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FROM THE MILL 

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The International Carrot Day or the Carrot Day is celebrated every year on 4th April and is the pinnacle for carrot lovers all around the world. It only seemed right to share our Head Gardener's Carrot Growing Guide with you!

 

Carrot Growing Guide

 

Fresh carrots from the garden are delicious and packed with goodness, with the weather slowly warming up now is great time to start thinking about the first sowing. We use a good disease resistant variety called “Eskimo F1” in the gardens, it can be sown early to be used for baby carrots or later in the summer as a main crop to be left in the ground over the winter months, Eskimo is also quite frost resistant.

 

If your ground is heavy and full of stones growing carrots can be quite tricky, they tend to “fang” as they grow instead of producing long straight roots, digging over the ground well before sowing will help, alternatively grow some in large pots or containers with a mix of sieved garden soil and potting compost.

 

For best results sow directly into the ground, taking out a shallow drill ¾ inch deep, seeds are best sown thinly to avoid congestion and having to thin them out, this helps reduce problems with carrot fly which is a common pest, rows can also be covered with fleece or try companion planting with Spring Onions, Garlic etc.

 

The seedlings will emerge in a few weeks, keep them watered as they start to grow, small weeds can be left in the rows to avoid disturbing the ground, larger ones should be removed firming the ground well after taking them out.

 

A sowing in early April should give a first crop in June, harvest by pulling up a few plants from all along the rows to give the rest more room to grow and keep sowing small amounts every few weeks, for a winter crop sow by the end of July, later sown crops are also less prone to common pests.

 

BBC Gardeners world website has some great tips on how to keep carrot fly away: https://www.gardenersworld.com/plants/10-ways-to-avoid-carrot-root-fly/

 

 

 

Helping our feathered friends and other wildlife in small gardens can be very rewarding, in winter providing a regular supply of of food is a great way of not only getting close to nature at home but also really helps birds and animals get through the cold months when their natural food is sometimes scarce.

 

Putting up bird feeders is a great way to start, if Squirrels visit your garden it is best to buy types designed to deter them, either with a strong cage built around or a mechanism that stops them getting to the food, they are capable of chewing through and damaging most others.

 

When choosing where to put the feeders try to site them near a hedge, bushes or small trees. Sparrowhawks are often attracted to feeding birds so giving them cover to dash into will really help, it may take some time for birds to start using the feeders but will visit regularly once they find them.

 

Putting out different types of feed will encourage a variety of birds, Sunflower Seeds, Peanuts and Fat balls are the most popular. Nyjer seed might attract very colourful Goldfinch, Greenfinch and occasionally Siskins and Redpolls. If you have fruit trees in your garden windfalls can be left to provide another source of food.

 

It is very important to regularly clean your feeders, take them apart and wash thoroughly using a mild disinfectant if you have one, peanuts can go soft and mouldy at the bottom of feeders so it’s a good idea to only part fill them and shake up every few days.Try to keep the area around your feeders clean to deter rodents.

 

The commonest birds are the Tit family, Robins, Blackbirds, Starlings, Sparrows and Collared Doves, you may also get Greenfinch, Chaffinch and Woodpeckers. You can also help to support other wildlife by planting flowers for Bees & Butterflies, buying or making your own Bee boxes, leaving small piles of branches and sticks in a quiet corner of your garden, or even making a shelter for Hedgehogs. Links to all these can be found below.

 

 

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/giants-causeway/features/how-to-build-a-bee-box

 

https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/advice/how-you-can-help-birds/feeding-birds/keep-your-bird-table-healthy/

 

https://www.sundaygardener.co.uk/10-best-plants-for-bees-and-butterflies.html

https://www.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/give-nature-a-home-in-your-garden/garden-activities/giveahogahome/

Hit that sweet craving with this simple Flapjack recipe which our Head Chef has sourced! Using just 4 ingredients in 4 steps, these flapjacks are sure to be a hit with the whole family.

 

Go on, treat yourself!

 

1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

 

2. Put 250g jumbo porridge oats, 125g butter, 125g light brown sugar and 2-3 tbsp golden syrup in a food processor and pulse until mixed, but be careful not to overmix otherwise the oats may lose their texture.

