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Wednesday, 4 October 2017
"It's a funny kind of month, October. For the really keen cricket fan it's when you discover that your wife left you in May." Denis Norden, 1977
Excessive amounts of thatch are a harbour for pests and diseases and promote poor drought tolerance. A shallow layer though is good because it acts as a barrier to prevent excessive moisture loss and help to prevent wear on the surface. Striking a balance will give the lawn enough of the soft cushioning you want.
Hoe, hoe, hoe, not long ‘till Christmas
Certainly now is the time to use the hoe and keep the vegetable borders free of weeds. Soon you’ll be turning the soil ready to let the winter frosts break it down. If you have been hard at work in your vegetable patch you’ll probably be reaping the benefits for your Christmas fare.
It’s wise to lift carrots, beetroot and turnips before the frosts and to fork up potatoes to dry before storing. Complete earthing up of celery and leeks and protect any late crops with cloches and fleece. Cauliflowers need protection and you can do this by bending outer leaves over any hearts froming. Thin out onion and turnip beds, cut down asparagus foliage and cut back globe artichokes. Harvest maincrop apples and take cuttings of bush fruit to cultivate.
Beef jhal faraizi, karhai broccoli and sweet and sour squashThis Madhur Jaffrey recipe from BBc’s Saturday Kitchen Best Bites is a great way to use leftover roast beef and even better if you have grown your own butternut squash and broccoli. Serves 4.
For the beef jhal faraizi
- 340g/12oz small floury potatoes, unpeeled
- 2 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
- ½ tsp whole cumin seeds
- 1 medium onion, cut into 7mm/⅓in cubes
- 2-3 fresh, hot green chillies (such as bird’s-eye chillies), chopped
- 40g/12oz leftover roast beef, 7mm/⅓in cubes
- 1 tsp salt
- freshly ground black pepper