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Winter activity

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It felt like the winter was never going to end this year. Snow seemed to be the default weather. But that hasn’t stopped Tom and Raul being busy in the garden.

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Tom's new steed

On Tom’s new Christiana bike they picked up some of the waste produce from London Fields Brewery.

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They then dug deep trenches in each of the beds and created a layer cake of hops and green manure to overwinter.

IMG_1005The compost bin is thriving!

Rhubarb and ginger jam

The allotment is bursting with rhubarb at the moment!

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So this weekend (one of the hottest this year) I decided to tackle the glut and make some jam.

Ingredients-
1.5kg rhubarb chopped into 2inch bits
1.5kg granulated sugar
75g crystallised ginger chopped
75g root ginger grated
2 sachets of pectin*
1 lemon Zest and juice

Equipment-
Jam pan or heavy bottomed pan
7x 200ml jars
Wax discs
Saucer in freezer

*Rhubarb has very little pectin which is the naturally occurring setting agent that occurs in some fruit. Therefore you need to add pectin to this mixture to help the jam set. You can buy pectin in good supermarkets.

Mix the ingredients together in a plastic or glass bowl. Cover and leave to stand overnight.

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Leaving the mixture over night allows the sugar to dissolve and draws the juice out of the rhubarb. Stirring the mixture occasionally helps quicken the process.

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The following morning pop a saucer into the freezer. Transfer the mixture to a jam pam or heavy bottomed pan. Bring the mixture slowly to boil and then fast boil for 15 mins.

Next test the jam to see if it has set. To do this take the saucer out of the freezer and drop a teaspoon of jam onto the plate. Let the jam cool for 30 seconds and then push the jam with your finger. If it is at setting point the jam should wrinkle under your finger pressure. If it doesn’t allow the jam to boil a few minutes longer and then try the saucer test again.

Once at setting point allow the jam to cool slightly before transferring to sterilised jars, placing wax discs on the surface of the jam before securing the lid. Enjoy! Next I want to tackle the beetroot glut! Chutney or pickle? Chutney or pickle?

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Raul’s structural style

The garden is beginning to sprout some architectural wonders in the name of beans thanks to Raul!

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This one has to be the most ambitious yet making use of the many canes we have around the plot and an old rusty band.

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Can’t wait to see what structure Raul comes up with next!

In the spirit of community!

Since starting this blog we’ve noticed there are community gardens a plenty across Hackney and beyond! A new local initiative hasĀ  has sprung up recently : E5roots. They have a similar motivation as us: for neighbours to grow food together.

It’s lovely to hear of other intiatives going on and to share experiences. And not just here in Hackney! Jean in Brisbane Australia (hi Jean!) came across our blog and got in touch. She has her own allotment in Brisbane but is active in her community garden too – Beelarong Community Farm in Brisbane, Australia.