I've put a few of my tomatoes in the polytunnel now because I'm pretty certain all the frosts are over here. I'm playing it safe though and keeping 6 or 7 big plants indoors ready to go outside if anything bad happens.
In my area the lowest temperature for the next 2 weeks is 8°C so it seems like that time of year now where winter is finally leaving us properly.
Just a tip, if you take any plant out of its pot to replant it somewhere else, make sure that once you replant everything it gets watered well, plants can droop over and die if you replant them without enough water.
When you replant tomatoes they can look pretty unhealthy and droopy for a bit but don't worry, give it a good water and it will be back to normal within 2 days.
Tbt to our first foraging success in Wales two weeks ago.
A gigantic morel mushroom! It tastes delicious earthy and woody when sautéed with butter.
SWIPE ➡️ to see Smudge braving the cat-tle grate 😝
4237 hours ago
Now is the time to find Sloes, or Sloecations.
I plug them into this map marker app and come November I'm good to go
66312 hours ago
BIRD EYE SPEEDWELL (Veronica persica) - Edible and medicinal plant in the plantain family Plantaginaceae.
This species of Speedwell is native to Europe and Asia but it was first recorded in the UK in 1825.
There are many many speedwells in the UK but this is a very common one, it can be identified by the blue flower and the shape of the leaf, if you swipe you can see exactly what the leafs look like on both sides. Another way you can distinguish this from other speedwells is by the fruit, when there is fruit on the plant it will be heart shaped with two separated lobes. The fruits are tiny so nothing worth collecting, it would be better to eat the entire plant, whilst leaving the roots in the ground.
This plant is a blood purifier that reduces mucus, soothes internal tissues, treats coughs, asthma and pleurisy. Hot water extracts of the whole plant can reduce swelling and inflammation.
This plant is found commonly in gardens, allotments, fields, wasteland, harbours and hedgerows.
FIELD HORSETAIL (Equisetum arvense) - Edible and medicinal plant in the horsetail family Equisetaceae.
This is a super ancient plant that has been around for thousands of years. This is one of the few plants that can reproduce without flowering or creating seeds, instead this plant will release microscopic spores just like mushrooms do and the spores can travel really far away and grow new plants.
It's said that you shouldn't consume too much horsetail because in large amounts it can have negative effects on the kidneys and urinary system, because of this it is also best to eat cooked.
Horsetails are derivatives from huge tree like structures that used to grow around 270 million years ago.
Horsetail are a relative of the fern, which also reproduces by spores in the same way that horsetails and mushrooms do.
Medicinally Equisetum arvense has been used to stop bleeding, treat ulcers, kidney stones, wounds, gonorrhea, prostatitis, urinary incontinence and skin inflammation.
Horsetail contains silicon, potassium, aluminium, manganese, saponins, phytosterols, phenolic acids, cafeic acids, alkaloids and tannins. There are also 15 types of bioflavanoids in horse tails and bioflavanoids are naturally occurring substances which are known for their antioxidant abilities, they work in simbiosis with vitamins to neutralise free radicals in the body.
SPOTTED DEAD NETTLE (Lamium maculatum) - Edible plant in the Nettles and Mints family Lamiaceae.
Don't let the word nettle scare you because this plant will not sting you like stinging nettles. That's the reason it is called a dead nettle, there is a whole family of dead nettles which are a part of the nettle / mint family and none of them will sting you.
This edible plant is easily identified by its flowers, they look like a hood at the top of the flower and the bottom of the flower looks lipped. There is also white stripes on the leaves, but not always. The flowers appear between mid April and mid May and last well into autumn. This plant generally grows to about 20cm tall and it works as a great ground cover, people commonly use this as a ground cover in many areas so you may find some escapes from gardens but you'll find the natural plants more so in woodland or shaded areas because they like rich soil.
The flowers and leaves can be consumed in many ways, one popular way to use this is to chop the leaves finely and mash it into mashed potatoes. Its also popularly added to soups, stews and salads.
This plant is apparently a vulnerary which means it is a medicine that can be used for healing wounds. This plant has many of the same benefits as other species of dead nettle such as anti inflammatory and it is also astringent, diaphoretic and diuretic.
The word "maculatum" translates to something like "covered in dots or splotches" and it is a word commonly used in plant names.
When you look closer at members of the carrot family such as this cow parsley, you might realise that there are patterns throughout the family.
Each flower in the carrot family has many different flowers on each flower head, which are usually white or yellow. Each small section of the flower will have 2 big petals and 3 small petals, this is typical for all members of the carrot family.
All plants in this family also have furrowed stems with hollow internodes and alternate compound leaves with enlarged sheathing bases.
It's also very common for members of the carrot family to have strong aromatic smells and deep tap roots just like carrots.
If you can identify the family of a plant before knowing the species it will make it so much easier to figure out what plants you're looking at so learning plant family features can be very beneficial for foragers, I'll be posting a lot more about all the plant families in the future, happy foraging.
Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) is coming into flower now. Its an edible plant which is easily identified by its 4 petaled flowers, stinging nettle looking leaves and the smell of garlic when crushed.
