Caught by the River

Allotment Watch: April

Nina Walsh | 19th April 2011

by Nina Walsh

Some people believe a geomagnetic shift in the planet is responsible for the millions of dead fish currently washing up on the shores of America and New Zealand. Some suspect that the huge ionospheric heaters, built in the name of defence to wipe out sonar communications and missile navigation, are responsible for the thousands of birds and bees falling dead from the skies all over the globe. Whatever the explanation, my brother’s pond has not escaped it’s wrath it seems, as this morning all of his fish were found floating on the surface. There could, of course, be a slightly more plausible explanation such as an oxygen crisis or water pollution. However, it doesn’t help my lack of frog spawn situation at the plot and I can’t take the risk of contaminating my pond so will unfortunately have to look elsewhere. On a positive note, Mr B has built a hedgehog house a few yards from my pond. At least I hope it’s positive because either he is getting into the spirit of the whole ecosystem thing and helping rid the plot of slugs or he is waging a war against my frogs as I do believe hedgehogs are also a natural frog predator. Hmmmm…….surely not?

After a pretty rough couple of weeks with a chest and sinus infection my mood was lifted considerably today with a brief visit to the plot. Not only did I manage to fill a jar full of healthy frogs spawn but the tulips planted in the garden bower have at last decided to show off their psychedelic blooms and after waiting patiently for three years, I have my first edible asparagus! The best kind of medicine…

Wild Garlic and Walnut Pesto

Along with stinging nettles, these wonderful flavoursome leaves are one of the first wild foods of the year that we can harvest free of charge! Found in moist, wooded areas they are easily identified by their pungent garlicy aroma. To make this delicious pesto is so simple and takes only about 10 minutes (plus a leisurely ramble in the woods).


300g of wild garlic leaves
200g toasted walnuts
1 small leek
150g fresh grated Parmesan or strong Cheddar
Olive or sunflower oil
Salt & pepper


Wash the wild garlic leaves and remove any tough stalks.
Clean and slice the leek.
Toast the walnuts in the oven for about 6 minutes.
Now put all of this into a food processor with a good slug of oil and press play!
Grate the cheese and fold it into the mixture, topping up the oil until you have the right consistency.
Season with salt and pepper to taste and Hey Pesto! (sorry)
This recipe will make about 6 jam jars full and don’t forget to sterilise the jars first by warming them in the oven and top up with more oil until the pesto is completely covered before putting the lid on.


Mrs Bun x

Read Nina’s previous columns here