 

3. Lightly grease a 20x20cm baking tin with butter and spoon in the mixture. Press into the corners with the back of a spoon so the mixture is flat and score into 12 squares.

 

4. Bake for around 15 minutes until golden brown.

 

This recipe has been sourced from: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/yummy-golden-syrup-flapjacks 

We're aware that many of you have struggled to source bread flour! Where possible before our closure, we stocked up on staple ingredients in our Mill Shop to provide our customers with these sought after items, however we too sold out of bread flour. 

 

Not to worry if you didn't manage to snap some up, our Head Chef has sourced a bread recipe using plain flour! Let us know how you get on. 

 

Ingredients:

  • sachet fast-action dried yeast
  • tsp Fairtrade white caster sugar
  • 500 g British plain flour, plus a little extra for dusting
  • tsp fine table salt
  • tsp olive oil, for greasing

 

Method:

1. Place the yeast and caster sugar in a bowl with 290ml warm (not hot) water. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, until it begins to foam.

 

2. Sift the flour into a large bowl and stir in the salt, making sure it is evenly distributed. Create a well and then gently pour in the liquid. Bring together to form a dough. If the dough is a little dry at this point, add a little more water and make sure it is fully combined. Dust the work surface with a little flour and knead the dough for 15-20 minutes until smooth and stretchy.

 

3. Shape the dough into a round or oval then place on a baking tray dusted with a little flour. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 230°C, fan 210°C, gas 8.

 

4. Remove the cling film, dust the top of the loaf with a little flour. Turn the oven down to 200°C/180​°C fan/gas 6 and bake for 20 minutes. Then check every 1-2 minutes until risen and golden. Transfer to a cooling rack and tap the base of the bread to check it is cooked – it should sound hollow. The loaf is best enjoyed warm from the oven.

 

Cook’s tip: plain flour requires more kneading than strong bread flour in order to form the gluten that gives the dough its elasticity – so don’t give up!

 

This recipe has been sourced from: https://recipes.sainsburys.co.uk/recipes/baking/easy-plain-flour-loaf 

'Grow Your Own Vegetables' Guide.

 

Our incredibly passionate Head Gardener has put together a handy guide, not only to encourage you to enjoy your garden, but to also think about how you might be able to grow your own Vegetables! This could be an activity to get the whole family involved in, wouldn't it be lovely to tuck into a delicious dish made with home made vegetables?! 

 

Many different Vegetables and Salads can be grown easily and quickly at home, all of these can sown and harvested in a fairly short space of time.

 

  • Lettuce
  • Radish
  • Salad Rocket
  • Spinach
  • Beetroot
  • Cucumber
  • Courgettes
  • Baby Carrots
  • Spring Onions
  • Kale

 

Some like Radish, Carrots and Spinach are best sown outdoors or into large containers filled with compost, with these it is best to wait until the soil has warmed up, or start them in a greenhouse/conservatory.

 

1. Make a small shallow trench approximately ½ inch deep, sow the seed thinly then cover it and water in well with a watering can and rose.

 

Indoor sowing is a great way to get things started early, any plant pots and compost can be used but try to avoid brands which contain a lot of nutrients meant for hanging baskets etc.

 

2. Part fill the pot, firm the compost gently then water with a watering can and rose. Now scatter/sieve a thin layer of compost over the top.

 

3. With small seeds scatter over the top being careful not to sow too much, some seeds require light to germinate so always read the instructions on the packet, most should be covered with a very thin layer of compost. Do not water them again.

 

4. The pots should be covered with a small piece of glass or sealed inside a plastic bag and placed somewhere warm to germinate, a sunny window ledge is fine. Most seeds will germinate quite quickly, Lettuce often in a few days, as soon as you can see the leaves remove the cover and continue to water carefully.

 

5. Once the seedlings are big enough use a pencil to lift them out and pot into a tray, a standard seed tray will hold 40 seedlings in rows 8x5.

 

6. Keep them warm and watering carefully, once big enough they can be planted out into the garden or large containers. Keep sowing small amounts of seeds regularly to keep a constant supply of small tasty vegetables.

 

Please do keep us updated with your progress, we would love to see your hard work!



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