When the flowers turn to seeds you can make a mustard with the seed pods, its said to taste a lot like Dijon mustard.
Did you know that just like violets, bluebells can be found in both purple or white! This is what white bluebells look like, it is the same exact species as the purple version but just a different colour.
White bluebells are said to be quite rare, you'll usually only find about one white bluebell for every 10,000 blue ones.
The reason you find white ones is because sometimes bluebells don't produce the pigments needed for the purple colours to form.
ALEXANDERS (Smyrnium olusatrum) - Edible and medicinal plant in the carrot family Apiaceae.
Alexanders is an edible species in the carrot family which has a carrot like flavour. The leaves can be added to salads or cooked as a potherb, the flowers can be used in a number of ways, battered, pickled, tinctured, its up to you. The stems can be used just like you would use asparagus, except with a carrot flavour. The seeds can also be used as a seasoning. When you find this plant you might notice there's a strong smell coming from the plant which is quite sweet and sickly but don't worry as this smell goes away when you cook the plant, leaving behind the carrot like flavours.
You usually find this plant in coastal areas but you can also find random Alexanders in the middle of nowhere, like I did. This is the first time I've found it even though I've been looking for months, that's just because it's rarer the further away from the sea you are, but this proves you can still find Alexanders if you aren't near the sea.
Medicinally Alexanders can be used to strengthen the stomach, treat scurvy, asthma, menstrual problems, wounds, relieve urinary problems and treat stomach pains.
The Wild Garlic in the Woods is just about to erupt - there’s just a faint whiff as you wander 💚 I love the smell of Wild Garlic & it’s a beautiful almost solid green carpet under the trees which don’t yet have their leaves.
Spring, my most favourite season of all! New life bursting everywhere 🌱
12117 April, 2019
This field is just absolutely plastered in buttercups and dandelions it looks amazing
After participating in a foraging course on Saturday, I decided to put my new found knowledge into action. I visited Georges Hayes, where wild garlic was literally everywhere!
Hey presto.. I made wild garlic pesto, and it tastes amazing!
This year I’d really love to complete a foraging course to learn more about the land that surrounds me and all the edible goodness it provides 🌱it’s crazy how in such a short space of time, we as humans have forgotten how to navigate a natural environment, so much so that the majority of us would have no idea what plants are good to eat- me included! 🌿 so any recommendations or tips about foraging would be warmly welcomed 💚
1771016 April, 2019
Why foraging for members of the Carrot family is absolutely not for beginners. Although our domestic food chain is full of members of this group of plants, from common herbs like fennel, dill and coriander to root vegetables like parsnips and carrots themselves, collecting anything wild that looks even vaguely carroty is a hazardous, potentially deadly activity unless you are extremely experienced with your plant identification. I’d been meaning to post this picture a few days ago then today from a fellow foraging teacher, I heard of a couple who ended up in hospital and had a very lucky escape after eating a small quantity of one of the plants pictured here, namely hemlock water dropwort, which is visible at the bottom of the picture, at first glance looking like a rather good celery. There are many factors affecting how toxic a plant is and also how it will affect an individual but with a species like this we are dealing with something extremely poisonous and potentially deadly even in relatively small quantities. Directly above it is edible cow parsley aka wild chervil, a tasty and versatile herb that I use in various different ways throughout the year, but this too has various poisonous lookalikes and requires caution and experience when collecting. At the top is hogweed, another member of the carrot family, a versatile and delicious plant with numerous culinary uses but has sap which in some people can cause painful contact dermatitis if picked was bare hands on a sunny day. As you can see these three plants not only look relatively similar, they grow in close proximity to each other, often intermingled. I have no desire whatsoever to be sensationalist about this, but with the poisoning story that I just heard very much in my mind I wanted to post something about this. Be safe, be sensible, never ever take your ego on a foraging walk and as they say, never much on a hunch.....not even the tinniest nibble.
901216 April, 2019
Vegan friendly Seaweed fish sauce or Seaweed Colatura, or Seaweed Garum ( if you must..)
As an ingredient I think it's in a different ballpark to 'seaweed salt'. (dried seaweed and salt mixed together)
I've occasionally had to work with chefs who for some reason would mix salt and pepper together and now, as a consequence I generally prefer my salt to be made of salt.
That said, all the leftover seaweed was extremely salty so Ive dehydrated it and made some seaweed salt anyway.
Waste not want not 😀 #zerowaste
Speaking of edible flowers, Wood Sorrel is in flower at the moment. The sharp tasting leaves can be found throughout the year, but the Spring flowers are equally edible and tasty. More info on Wood Sorrel on our Hedgerow Guide.
93416 April, 2019
We collected lots of gorse flowers today to have a go at making gorse-scented icecream and gorse flower cordial
Been out Morel hunting again And I can honestly say that I have never been out hunting for morels and come home empty-handed… I’ve never found any, but that is by the by as I have always managed to pick something else instead, In this case masses of unopened wild garlic flour heads which I will be pickling, capering, frying and possibly just throwing them in the air while I dance naked around my kitchen, again!