Chris Whitehouse

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since Jun 01, 2018
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Recent posts by Chris Whitehouse

Re Fruit leathers. I had my first attempt this summer and very successful it was too. Trying to keep some back for the grandchildrens first visit post covid next week! What I used was a silicon baking sheet in my oven roasting tray, and left it overnight (on a timer so it switched off after a few hours). The oven is a fan convector type so a good airflow through. Not very energy efficient but it is a nice snack treat.
1 month ago
I have grown Luffa for the first time this year, I live in Evesham area. The plants grew really strongly from seed, but slowed up compared to physalis I was also growing. I am growing one in a polytunnel, which has now reached the roof, but producing only 1 luffa so far. I put another plant in a pot outdoors but it just hasnt put on any growth. They do seem to need extra warmth, and I am not sure that summer in the north east of England really hacks it! i am hoping for more fruits from the polytunnel, but I think it is probably too late now.
Good luck with it anyway!
2 months ago
Also mashua, another Andean root crop, akin to nasturtium. It climbs and spr ads itself around, has very pretty red flowers, flowers and shoots edible in salads, and the roots are supposed to be good too, though I haven't tried them yet. You have to leave them to bulk up in the autumn after the leaves die down, and look for a harvest before the ground get too hard.
And Good King Henry, sits quietly doing its thing in a corner. Spinach like, nice taste. Need to cut off the dead flowers to stop it seeding around too much.
2 months ago
I would say hablitzia doesn't have a great deal of taste, but certainly not unpleasant. Might be a good alternative to spinach for children who find spinach too strong?
Re the comments on extra time harvesting, I tend to cut whole stems, then strip the leaves quite easily. Keeps it under control a bit!
I think on th whole worth growing for the diversity, but am definitely going to cut the flowers before they seed.

Another good green I have tried this year is Good King Henry and that does have a different flavour.
3 months ago
Hi, I grew some from seed last year and got 4 plants to maturity. In fact they grew like crazy and reached the top of the 6ft cane teepee I provided. They grow in full sun for most of the day, heavy shade from md afternoon onwards. They survived the winter fine and it was fun seeing them starting to grow again this spring. I have used the growing tips for salads, and the main leaves for spinach. Sadly it has flowered quite early this year and hasn't been quite so vigorous- just wondering whether to cut it hard back and see how it regrows. At the moment it is in my main veggie bed, but takes up a lot of room, so planning to move itiinto my developing food forest aka fruit orchard in the winter. Really please with it so far, definitely worth a punt!
3 months ago
I love sorrel! But not the red veined one, it doesn't really have the same taste. I grow English, buckler leaf  and this year, Belleville sorrel (might be the same as French?). Use them in salads, but also to make sorrel sauce which is great for any  fish, or add it to mayonnaise to go with cold salmon, fantastic!!!
4 months ago
I am process of converting my apple/plum/pear orchard into more of a food forest. The trees are between 5 and 30 years old and we chose big rootstocks because of deer pressure, so some of the oldest trees are quite large and shady. The grass cover is hard to keep on top of and I also wanted more space for perennial veg so now have 2 beds around a couple of smaller trees. Plans are for Aronia, ugni, gooseberries, currants as well as a variety of ground covers, but for this year it's potatoes and squash to help get the soil improved and hopefully get on top of some of the grass. Seems to be going ok at the moment but not helped by having the driest spring ever. I was inspired to start down this route by a visit to Martin Crawford's place in Dartford so I would echo your ideas on this. He has lifted the canopy of his tall alders which allows the fruit trees and shrubs more light. But he do
es do a lot of pollarding and coppicing as necessary to maintain the forest.
4 months ago
Looking at the article posted by Jay Angler re plants to grow for phytoremediation, I was struck by the warnings to remove all the now contaminated plant materials at the end of the season. What they don't say is how or where to dump it. Surely the council dump would want to know about potential higher levels of lead especially if they are producing what we call in the uk green waste compost to sell back to gardeners? This is another example of focussing on the short term immediate problem without considering the wider implications!

I also have a question for anyone regarding the use of fungi. Where does the lead go that they trap so well? I thought the whole point about fungi in soil was they can transport minerals through their hyphae networks and make them available to plants to use?

4 months ago
Hi everyone
I am trying out a purpose made hot compost bin at the moment. I use it primarily for kitchen waste including ground up eggshells, citrus, some cooked waste, plus shredded paper and woodchip to keep it drier. It ran at 20C all through the winter, and is now regularly reaching 35-40C. There is a lot of leachate which I drain off every few days, and I took out some compost from the base the other day to plant out my tomatoes. This bin is full of worms, so many they drain out in the leachate! I can swear that I havent knowingly added any worms so amazed at where they have come from. Possibly the wood chip which has been decomposing for about a year? The end product looks amazingly rich so I cut it with some mushroom compost and spent stuff from last years pots. If it is too rich will it be detrimental to the tomatoes? They are growing down into soil underneath, it was only like a  thin mulch around them.
Thanks
5 months ago
Why is this only available to US residents? Will it be more widely released soon? Would love to watch it....
6 months ago