Green support (395)

by Max Akroyd


An advantage of the Hungry Gap is an enhanced appreciation of anything that fills it. Chances are, that thing will be green, wrongly under-appreciated during the rest of the year and will keep you regular. Exhibit A (above) is a Portuguese kale.

This robust plant has been generously giving up its outer leaves for a week or so now. Coarser and more mustard-y than the couve tronchuda, it’s an excellent addition to curries. The stem, cut into sections, is very edible too: I boil them in the water below the cut leaves, which sit in the steamer above.

Next item under consideration: rhubarb. As a sometime resident of the Rhubarb Triangle, it’s not so much a case of appreciating this harvest more but trying to find new things to do with it… 

I’d already reconciled myself to no coffee next year but the prospect of unadulterated tap water is a bit grim. The water here is ok, but not much fun. So I was pleased to discover this simple recipe and will endeavour to create my own rhubarb juice. Some time this week. When I consider everything that needs doing outside (it unfurls in my mind’s eye like a big swathe of weeds) the prospect of the requisite preserving seems a bit remote.


In fact, if I’d known this morning would consist of:

  1. Discovering more chitted second early potatoes to be planted 
  2. Digging and forking over a ten metre trench to accommodate said spuds
  3. Mowing a large section of rough grass
  4. Mucking out all the animals
  5. Chasing round after an angry, orange-bottomed bee in an attempt to impress another blogger;

Then I’d probably have discovered I had a bad case of jogger’s nipple and retired to my bed. However, if all but 5. could be incorporated into a neat little package of a job, then: no problem! If the product of 3. & 4. can be used in the cultivation of 1. – then I’m completely sold on the concept. Hell, I might even cut the grass in a peculiar triangular pattern to reflect the shape of the vegetable beds below:


Yes I did climb a tree...


All done and dusted. Well apart from actually putting the potatoes into their manure and grass-cutting lined rows. With the distinct possibility of a frost tonight I’ll be spending a lot of the afternoon mulching the more advanced potatoes with straw. It’s all good exercise.

Oh, and the bee. A career in wildlife photography? Glad I’ve got a day job:


Bombus orangus arsus