Chris Whitehouse

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since Jun 01, 2018
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Recent posts by Chris Whitehouse

I have since persuaded the local handyman aka Hubbie to build me a Walk solar dehydrator and am quite pleased with the results for drying leaves, and apple rings but have had little success with anything very juicy like tomatoes or plums. The difficulty is a very humid climate (we had a huge excess of rain this summer) and restricted sunlight window. We have a lot of trees around and are also on the east side of a hill so lose the sun quite early even in summer.

I think I have a better location to try next year and 🤞more sun will help, so will keep experimenting. It’s all good fun! Can I ask what sort of thickness of squash or courgettes has anyone tried for drying? And has anyone dried green beans?
3 months ago
Showing my ignorance, as amaranth is not common here in the uk, other than as ornamental, but how do you use the seeds?

And I have something like it called callaloo (but it’s just pale green), used I think in the West Indies as a vegetable. Has anyone tried that with your lovely amaranth?
Hi Nancy, can you give some tips on how you juiced your berries please?
5 months ago
I hold my thumb against the knuckle where the tomato stem meets the truss stem, and then gently lift the tomato against it. If the fruit separates easily at the knuckle then it’s good to harvest, otherwise I tend to leave it a while longer. I tend to pick little and often, then keep the fruit on a tray in the house until I am ready to use it.

Top tip, never keep in the fridge, you lose the flavour.

Second top tip, any unripe fruit left that you have to save from the frost, keep it in a bowl with a ripe apple or banana to ripen up. They give off ethylene gas which ripens them quickly - that’s what they do in commercial production, though I don’t suppose they use ripe apples!

And anything left over green in the end can still be added to soups, stews etc, just not quite the same flavour.

Happy harvesting everyone!



Hi, not sure if this is the best forum to pose my question! Or whether it would be better to start a new thread. Anyway here goes….

My problem is a plague of young pheasants late summer into autumn until the shooting season starts. They love all the overwintering crops I try to grow so if I don’t fence them off I don’t get any!  At the moment I use a selection of plastic wire fencing with bamboo canes to support it, not easy to put up, not very attractive or environment friendly.

I have been wondering about trying to create moveable hurdles using hazel or willow, probably about 4ft by 2 ft that could be easily pushed into the ground and moved as needed. Along the lines of the willow obelisk in the first video above, but in the form of a rectangle. My question is would this structure be rigid enough as unlike an obelisk it wouldn’t have the inbuilt rigidity of the circle. I would want to minimise the number of horizontal ties so as to get maximum light through.

Has anyone tried anything like this? Any comments welcomed.
1 year ago
I can’t believe no one has mentioned risotto - my absolute favourite is https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/butternut-squash-sage-risotto. Very simple and very lovely, mouth is watering at the thought of it!
1 year ago
Thought I would share my daughters experience. She lives in an old cottage with a very tiny courtyard style garden in a town, no car access. She leaves garden waste to mulch what beds she has, but uses Bokashi bins for all food waste. These she keeps in the kitchen, together theyre about the size of a large trash bin. There is no smell and it seems to cope with their needs (4 in the house). Plus the addition of the compost to the garden over the past couple of years improved the soil hugely. Just shows what can be done in an urban setting.
1 year ago
Someone suggested using peat instead of coir - please please DONT. Peat is not a sustainable resource while coir is a waste stream from coconut harvesting. Here in the uk we are finally banning peat from manufactured seed/potting composts. We have lost a huge amount of peat bogs in recent times and that has wasted a valuable carbon sink.
Some fantastic info here - many thanks for the tip on Jerusalem artichokes, will give them a try. I have always been put off by the gastric tales of disaster!

Another perennial I had is purple tree collards, but it only survived a couple of years. My fault I think as I kept moving it while I reorganised my veg beds, and didn’t stake it properly. Also the cabbage white butterflies loved it.😢  We did manage a few meals from it and it was very tasty so I am not giving up yet. Cuttings seem easy to strike so 🤞

I also have some hablitzia which does well, but not so keen on that.
Echo everything mentioned above. Solomon's Seal is also supposed to be good, a bit like hosta, haven't tried it yet, but have grown it as an ornamental for years so maybe this spring....

my take on perennials is they are never going to be the mainstay of your diet, but worth having to add variety and diversity to meals. and if you don't have to put a lot of effort in to grow them so much the better. plus the satisfaction of pulling something straight from the garden into the pan.

btw someone mentioned cooking sorrel in water. this isn't necessary - I just dry fry it in a pan and it soon breaks down just like spinach as it has so much water in it.  I pass it through a sieve to tale out any stringy bits, and add it to mayo for a wonderful sauce for fish. 🙂