Category Archives: GYO

Power of Food Festival – Events Programme – 17th-18th June

The full programme of events has now been launched, click on the image below to see what’s in store for this year’s festival…

The Power of Food Festival, a great celebration of community food growing, will be held in 29 gardens across Edinburgh on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 June.

2017 marks the third edition of the Festival and showcases community food growing as a way to promote greater societal well-being and environmental sustainability. The Power of Food Festival provides a unique opportunity to (re)discover the city and take the pulse of its vibrant and varied neighbourhoods.

There is a wide range of free entertainment for children and adults, including: music and singing, edible plants walk, yoga, talks & stalls about the impact of our food choices, bioblitz, bug hunt, dance performance, food-inspired poetry-making workshop, a drystone dyking course, as well as sharing in the pleasure of eating together.

Entry to the gardens and all Festival activities are free (food may be offered on a ‘pay as you feel’ basis), and all are welcome to attend.

There is a short film about the Festival which offers an insight into what the Festival is all about. You can watch it here.

The detailed programme includes maps for different parts of the city to help visitors plan their weekend’s exploration, sustainable travel information, and a schedule of timed events. The full programme is available here.

Background

The story of The Power of Food Festival itself is a simple one. With so many inspiring food gardens springing up around the city, transforming individual lives and communities, the Festival seeks to highlight community food growing as a powerful force for social change – connecting people, building trust, doing something together that’s greater than the sum of the parts. It aims to raise awareness of the environmental and social impact of our everyday food choices. It centres around a joyful garden gate open weekend and offer an exciting programme of free events and activities at local venues. Hosted by community food gardens, the Festival is the opportunity to be inspired by positive stories of collective action. Unlike traditional food festivals, this event gives the public the chance to go on location and experience how food is grown by local residents in their own neighbourhoods.

The Festival is entirely volunteer-run and operates without any grant funding. It seeks to harness the great human potential of our city and draws on people’s energy, enthusiasm and talents. The Power of Food Festival team would like to thank all those who are working hard to make the gardens and this Festival grow from strength to strength. It is a heart-warming sign of the community empowerment the Festival aims to celebrate.

Things are starting to happen…

A quick look around the garden this past week has given us a lot of pleasure – we have things now flowering and producing edibles that we’ve never tried before and we’ve also had three indoor cacti flower – a complete first.

Apples are starting to form

One thing I’m most excited about is the apples, we planted the tree three years ago and for the first time had lots of blossom, guess the pruning worked. We didn’t know if it was self-pollinating but, looking at the apples now starting to form, I guess it is.

Tomatoes are looking great!

The tomatoes that we grew from seed are doing remarkably well and even more exciting, the test container using Chase organics SM5 tomato feed already has tomatoes, guess it’s safe to say that it works.

The potatoes are flowering

The potatoes are flowering. We planted Pink Fir Apples, Salad Blue, Epicure and Mayan Gold this year. As well as Oca and Jerusalem artichokes, we’ll have plenty of tubers that’s for sure.

A cucumber flower

The cucumber is flowering, a new thing we’re trying this year, It’s remarkably similar to a courgette with it’s spiky stem and leaves.

We have strawberries…

And mange tout, another new thing…

Blackcurrants

As well as lots of other edibles that are just quietly doing their thing just now. Here are the cactus flowers, so pretty…

Flowering Cactus Mammillaria

 

 

Rhubarb Ice Cream Recipe

We always get a good crop of rhubarb throughout the growing season – I often make jam, crumbles and cakes but I wanted to try something a bit different so decided to give ice cream a try. It’s fantastic – so tasty that I can’t believe it isn’t more common. I’ll definitely be making this again, and probably again.

I got the recipe from ‘The Ultimate Ice Cream’ book by Bruce Weinstein and have adapted the ingredients and measurements for the UK.

Rhubarb

Ingredients

1lb rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

300 ml water

Juice of a lime

150 ml maple syrup

200 g caster sugar

1 large egg plus one additional egg yolk

2 teaspoons corn flour

300 ml milk

300 ml double cream

Method

Combine the rhubarb, water and lime juice in a medium saucepan and place over a low heat. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally until the rhubarb has broken down, approx 10-15 minutes.

Add the maple syrup, return to a simmer and cook for a further 2 minutes. Put the mixture through a sieve or a blender and puree. Set aside to cool.

In a bowl, beat the sugar into the egg and egg yolk until thickened and a pale yellow. Beat in the corn flour and set aside.

