Now you can Subscribe using RSS

Submit your Email

27 Aug 2014

Copying our Neighbour - Cucumbers

A few months ago I saw our Italian neighbour planting cucumber seeds directly into the soil. He rotivated the area, put down a load of compost and spent ages preparing the ground. I copied him but without the preparation and  planted a row of cucumber seeds. We have had about 50 cucumbers so far, mostly short and fat ones with very bitter skin but once you peel them they are delicious. We have used a lot for juicing and given many away to colleagues, neighbours. friends.

Does anyone know if the bitter skin is caused by not growing them properly or is it the variety?

Chicken wrap with home grown cucumber and lettuce

Halloumi with coriander, lime and chilli dressed cucumber

Ulrike's Cauliflower

Despite not giving the allotment as much love as it deserves recently (I am currently 8 months pregnant with twins), we have managed to salvage a surprising amount of fruit and vegetables from amongst the weeds.

A few gifts from kind neighbours have also led to some delicious plates of food.

80-something year old Ulrike came to introduce herself to me, saw the state of our garden and gave me a beautiful cauliflower which I turned into a kind of kedgeree. She has had her allotment for over 30 years.

Most of the greenery is weeds. Weep. 

Recipe: Steam cauliflower. Meanwhile, fry an onion and clove of garlic, fresh ginger, add some streaky bacon to to the pan. Add cumin, coriander, turmeric, curry powder and fry for a while longer. Once the onions are soft chuck in a tin of chickpeas, the steamed cauliflower, fresh parsley and stick a boiled egg on top!

18 Aug 2014

How to get an Allotment/ Community Garden in Zurich

Getting an allotment in Zurich is not as challenging as you may have heard. Similarly to looking for housing, there are rumours that you get put on a waiting list for years before a chance to get one comes up, then you are in competition with hundreds of others. Our experience was the total opposite. I had a look on the Zurich city portal for allotments (Familiengärtner-Portal für die Gartenstadt Zürich), filled out a form then got a call a few days later to go and take a look at a few gardens. We had a pick from about five different ones.

There is a list of different areas where the gardens are (Vereine) and you just choose the one closest to you. Ours is in Wiedikon, along the aptly named Panoramaweg with beautiful views over the whole city. It is a short 10 minute tram ride from Enge on the number 13.

It costs about CHF 400 per year to rent the plot which you pay directly to the gardening association. However, you buy the shed/ hut on the land that you rent to the outgoing owner. The sheds range in price from about CHF 100 for a wooden shack and no tools to a maximum of CHF 5000. Some of the sheds have solar paneling, pizza ovens, a decking area etc. 

Our place is an immaculately kept, pretty old, 2 room shed with a dining room and kitchen area. There is no electricity or running water but we have a small cooker connected to a gas canister. There are taps with running water outside the gardens which you share between your neighbours. Our garden has a clever irrigation system with a pipe running underneath the ground so we can fill up a huge tub for watering down that end. 

We also took over all the tools, a generator, various power tools, cutlery and furniture from the previous tenant. The price was somewhere in the middle of the range. 

There seems to be a generational change within the association with many older people unable to look after their gardens giving them up. This year out of the 500 in our area, there were 77 change-overs. We took ours over from an Italian man in his eighties who had had it for about 30 years.

If you need any help signing up for an allotment or have any questions, feel free to get in touch via the comments section below. Also, If you know of anyone else keeping a blog about their allotment experience in Switzerland please share it with me - I'd love to see some other ones.

Happy gardening!

28 Jul 2014

Coolbrandz - Switzerland

Coolbrandz is a company that arranges word of mouth campaigns for brands entering the Swiss market. I have been product testing for them for a while now and really have to applaud how they work. They run campaigns in English, German, French and Italian, essentially reaching a huge target market for the brands that choose to work with them. In exchange for receiving the products to test, coolbranders are expected to share their experience via social media, blog posts and word of mouth.

22 Jul 2014

Scandinavian Inspired Wedding Quilt

I made this quilt for my Polish friend Monika who got married earlier this year. It took a while but I was happy with how it looked in the end! Fabric from one of my favourite online shops (who do deliver to Switzerland), Fabric Rehab

Piccolo Vegs for Pots

Piccolo Vegs for Pots is a small Italian seed company near Venice that sells seeds specifically cultivated for container gardening. The seeds come in beautiful, simple packaging and a wide range of unusual varieties. I bought a load of them and often include  as a little gift when sending greetings cards to friends.

We have had our first success with BACIO DI SATANA chilli peppers (Satan's kiss).

Hot pepper variety from italian region Abruzzo, where is also called Ciliegia piccante. Small, rounded fruits, not very hot, become sweeter when cooked. Used as pickling pepper, filled with tuna and anchovies.

French Beans and Cornichons started well but came to a sorry end when we went away for 3 weeks and couldn't water them. Ah!

 Find out more and buy here:

Coprights @ 2016, Blogger Templates Designed By Templateism | Distributed By Blogger Templates20