Tendrils: Wild strawberries

Hello! Welcome to Tendrils. We’ve had some proper rain here at last. The wild strawberries are flowering and beginning to fruit in the fruit garden, which is starting to look very lush. There’s some clover competing with the wild strawberries for ground cover space; I’m letting that one play out for the moment (although I’m still weeding out the yarrow that tried to take over). Of course, the wet weather does mean the media can start publishing their annual Slugpocalypse stories. The Metro has started with an invasion of sex-mad Spanish slugs that can only be stopped with beer. Apparently home brew is best.

Personally, I am much more intrigued by a story from The Planthunter, from dunny lane to secret garden, which describes the rehabilitiation of narrow alleys built to allow ‘night soil’ collectors do their work.

Great British Chefs have a lovely photo story about the eagerly-awaited Jersey Royal potato harvest. (And did you ever read my potato joke?)

And whilst we’re on agrictulture, the first new commercial plantings of rice are being make in Fukushima, after the nuclear disaster in 2011. No rice grown in the village has shown levels of radioactivity exceeding the safety standard since experimental rice planting began in 2012, but the farmers will still conduct radiation tests before shipping their rice for sale.

We’re all pro-bees these days, and ‘pollinator friendly’ is a big marketing tool for plants. Personally I think that once marketing gets a hold of anything, the benefits largely go out of the window, and a new paper – Ornamental plants on sale to the public are a significant source of pesticide residues with implications for the health of pollinating insect – tells us that the ‘pollinator friendly’ plants we buy may well be drenched with pollinator unfriendly pesticides. It’s pretty easy to check a list of pollinator friendly plants and then grow them from seed, so let’s all do that instead until retailers can get their act together 🙂

Jekka McVicar is erudite (as ever) on the history of celery leaf (AKA ParCel) and why people with peanut allergies should avoid ingesting celery seeds.

The Botanist explain that you freeze edible blossom for use later in the year – as long as you want it for flavour, not for its looks.

The New York Times call garlic mustard evil, invasive, delicious but it’s a native in Europe so we can just call it delicious.

And I already knew that you eat rhubarb flowers if you prepare them properly. I haven’t yet got my rhubarb plantation sorted out, so this is knowledge I’m squirreling away for future use, but if you’ve got plenty of rhubarb flowers to remove then you can try a rhubarb flower stir fry recipe.

That’s it for Tendrils this week. Be good and eat your greens, and I’ll be back with another big helping next week 🙂

Register to vote

It’s your last chance to register to vote in the UK general election – the deadline for registration is 11:59pm on 22 May. You don’t need to make up your mind yet who to vote for, but you do need to register now to avoid missing out on having your say.