Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Allotment garden features in the Marylebone Journal!

Thank you to Jean-Paul for his entertaining piece about Capital Growth, the allotment garden, and Paul Richens' training session!

You can download the October issue here (the feature on us begins on page 12):

Harvest Festival Pumpkin Salad Recipe

This recipe comes courtesy of Nick Baylis, our fantastic volunteer chef, who ran the kitchen at our Harvest Festival. This dish was a particular favourite of the visitors.

Pumpkin Salad:

The day before you plan to make it soak some butter beans overnight.
After soaking, cook until tender. Using a pressure cooker for this dramatically reduces cooking time and hence saves energy!
Leave to cool. (Alternatively just buy a can of butter beans.)

Chop a pumpkin into about 1cm cubes. If fairly young, keep the skin on, otherwise peel it first. Roast the pumpkin in a little oil, salt, pepper and whole fennel seeds until nicely coloured and tender. Set aside to cool. You could also fry the pumpkin with similar results.

Fry the butter beans in a little oil for a few minutes either side. Be careful not to put too many beans in the frying pan, otherwise they won't brown - fry in batches if necessary. You're aiming for a slightly crunchy, golden brown crust on the beans. Season with salt and pepper.

Finely chop plenty of sorrel (and/or lettuce, spinach, beat leaves etc etc) and mix carefully with the warm pumpkin and beans. Be gentle at this stage, otherwise you'll end up with a dense mush.

Serve the salad on a plate with some chopped feta, and a dressing of lemon, yoghurt and garlic. The dressing should be mostly lemon, a small amount of garlic and a bit of yoghurt to bind. This salad would also work nicely with curd cheese.

Capital Growth Food-Growing Training Sessions @ The Allotment Garden

Coming up we have.....

Permaculture Design Taster with Stefan Geyer of the London Permaculture Association
Saturday 12th November 2011 10.30am to 1pm
Saturday 3rd December 2011 10.30am to 1pm

Soft Fruits, Fruit Tree Pruning and Care with Tom Moggach of City Leaf
Saturday 26th November 2011 10.30am to 1pm

All sessions are £20 for individuals and £10 for Capital Growth members. Booking is essential, so to avoid disappointment book now by emailing

The wonderful world of bees

The allotment garden attracts lots of wildlife. It's location in the heart of Regent's park certainly helps, but we also try and encourage it along with bug hotels, hedgehog boxes, and plenty of flowers. The bees love them!

Harvest Festival 2011 Part 4 (the best of the rest)

Other activities at the Harvest Festival included Ask the Experts, pizza making and apple pressing (mmmm, delicious!), tombola and the Big Raffle.....

Harvest Festival 2011 Part 3 (the volunteers)

A big THANK YOU goes to all of the volunteers that made the Harvest Festival possible! A few of them can be seen here, enjoying the day....

Harvest Festival 2011 Part 2 (Scarecrows)

Many visitors to this year's Harvest Festival cam especially for our scarecrow-making workshop, run by Joyce Warrren or Scarecrowland ( Over 60 happy children (and their parents!) made their own plant-pot scarecrows to take home with them.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Harvest Festival 2011 Part 1

This year's harvest festival
was a great success, with over 500 people coming to enjoy the garden, the weather and, of course, the wonderful food!

Friday, 23 September 2011

park piccallili

I've never been much of a pickler, but when Carmen from Capel asked back in July if anyone could take care of a cauliflower or two, I knew I'd have to give it a go.

Cauliflowers aren't an easy thing to grow, but she and the Capel team had done a great job. Obviously it would be awful if the effort and enthusiasm that went into producing them fell at the pickling post, but I am a die hard laissez-faire cook, so I took my regular approach surfing the net for the least effort to best perceived reward. I appreciate recipes that aren't to restrictive on ingredients!

I plumped for this one, but in retrospect this looks pretty appropriate too, but we were months ahead of the nasturtium seed pods.

It was pretty straightforward - a fair bit of chopping to get the veg diced ready for brining/salting, then a bit of mixing & jarring, and a healthy pause...

Well, now it's been two months, and I have to say it's a thumbs up from me - I had a big dollop of it with some buttery kale from the allotment. Tasty!

Just verified that is also an excellent accompaniment to cheese.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Some July pictures

Beautiful edible Lillies

Mark from Vertical Veg talking us through compost

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August pictures from the allotment Garden

A wasp squabble in a pumpkin flower
Tumbling Toms in a hanging basket
Scabious Flowers

The BEST raspberries. Fact.

Some of the mid August bounty
A lurking currant
More marrows and beans, late August
A shield beatle nosing around the asparagus berries
Water marrows

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Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Our first apple...

Check out the size of this beauty, harvested in the allotment garden today!

We will be harvesting the rest of our lovely crop of coxes and dessert apples and pressing them for juice at the Harvest Festival.

Tomato disaster

Last week I noticed the tomatoes weren't looking their best. This Monday I discovered that a whole bed had succumbed to blight. We had to pull the hole lot - it was a very sad day. Now how will we make sauce for our Harvest Festival pizzas? It's just as well we have some frozen and over-dried in stock. However, if any Capital Growth spaces would like to sell some of their surplus please contact Amy -

Friday, 26 August 2011

The Capital Growth Edible Open Gardens Day

On Saturday 3rd September 2011 over 40 Capital Growth sites will be opening to the public. As part of this, space number 500 (our very own allotment garden in The Regent's Park) will be open for you to look around. Volunteers will be on site from 12noon until 4pm, and raffle tickets will be on sale.

You can find us on the corner of Inner Circle and Chester Road, in the heart of the park, next to the park office (NW1 4NR).

Find out more about the Capital Growth Edible Open Gardens Day at

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Oven dried tomatoes (part 2)

This is what the tomatoes looked like this morning, after a night in the oven on a very low heat...

...and this is what they look like with some fresh thyme and extra virgin olive oil... yum!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Oven-dried tomatoes....

In preparation for our 2011 Harvest Festival we're trying out various preserves to make sure there's plenty of produce to enjoy for all. These tomatoes were harvested today by our volunteers, and will last in the cupboard to make lovely pizzas toppings or salad ingredients.

Oven-dried tomato recipe

1. Harvest tomatoes of any variety, shape or size.

2. Leave small ones whole, but medium ones in half lengthways, cut large ones into quarters lengthways.

3. Place in a baking tray (cut ones should be placed cut-side up).

4. Place in the oven on a very low heat (between 50-100 degrees C).

5. Cook for 4-6 hours depending on the size of the tomatoes.

6. They are ready when they look shrivelled up like sun-dried tomatoes.

7. Leave to cool then store in a jar with a few springs of thyme (or rosemary or garlic etc), completely covered with a good olive oil.