This weekend I made my first ever loaf of bread! I have made focaccia and flat breads but never a proper loaf. Home-made bread always tastes so fresh and it was very rewarding to see it rise in the oven to something that looked like a real loaf! :-) This time I followed a recipe to the letter for a white loaf but I think in the future I might start to experiment with different flavours and flour combinations. It is amazing that this loaf was made from only three ingredients; strong bread flour, yeast and sunflower oil. The key to the crispy outside and moist inside was a tray of hot water in the bottom of the oven that generated steam whilst the loaf cooked. This was very effective and something I will definitely do again.
The salad plants are also doing well; they have survived being transplanted last week. I have found that they are becoming more and more thirsty (which is not surprising considering they are growing fast and the weather has been so warm).
The seeds I have planted over the last few weeks are germinating well and making the most of the warm, sunny weather we have been experiencing. We have had temperature as high as 18 degrees over the last few days and it really feels like spring has settled in. The broad beans and mange tout seeds that were planted in toilet rolls filled with coir last week are coming on nicely and should be going in to the soil in the next few weeks. Planting seeds in to empty toilet rolls filled with compost proved to be very productive last year. The rolls help to absorb moisture so you have to water less often, you don't need to use as many plastic pots and best of all you can plant the seedling in to the ground still in their tube; protecting the roots from damage. All round this is a very easy way to recycle and the cardboard will bio-degrade over time to enhance the structure of the soil in your flowers beds. This technique seems to work particularly well with beans, peas, climbing plants, butternut squashes and courgettes. We now collect toilet rolls all year round with a plastic bag on the back of the bathroom door.
The ground is still pretty empty of vegetables and salad (although they are coming on) but some of the herbs are really doing well. We have sage, chives, oregano, thyme and even parsley that has overwintered on the patio.