Some of you might already know that Plant Based Alchemy have purchased ten acres of land in Hebron, West Wales. We started working the land last Winter but we haven’t wanted to rush into making big decisions about where things are going to go until we have seen a full circle of seasons. I was itching to get started on a veg patch, especially as I have been growing for the last six years on an allotment, so it felt strange to have so much land and to be growing much less! So when the local eco-village asked if I wanted to be part of a group organic potato seed order from Skea, it was the perfect excuse to get started on the veg patch.
I wanted to develop something that was easy to establish,not too permanent and I wanted to develop it no-dig. I had an abundance of well-rotted horse manure, as the land was previously used for breeding Welsh Mountain Ponies and the manure heap came with the land so this was perfect for no-dig beds.
While pondering and day dreaming an idea came to me – veg boxes!!! No not producing them but using the large boxes they use to store bananas and apples in supermarkets. This idea would also mean I am helping to reuse the waste from supermarkets, the down side is I would have to go to supermarkets. So every trip into town I would pull up outside the supermarkets, grab a large trolley, go inside and fill it with empty boxes from their grocery section and leave. Hopefully not knocking anyone over with my trolley piled high with boxes and not attracting too much attention from the security guard on the way out!!
I started the beds by roughly trimming the grass and simply placing the boxes straight onto the grass. I then filled the boxes about two thirds of the way with compost.
I planted two potatoes to a bed and as this was my first planting of crops on the land it was very, very exciting!!! My grandfather always used to say it was good luck to plant your potatoes on Good Friday but this year I broke tradition and planted them on my birthday, the 12th of April.
I topped up the boxes with even more compost and surrounded the area with weed suppressant material and held it down by using large slumps of spruce; one advantage of having conifer woodland.
I now have three beds planted with 103 potatoes; British Queen, Robinta and Cara. I just have to hope that blight doesn’t appear, as I didn’t have to worry about this when growing up North but everyone talks about decimation of crops in this area..eekk!!
I am so excited about my new beds and even more excited about the future veg patch!
We eat a lot of potatoes in our household; boiled, mashed, roasted, chipped, wedges, on top of pasta bakes, rosti the list goes on. So while we dream of our future potatoes I will leave you with a recent Plant Based Alchemy Potato Creation…
Potato Omelette – Vegan and Gluten Free
1 large potato grated
1 large mushroom cut into small chunks
2 large spinach leaves, finely sliced
2 tbsps. sweetcorn
3 tsp. cornflour
1 heaped tsp. veg stock powder
2 tsp. yeast flakes
½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cider vinegar
1 heaped tsp. dried sage
125ml non-dairy milk
1 tbsp. coconut oil
I cook my omelettes in a 9 ½ inch, cast iron pan so you might have to adjust the cooking instructions to suit your pan.
Place the coconut oil in your pan and leave on full heat while you prepare the ingredients.
Add the grated potato, mushroom chunks, sliced spinach and sweetcorn into a mixing bowl.
In a separate container add the cornflour, veg stock powder, yeast flakes, baking powder, cider vinegar and dried sage. Then pour on the dairy-free milk and give it a good stir so it has all blended together well and there are no lumps.
Pour this liquid into your mixing bowl and dive in with your hands to mix it all around and combine the liquid with the vegetables.
Your pan should now be hot, so if you are using a pan with a handle that gets hot remember to use a glove or tea towel when moving and using the handle.
Gently place all of the ingredients out of the mixing bowl into the middle of the pan.
Then spread it all out until it’s about ½ an inch thick and press it down with the spatula to release all of the liquid and help it bind together.
Continue to press with a spatula to aid the binding. Once the edges have started to lift and you can slip a spatula underneath, loosen all areas from the pan and flip it over.
Once you have flipped it over it is sometimes easier to split the omelette either in half or into quarters. Once the other side is golden, serve it up. It makes the prefect lunch with a green salad and mustard…Enjoy!