Bring the milk to a simmer in a medium to heavy saucepan. Slowly beat the hot milk into the eggs and sugar. Pour the entire mixture back into the pan and place over a low heat. Stir constantly until the custard begins to thicken. Be careful not to let the mixture boil or the eggs will scramble. Remove from the heat and pour the hot custard through a sieve into a large clean bowl and allow to cool slightly before adding the rhubarb puree and cream. Mix well and then cover and refrigerate until cold.

Once the mixture has cooled freeze in your ice cream maker according to the instructions. If you don’t have an ice cream machine you can freeze the mixture (in a freezer safe tub) but will need to ensure you take it out and stir thoroughly regularly to break down any ice crystals as it freezes.

 

Gearing up for a Bumper Edibles Growing Season

The past couple of months have been pretty hectic with Uni assignments but they’re behind me now and I’m just embarking on my dissertation – about people who grow their own food and then share these practices through blogs and social media – should be really interesting. I’m excited and terrified of undertaking such a huge piece of work at the same time.

Painted Mountain heirloom sweet corn

In between my studies I’ve been busy planting seeds and planning this year’s edibles. Biodiversity and companion planting to deter pests or attract them elsewhere is also part of the grand plan. With almost 60 new edibles for this year, along with over 20 already in the garden and companion plants, it’s ambitious, to say the least. I’ve had to set up a spreadsheet to keep me right with varieties and planting schedules. I also received a lovely box of organic veggies from Rocket Gardens yesterday with about 20 more varieties.

The Gas Tank has gone!

Thankfully our gas tank has now been removed from the back garden and a new one buried under the front lawn so we’re just waiting on the timber and soil for a new bed to take its place – it’s going to be much needed this year, along with bags and containers.

Mangetout and Peas – some of many seedlings on the go just now

There’s still a risk of frost here just now so the conservatory is bursting with plants and seedlings waiting to go outside. I can’t wait, especially as we’ve got some interesting new things this year like Painted Mountain sweet corn, Oca (New Zealand Yams), Jerusalem Artichokes, some interestingly coloured potatoes and tomatoes – no idea how some of these things will fare in our climate and short growing season but we’ll soon find out!

Rhubarb

We’ve already had a fantastic rhubarb harvest and I made some rhubarb ice cream for a change, oh goodness, it’s delicious, the nicest ice cream I think I’ve ever tasted – will definitely be making more. Will probably post the recipe too.

Since starting my studies my eyes have opened to many things I hadn’t known much about and this year we’re using as many heirloom seeds as possible so that we can start practising seed saving and it’s organic all the way – I had no idea about the control of agrochemical and seed companies and the huge global loss of biodiversity – very much looking forward to trying out these organic feeds that were kindly sent to us by The Organic Gardening Catalogue (I have a feeling this could become a new favourite site).

 

Power of Food Festival – 17th-18th June

This is a fantastic two-day festival that allows people the chance to visit different food-growing gardens in and around Edinburgh – with almost 30 gardens throwing open their doors this year – there’s bound to be something for everyone.

I can’t recommend the Lost Garden of Penicuik enough if you fancy a wee trip out of town. I had a tour there recently and it’s a wonderful place with an interesting history and some innovative ways of managing their land to grow food.

For more information, see below…

The summer solstice marks a special date in Edinburgh’s festival calendar. A time of growth and renewal, it has been chosen to showcase and celebrate the incredible richness of the city’s community food gardens. What started as an experiment in 2015 is now growing into its third edition on 17th-18th June 2017.

29 gardens, including over a dozen that are new to the Festival, are gearing up for a joyful weekend of fun and inspiration, hopefully in the sun!

The 2017 programme will invite visitors on a city-wide exploration. From the heart of the city centre all the way to the outer edges, the Festival demonstrates the tremendous diversity of Edinburgh’s food-growing community gardens and the fantastic people who keep them alive. Many of these community food gardens are little gems hidden away in neighbourhoods seldom the focus of city-wide festivals and all have a unique story to share. This year’s programme will include a 17th century garden in the heart of the Old Town, an urban croft in Leith and an old farm steading in the Pentlands, as well as a food garden on the grounds of a GP practice, to name but a few.

Over the two days, the gardens will open their gates to the public and stage a range of free activities for all ages and interests, from music and storytelling, apple pressing and bioblitz, to food growing and food tasting!

The Power of Food Festival has a partnership with Sustrans which will offer guided bike tours of the gardens.

The Festival’s full programme will be available in May.

