July Jam

July is drawing to a close and pans of chutneys and pickles are simmering away in the kitchen as we feverishly preserve all our allotment produce (yes, even Ade has donned the pinny for his annual beetroot pickling fiesta), the fridge is groaning with marrows and courgettes of all colours and sizes (I’m sure they’re multiplying in there), and we’re readying ourselves for the tomato glut which will be upon us before you can say “ketchup!”

So while we’re slaving away over a hot stove, here’s a little round-up of all that’s good and wholesome right now…


The Lost Gardens of Manchester exhibit is in full swing at Manchester Art Gallery. Pull up a deckchair to listen to the birdsong while admiring the floral displays and learning about Manchester’s gardening heritage. We saw the installation a couple of weeks ago when we were in town for a friend’s wedding, and followed our gallery visit with lunch at The Botanist, appropriately enough, where we enjoyed a deli board to die for and the best Scotch Eggs ever!

This month, the award for the freakiest veg from our allotment goes to this strange root vegetable/sea creature hybrid: The Carroctopus. Can anyone do better?

We’re loving this beautiful bumble bee print from artist Catherine Pape, and while we’re talking bees, don’t forget to sign this petition to halt the use of bee-harming ‘neonic’ pesticides on crops in the UK.

This recently opened to the public in King’s Cross and we want one in our back garden. Can you imagine!

The Great British Bake Off will be making a well-kneaded return to our TV screens next week (hurrah!) and on the subject of baking, I’ll be doing this to one of our home-grown marrows any day now. Just you try and stop me.

There’ll be all sorts of events happening up and down the country for National Allotment Week  in the UK next month from a pop-up allotment in Plymouth to a Summer Vegetable Weekend at Barnsdale Gardens. What are your plans?

See you in August!