Rosie says: “September is harvest time, or so it should be. But the truth is, things in our new garden have been much tougher than we’d anticipated this summer and, while we’ve had a few small successes with growing things in pots – a good crop of tomatoes and an incredibly healthy potted herb garden (nasturtiums, purple basil, chervil, mint and parsley) – a bumper year this is not, except for when it comes to slugs.
Much of what I planted and lovingly grew from seed, from dahlias to artichokes, has ended up being gobbled by the slow-moving slimers. I confess, I saw red and took the Maldon to them: what a waste. My courgettes were mysteriously snatched altogether by what I can only imagine is a very devious squirrel. We want our garden to be a haven for wildlife (careful what you wish for) and are trying to do everything organically without the use of pesticides, slug pellets or chemical fertilisers, but this does mean that we’ve ended up sharing more than we’d banked on. It’s disheartening, especially when you’ve planted things as a greedy home cook with an imagined plan for feasting. But I will not be deterred. My focus now is to improve the soil health in the garden ahead of next year, so that there will be more of everything to go round.
When we had an allotment, we practised ‘no dig’ – covering the beds with cardboard and compost, and letting it break down to promote microbes and healthy organisms in the soil while keeping weeds at bay – and I intend to resurrect this practice here now that we have one summer under our belt. No dig contributes to healthier, more productive soil and saves a huge amount of back-breaking work, too. You can read more about the practice at charlesdowding.co.uk.
We want to be as sustainable as possible and the aim is to be as closed-loop as we can, so I’ve bought another food caddy to recycle the majority of our food waste into the compost heap, which will enrich the soil for next year’s growing. I’m also definitely going to invest in copper slug rings and nematodes – both of which are non-chemical solutions to the slug problem, which wasn’t been helped by such a wet summer.
In the spirit of optimism, this month’s recipe heroes a crop I hope I’ll be growing glorious golden ears of at some point in the future: sweetcorn. This recipe is based on a dish I ate last year at Bright restaurant in east London. The corn was blackened and charred in patches, providing a delightful contrast to the sweet bursting kernels, which were coated in a sharp and savoury lime and miso butter. It’s a lovely dish for a starter or barbecue side with a chilled glass of wine (orange, in my case) or an ice-cold beer.”
- corn on the cob 2, still in their husks
- butter 30g
- lime ½, juiced
- runny honey 1 tsp
- miso (ideally red miso) ½ tsp
- white pepper freshly cracked, for sprinkling
Celebrate this golden vegetable with more of our sweetcorn recipes
- Kcals 113
- Fat 7.4g
- Saturates 4.1g
- Carbs 7.4g
- Sugars 3.1g
- Fibre 3.3g
- Protein 2.5g
- Salt 0.2g