Editor Ruth Hayes is self-isolating and very thankful to have the garden to escape to in these most strange of time. Here she makes the most of a garden invader

I was going to write about the therapeutic properties of weeding and how it’s a great way of letting your mind run clear and helping you sort things out in your head.

It’s also the best way of helping you get rid of bad feelings and frustrations built up during the day. Annoyed with someone/about something? Take it out on a weed!

Anyway, in a way, I am still talking about weeding but changing tack and swinging round to the garden’s edible ‘unwanteds’.

A few years ago a former colleague gave me a couple of plants she said were wild garlic. These I planted with great excitement as I always think of this plant as the harbinger of spring and was looking forward to a bed of broad-leaved loveliness topped of with a froth of white flowers.

wild garlic, foraging, pesto, pasta, recipe

A little goes a long way – a lot goes even further!

Hah! If only! What my friend – who I think may actually have been bearing a grudge! – actually gave me were two plants of Allium triquetum or three-cornered leek, an alarmingly rampant plant that will invade entire borders given a chance.

Over the past couple of years it has spread and spread and every year I try and dig it out, to no avail.

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I was about to give it another bashing when the thought occurred that it might just be edible – a member of the allium family after all. It is, so I checked the store cupboard for the necessary ingredients, set about harvesting and used it to make wild garlic pesto.

It is so, so easy and there are loads of recipes online. All you need is wild garlic leaves, lemon juice, nuts and parmesan cheese. Blend them all together in a food processor, slowly pouring in some olive or rapeseed oil until you get the required consistency and season to your taste.

olive oil, pesto, homemade, wild garlic, foraging, food processor

The final step is trickling in the oil until you get the right consistency

Then bottle up in clean jam jars and store in the fridge for a couple of weeks.

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Always wash your leaves before you use them and it is important to remember that if you go foraging in the wild, always, always make sure you know what you are picking if it is for cooking purposes. If in doubt, leave it alone.

washing, foraging, wild garlic, spring recipes, easy

Always wash leaves before using them in cooking

You must tread carefully, never trespass on private land and only pick as many leaves as you need, never uprooting entire plants.

Wild garlic pesto is a pretty pungent food source with a massive, massive taste and, as such, is also a vital aid to social distancing in these difficult times!

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News in brief

The RSPB has closed all its nature reserves until further notice in response to the Coronavirus emergency.

However, over the coming weeks it will be sharing loads of ideas online about enjoying nature safely.

Its first initiative is a ‘breakfast birdwatch’ taking place Mondays to Friday between 8am and 9am.

RSPB spokesman Oliver Lurie said: “We thought this is a great thing to do at a time when many of us would have been commuting to work, doing the school run, or otherwise unable to enjoy the splendour of nature, from the safety of our homes.

“Using #BreakfastBirdwatch  on social media, we hope to create a friendly, supportive and engaged community who are able to share what they can see in their gardens, on their balconies, rooftops and spaces from their own homes, all the while keeping within government guidelines in relation to Covid-19.”

He added: “With the arrival of spring, there is so much incredible nature returning, blooming, growing and thriving outside, and while we are in the midst of an unparalleled crisis, we must not forget the power of nature, including how watching nature can be so positive for our mental health and wellbeing.”

 

If there’s something you would like me to talk about, just email us at. amateurgardening@ti-media.com. And don’t forget to let us know what you are doing and how you are coping; send us your thoughts and pictures and we will put them online and in the magazine. You can purchase individual copies of Amateur Gardening magazine without having to leave your home simply go to https://www.magazinesdirect.com/single-issue/ or of course you can take out a subscription and never miss an issue! Subscribe here.

Stay safe everyone out there and come back to the blog for more advice over the coming days and weeks.