Bridget

Lettuce, Peaches & Nettles @ Prospect Cottage.

In Cooking, Folklore, Gardening on May 4, 2011 at 11:31 am

Rossa di Trento lettuce.

Lots of salad crops at the moment, the Lettuces seem to have formed heads overnight. We eat salad every day at this time of year, the perfect accompaniment to any meal. With a good dressing and some nice brown bread it makes for a complete meal in itself. This Rossa de Trento is one of my fave looseleaf lettuces. The seed was sourced from Seed Savers in Clare. I am going to try and save seed from this one. Have never had any luck saving Lettuce seed, the weather always seems to turn wet at the crucial time when the seed is almost ready to harvest, seed then gets mould. Will keep on trying. Loose leaf lettuces are great, just keep on picking leaves from them all Summer long. This variety is originally from Italy but it has adapted well to Irish growing conditions. The leaves are redder if grown outdoors.

Fruits have set on the Peach tree in the big polytunnel. Not as many as last year but it did get a severe pruning as it was coming close to the polytunnel roof. There is nothing like the joy of eating a home grown peach. Checking each day to see if they are ripe yet, the scent of them, the anticapation, and then the day comes, yeah, BLISS.

The Stinging Nettle(Urtica dioica), an important plant for creating bio diversity in the garden. It is host to the larvae of many butterflies, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Red Admiral, Painted Lady and Comma. They can also be used to make liquid fertiliser, on their own or mixed with Comfrey. As they contain formic acid they also help to repel pests. There is an Irish tradition to eat Nettles 3 times in May to cleanse the blood, as the plant is high in vitamins and minerals this old tradition makes sense in the modern age. Nettles can be used to make a tea, not very nice but a teaspoon of honey makes it more palatable. They can also be cooked like Spinach or added to soups, they even make a good beer, have never tried this so I can’t vouch for it.

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