A GROWING COMMUNITY

The story of The Power of Food Festival itself is a simple one. With so many inspiring food gardens springing up around the city, transforming individual lives and communities, the Festival seeks to highlight community food growing as a powerful force for social change – connecting people, building trust, doing something together that’s greater than the sum of the parts. It aims to raise awareness of the environmental and social impact of our everyday food choices. It centres around a joyful garden gate open weekend and offer an exciting programme of free events and activities at local venues. Hosted by community food gardens, the Festival is the opportunity to be inspired by positive stories of collective action. Unlike traditional food festivals, this event gives the public the chance to go on location and experience how food is grown by local residents in their own neighbourhoods.

The Festival is entirely volunteer-run and operates without any grant funding. It seeks to harness the great human potential of our city and draws on people’s energy, enthusiasm and talents. The Power of Food Festival team would like to thank all those who are working hard to make the gardens and this Festival grow from strength to strength. It is a heart-warming sign of the community empowerment the Festival aims to celebrate.

If you haven’t already, you too can play an active part in the Festival. We welcome offers of in-kind help, partnership and sponsorships. Or you can simply give us your support:

For more information, please get in touch with the Festival team:  poweroffoodfestival [@] outlook.com

Seeds, seeds and more seeds

I’m trying to be a bit more organised this year so have spent some time this week going through all my seeds, bulbs and young plants working out what needs sowing, propagating, planting etc and when! The conservatory is fast filling up with things in pots as it’s way too early to risk putting anything outside yet – we learned our lesson on that score last year! We’re also not risking being so late that loads of things don’t make the productive stage (another lesson from last year).

It looks like, all being well, we should have a great harvest this year, with well over 40 fruits and veggies, not counting the herb garden. We’ve also got some interesting new things to try like, oca, cucamelons and heirloom corn as well as some more unusual varieties of other kitchen garden staples.

The new gas tank is dug into the front garden

In other news ‘operation gas tank’ has begun – predictably what was supposed to be a 2-day job has already been four and we’re only halfway through. The front lawn was dug up and a new gas tank inserted. Some of the internal connections have been done however there still needs to be some pipework done to connect the new tank to the house. Once that’s been done they’ll transfer any gas from the old tank in the back garden to the new one and then remove the old tank. I can’t wait – we’ll be able to make a lovely new bed in that space, just as well with all the seeds and plants I’ve bought.

The ‘after’ total carnage shot – not too bad at all!

I also heard this week that the very kind people at What Shed have listed APG in their round up of Best UK Gardening Blogs – thank you! You can check out the others on the list here.

All the gardening things…

Despite being buried under a foot of snow again earlier this week, things are definitely looking up on the gardening front, not least because I’ve been doing lots of garden planning and subsequently lots of garden purchasing.

The post has been full of wonderful arrivals over the past couple of weeks including books on companion planting, biodynamic gardening and a couple of Beth Chatto’s after seeing her on Gardener’s World – Monty rated them very highly.

Live Plants, including horseradish (let’s hope it does better than last time, it was all spindly little roots that would’ve been a nightmare to peel – are we the only people that can’t grow it?!), strawberries and blueberries (ours weren’t great last year but planning to do something to make the soil more acidic this year and hopefully some cross-pollination will help). I also got garlic, a variety especially meant to be planted in UK soil, rather than just planting cloves from supermarket garlics which is what I’ve always done before, I’m hoping that my soil maintenance over the Winter will mean it’s less clay-ey and we’ll get much bigger bulbs this time around.

Seeds, all the seeds have been arriving! This year I’m hoping to save some money by bringing things on from seed instead of from plants but being so high up we have a very short season. The heated propagator is working well and the tomatoes and companions seem to be thriving. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to sow more in normal seed trays without them getting too cold in the conservatory at night.

and stuff! Cane holders for the climbers, plant clips and a hanging basket chain – all to be revealed with that one in due course.

The potatoes have been chitting – we have Pink Fir Apples, Salad Blue, Mayan Gold and Epicure. And, I finally braved pruning, I’ve been too feardy the past couple of years but I went on to youtube and learned how to prune all sorts of things – nothing was safe once I got started – roses, blueberries, apples, buddleias, blackcurrants, jasmine, fig, ivy and lilac – not sure if I haven’t gone a little too far with some of them, guess time will tell.

Next job is to write a new to-do list, plan my seed sowing and raised beds and get back to the chicken run that was interrupted by the Avian flu restrictions, fingers crossed for some nicer weather soon. I’m also deliberating on whether to buy live worms or to invest in a wormery so if anyone has some thoughts, I’d love to hear from you (definitely not sure about the dog poo wormeries I found on amazon – who knew there was such a thing?! the thought of worms who’ve digested that around the veggies isn’t filling me with great joy despite it sounding like a clever bit of kit).