Last week in the garden, we harvested our last root veg of 2020. These are Oca, the gorgeous little red tubers with the attractive (and edible) clover like foliage which we grow in our perennial veg bed.
Oca is sometimes referred to as one of the “lost crops of the Incas,” because it’s still mostly enjoyed only in a few limited areas, namely South America, Mexico and New Zealand (where it’s called the “New Zealand yam”).
Thought to be one of the oldest crops of the Andean region (tubers were found in early tombs in the area), Oca supplies a rich source of carbohydrates, calcium and iron. It can be eaten raw, but can also be boiled/steamed/baked/grilled/fried. It has a lovely water chestnutty, lemony flavour with a pleasing fresh crunch when eaten raw.
We will have several kilos of them on sale in the Shop this week. Come and give the Oca a try. And if you are enthused, you can save some tubers, store in a cool dry frost free place over winter for planting next year (after the last frosts have gone.)
All our Autumn clearance means that many of our compost bays are very full and in need of turning to move materials from the edge into the hotter inside and crucially to avoid compaction, get air in, and help the composting process of breaking down the varied materials. This provides a nice workout for anyone who would like a little outdoor exercise.
This week, for those who’d prefer a more sedate time, we will also be making up some more willow wreath bases from the willow we have had soaking in our water troughs to keep it nice and flexible. And in another late harvest of 2020, we will strip the last myrtle berries off of our myrtle bush in the herb garden. We will also blend up the leaves of our few remaining basil plants into some home made pesto. For an extra punch in flavour, we might add a few spicey nasturtium leaves too.
Over the next few weeks, Cat is planning to spread her magic weaving skills to us by teaching us how to make some more natural woven Christmas decorations from willow, eucalyptus and cornus stems. If you have any spare cornus cotinus or other coloured stem whippy prunings you could gift us, do drop them in or let us know where you’d like us to pick them up from.
For BPCG at Home, this evening at 6pm, on Wednesday 25th November you can join us for an online Zoom session on Wreath Making with BPCG volunteer Heidi Sternberg. (If you can’t make this one, we are also doing one on Tuesday 1st December at 6pm.) To book onto the online wreath sessions, go here
Pick up a £12 Wreath Kit from the BPCG shop at weekends or of course use your own. Our kits contain a circular wreath base, ribbon, wreath wire, a wreath making guide and ‘a buffet’ selection of ornamental seed heads, flower heads, berries, cones etc. with plenty of ever-greenery.
This coming Thursday 26th November 11am to 1pm, join Jelena Belgrave to learn to make Fermented Beetroot and Horseradish condiment and Pumpkin Kimchi. (If you can’t make this one, Jelena’s second online Fermentation workshop is on Saturday 12th December 1.30pm to 3.30pm.) Jelena has run many wonderful fermentation workshops at the greenhouses over the last few years and is a fund of fermenting wisdom. Her recipes are fantastic! To book, go here
You can also join BPCG volunteer Nicolas Medicamento, aka Doctor Cocktail on Fridays at 6pm to 7.30pm for his online Cocktail Classes always featuring a BPCG ingredient: on November 27th and December 4th. To book go here
A little further ahead, on Tuesday 8th December at 7pm, Alice Vincent, author of the lyrical memoir of a year in her life: Rootbound – Rewilding a Life will be interviewed by Kate. To book, go here
One last thing, we are delighted to have been selected as one of The Co-op’s Local Causes. So if you shop at the Co-op anywhere in the UK, do become a member by joining at https://www.coop.co.uk/