Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Wartime Garden: The Battle With Yields

1943 was a boon year for domestic growing; gardeners and allotmenteers produced one million tons of produce for the national larder. It was the glory year for Dig For Victory but there was a problem with the nation's soil, it was growing weary and diseases were starting to build as early as 1942. The battle against pests and bugs came to the fore in 1944 with the Blitz on Bugs but it hid a growing concern in Whitehall, no matter what was done to the soil at home, yields could decline and if the war continued beyond 1945, Britain would lose the war. We would have been starved off our island. It is in 1944 we start to see the real promotion of chemicals to eradicate pests, boost yields and solve problems. The soil was forgotten. It was the start of our decline into monoculture through a chemical kosh. We are organic at Pig Row and have noticed our soil is tired, it has been reflected in growth rates and this has been exacerbated by a cool spring, blazing summer and then a cold August. August is our harvest month and rather than a flood we are seeing a trickle. We won't even go into our tomato yields this year, we had over 100lbs last year, we're still eating the sauces we made in 2013, this year we barely have enough to fill a cup. We can see this in our wartime beds photographed in 2014:

Gardening problems.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Gammon Pasta Bake

We tend to buy a small roll of smoke gammon every now and again. Most people who buy a roll of gammon from the supermarket do so at Christmas and tend to boil it, and then eat for Sunday lunch and then consume the rest of the pickings on sandwiches over the following days. Let's face it, if you get a small cut of meat you can make it go further. Off one small gammon roll we cut three steaks for a main meal, thick bacon for breakfast and this little tasty dish with all the off cuts. It's also cheaper than bacon, stretches further and isn't just for Christmas.

How to make a smoked gammon bake #food

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