June at Ravenscraig
Our Sessional Worker Jackie talks about what went on in June at Ravenscraig Walled Garden in her latest blog including some events.
June has been a busy month at Ravenscraig. Our volunteer sessions are back up and running and we have welcomed a number of new volunteers to our team. Everything is growing at full strength as we pass the longest day of the year, with the walled garden looking lush and green.
We’ve also had our first visitors of the year to the site. At the end of May, we held a workshop ‘Grow your own herbs’, we also had a Climate Friendly Gardening event where we discussed the principles we follow at Ravenscraig. There will be more workshops to come this year, keep an eye on our website for more information as booking is essential to ensure that we are following current guidelines.
In the orchard the fruit continues to develop on the trees, it looks like we’ll have a good harvest of apples and pears this year. As I noted last month, the plums have been hit by greenfly again this year and sadly there are only a few plums growing on the trees. However, the hazelnut and cobnut trees are doing really well, with the ‘Red Cracker’ hazelnut looking vibrant at the moment. Our medlar has been covered in the waxy petalled flowers that it grows; we’ll soon see if the fruit will develop after these.
Our wildlife border looks fantastic – most of the plants and flowers are in full bloom and there are insects and bees buzzing around all day. The viper’s bugloss and mullein are particularly attractive to bees and butterflies and the tall stems are eye catching with their colourful flowers.
Our veg beds are filling up nicely. We’ve planted out courgettes and squash, and the potatoes, cabbages, and broad beans are growing well in the raised beds. The garlic looks like it’s almost ready to start being harvested. At this time of year ‘fresh’ or ‘wet’ garlic is the name for the newly harvested bulbs. They tend to be a little milder at this stage and can be used raw or cooked. You can then dry out the garlic bulbs by hanging them in an airy place and they will store for several months if they stay dry. When dry the flavour is stronger and more intense.
This month’s recipe looks forward to a bumper harvest of broad beans. These beans (also known as fava beans) are versatile and delicious. This dip can be scooped up with pitta bread or vegetable sticks or used in a sandwich or on toast. Try different spices for some variations.
Broad bean dip
1kg broad beans (in their pods)
2 garlic cloves (fresh, new season garlic is ideal)
2 tsp ground cumin
1tbsp lemon juice
2-3tbsp olive oil
A handful of fresh coriander or parsley, chopped
A pinch of paprika
Salt and pepper
First of all, take the broad beans out of their pods and cook in boiling water for just 2-3 minutes. Run them under the cold tap and the pop them out of the grey skins by making a small tear and squeezing gently. This leaves you with the bright green beans to use in the dip.
Put the beans, garlic, cumin, lemon juice, herbs and olive oil in a food processor and pulse a few times to mix. Keep some texture so that the dip is not completely smooth. Alternatively, you can use a hand blender to do this, or a potato masher. Season to taste with salt and pepper and then transfer to a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with the paprika. Dig in with pitta breads or veg sticks!|