A new greenhouse with an electric supply has allowed us to trial growing lemongrass plants in some NFT and Aeroponic hydroponic systems.
We now have Lemongrass plants in a Nutriculture NFT hydroponic grow tank, some Fennel in a smaller NFT system and some ‘mother’ lemongrass plants in an aeroponics tank.
I have no idea if Fennel will grow successfully in a pot let alone in a hydroponic system but am giving it a go. I will hopefully trail some in the same system but outside as ‘bolting’ might be an issue for the fennel plants if they are kept in a greenhouse.
I also wanted to trial some hydroponic Celeriac which will definitely need to be outside but have possibly left it too late for getting seeds started for this growing season.
The bigger lemongrass plants sat in the NFT system have started to put roots beyond the pot and onto the spreader mat.
The Lemongrass in the aeroponics system has been in for a week now and the root growth through the net pots is most impressive.
Two attacks over three days have seen our much loved hens have suffered badly at the hands of one or more foxes.
On both occasions, the attacks were made early evening well before dusk. Whilst the hens have enjoyed spending the days roaming around the woodland the down side is not being able to offer them 100% protection before they go indoors to roost and once Mr fox has worked this out there is very little we can do.
Our little flock has been devastated with just a handful of old girls remaining who, I suspect, had already gone to bed.
I really can’t face clearing up such a scene again so, unless we can find a cast iron method of protecting them, I think that is it. Very sad.
The past few days have taken place in a large cloud of sawdust as we try and catch up on a few bespoke orders for BIG chunky chopping boards.
Thick milled planks are cut to best make use of their individual natural grain patterns. All boards are marked out by hand and consequently no two boards are ever the same.
Our boards grace many a TV studio kitchen and are also used in photo shoots for an ever increasing amount of in house and retail food magazines.
Interestingly, when our chunky chopping boards leave Lancashire and travel down the motorway, somewhere around Watford they become ‘Rustic Serving Platters’ and the price quadruples!
As the trend for rustic weddings has increased so has the demand from caterers and wedding planners (professional or DIY) for these boards. Subject to availability (and enough notice) we also do log rings and slices for cake stands.
For a small additional fee, we can also personalise a board with a text message or logo burnt into the edge or surface of the board.
We can’t do ‘urgent’. We may have something suitable already in stock but if not it takes time to locate suitable logs and get them transported and milled. It then takes at least two years for the milled boards to be air dried sufficiently before they are ready for turning into our lovely rustic serving boards.
Yesterday we finally got around to making our very first homemade pizza in the wood fire oven.
Liam made 1kg of pizza dough and a delicious (secret recipe) tomato sauce and so our first pizza trials began.
The oven was lit with some dry brash and a few sticks to warm it up before it was given a heaped load of mixed hardwood wood chunks available from www.woodchunks.co.uk
The wood chunks worked very well and got it up to a steady 300 degrees Centigrade in short order. They quickly turned to glowing embers but, unlike big logs, they were much more maneuverable inside the oven and could be banked up around the edges with ease.
The oven temperature was much more stable than I expected and it was not as difficult to assess and adjust than I had expected.
The base on the first pizza was too thick but that was easily rectified and we quickly got some first class results.
We still need to work on a stand and get a proper prep table sorted out as I don’t think an old cupboard door balanced on the forklift will meet all the hygiene standards.
With the small bit of left over dough we made a few mini ‘soup loaves’ in tiny bread tins. Lovely!