We collected nasturtium pods last Wednesday at The Garden House. There were thousands, and as we tried to collect them, we managed to drop even more onto the ground, ready to sow themselves in the earth and grow into even more nasturtiums next year. They come in these cool little groups of three which snap apart. You can save the seeds and dry them out to plant next year, or you can eat them.
You can eat the pods on their own straight off the plant and it's a bit like wasabi in crunchy form. Sort of enjoyable, but with a real kick after a couple of seconds. Another way of eating them is by turning them into what are commonly known as "poor man's capers".
Yes, you can pickle nasturtium pods. Simply rinse then soak overnight in brine to take the spicy edge off. Then pickle in a sterilised jar with white wine vinegar and some spices. I used a bay leaf and some pink peppercorns. Keep them in a cool dark place for a few weeks then use as you would capers. Delicious.
You may already have heard of the Do Lectures; inspiring talks from people who are changing the world. There is a great selection of videos available online at http://www.dolectures.com including a fab talk from Colin Tudge explaining how we can easily grow enough food for everyone and another by Peter Segger talking about soil.
The lecture that Alice Holden gave on organic farming has evolved into a book, one of 5 released this year under the Do Books brand, and Do Grow gives guidance on how to get started growing your own food.
The author offers advice on how to keep a plot healthy and productive as well as reminding us of the benefit that physical, repetitive work can have on our bodies and minds. Alice has spent her life working on growing spaces of varying sizes, from kitchen gardens to commercial farms, so she is perfectly placed to share her wisdom and help us to grow our own whatever time and space limitations may be holding us back. She guides the reader through the importance of working with nature, breaking down the barriers between us and where our food is produced.
With the beautiful photos and illustrations, the book will inspire the reader to get straight on and grow. It’s packed full of useful instructions, focusing on just 10 groups of crops featured in order of “value for space, ease of growth and intensity of flavour when fresh”. Information is provided on sowing, planting, harvesting, propagating and cooking, covering the whole journey from plot to plate, and is crowded with Alice’s stories of the farms she’s worked on and the people she’s got to know.
Do Grow is perfect for a beginner or someone who has been growing veg for a while but wants to learn a bit more about organic gardening. One of my favourite things about this book is the fairly small size. It fit nicely in my handbag and meant I could easily carry it around and read it on the go in the laundrette, on the bus, whenever I had 10 minutes to spare.
Do Grow is available to buy from What You Sow, and if you use the code “GOODREADS” at the checkout you can have 20% off Do Grow, or indeed any of our other books.
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