friends and family, buy or bake some cakes, add some strawberries, put the kettle on and away you go!

You can hold a Strawberry Tea at home, at work, at your Sports Club in the clubhouse, with your community group, gardening club, art group and at school.

Holding a Strawberry Tea at School is a great way to get children involved, I am sure there will be lots of eager volunteers to help make the Strawberry Treats as well as designing posters, invitations and planning the event, why not combine it with the end of term Summer Fair.

There are some delicious Strawberry recipes on their website, this is one of my favourites, it’s perfect for parties too or as a cooling and refreshing treat on a hot day.

Mini Rainbow Jellies

This recipe uses small shot glasses, you can use larger plastic cups by increasing the quantities of Jelly and adding more Strawberries, why not try different flavours of jelly and use other seasonal fresh fruits.

Makes 12     Preparation time: 20 minutes     Chilling time: 3½ hours


  • 35g Pineapple Jelly Tablet
  • A drop of blue food colouring
  • ½ x 35g Lime Jelly Tablet
  • 4 Strawberries sliced

What you need to do

  1. Make up the pineapple jelly with water as the pack directs. Pour half into a jug and add a drop of blue food colouring to darken the jelly slightly. Allow the jelly to cool slightly.
  2. Pour the darker coloured jelly into the base of 12 plastic shot glasses then chill in the freezer for 15 minutes or until just set.
  3. Make up the lime jelly as the pack directs using half the amount of water. Leave to cool.
  4. Pour the lime jelly over the set coloured pineapple layer, then put back in the freezer for 15 minutes or until set.
  5. Press a slice of strawberry into each jelly then pour over the remaining uncoloured pineapple jelly to fill each glass. Chill in the fridge for about 3 hours or until set.

If you have a glut of Strawberries why not put them to good use; hold a Strawberry Tea, have a great time and raise money for a good cause at the same time. If you have a large crop turn them into delicious Strawberry Jam and bake some Strawberry Jam Drop Cookies or into Strawberry Smoothies.



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We have had an ‘Ask the expert enquiry’ from an allotment holder in Yorkshire which I thought I would share with you he asks:

‘ Morning guys, I’ve an 8ft x 8ft bed empty and I’m gaining space as I take out my spuds any advice as to what I should be planting now? I’m thinking Kale and Swiss Chard ‘

There are in fact quite a lot of things that you can sow and grow in July to replace your potatoes or to fill any empty space:

Salad Crops:

Sow Salad Leaves, Lettuce, Rocket, Radish, Spring Onions


Sow Basil, Parsley, Coriander, Dill



Sow Turnips, Carrots, Beetroot

Sow Kale, Swiss Chard, Endive, Kohl Rabi, Pak Choi, Fennel, Perpetual Spinach 

Sow the last of your French Beans, Runner Beans and Peas

Sow Spring Cabbage for transplanting later on

Rhubarb can be divided now – make a new bed

Plant out:

Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Winter Cabbages, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflowers, Kale and Leeks for a winter harvest

For a wonderful spring display next year:

Sow Biennial seeds in rows e.g. Forget-me-not, Foxglove, Sweet William, Wallflowers for transplanting in the Autumn.

I hope that I have given you a few ideas to get the most from your vegetable garden.

Click here for lots more things to do in the garden in July, one of the most important jobs at the moment is watering, for more ideas on watering and water conservation in the garden click here.

Enjoy the sun


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A big thank you to everyone that put pen, pencil, felt tip, crayon and paint to paper to create some wonderful, colourful and artistic pictures, what a talented lot you are. Choosing a winner was a hard task as each entry was worthy of a prize but there could only be two winners.

In the Family Zone and Kids Zone

We asked you to:
‘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.

The winning entry was by Aimee Doe, aged 8, from Bletchley, well done Aimee, and she will receive  A Solitary Bee HiveA Butterfly/Bee Nectar Feeding Station and a Guide to Solitary Bees 

Aimee Doe bee picture

 Winning picture drawn by Aimee Doe, aged 8

We asked you to:

Simply draw or paint a picture of a Scarecrow, then give him/her a name.

The winning school was Whitegate End Community Primary School & Nursery, Chadderton, and the picture was by Jack Yarker, well done Jack, they will receive a  Scarecrow Kit complete with a hand crafted Head for their school garden.

Winning picture drawn by Jack Yarker, aged 7
Congratulations to you both

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