RECIPE FOR PARSLEY SOUP






If you love making home made soups, but get a bit disappointed with the flavour sometimes – then you are going to love this one. I never intended to use this site for recipes but this soup is soooo full of flavour I just had to publish it.
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If I kept it to myself I would be almost doing the entire world a dis-favour. I say almost because you need to be in a climate where you can grow plenty of parsley. If you are buying parsley from the supermarket, the quantity required can make this soup quite expensive - especially if you make it as often as I do! Even so it will be worth it.
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If I am being honest, I have eaten almost every batch of parsley soup entirely by myself - the very same day! Worse still, one time I didn’t tell the family I made it so that I could scoff the lot. I am so bad, but so is this soup - in a Michael Jackson way of course.

However, my addiction to parsley soup might be due to a peculiar palette. Either way - I LOVE THIS SOUP!

.SERVES 6 - OR JUST ME!

.INGREDIENTS

25g (1 oz) unsalted butter
1 large onion
1 clove of garlic – not absolutely necessary but it does make a difference, plus it’s good for the heart!
3 celery sticks
150g (6 oz) fresh parsley (don't be fooled by the weight - this is a lot of parsley)
4tsp plain flour (for thickening)
900ml (1 1/2 pints) vegetable or chicken stock
Salt and pepper
A heaped tablespoon of double cream
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PREPARATION


Finely chop the onion and garlic and then slice the celery. Chop the parsley roughly, discarding any long or thick stalks.

Gently melt the butter in a large saucepan and as soon as it starts to simmer add the onion, garlic, celery and parsley. Cook until the ingredients have softened, then stir in the flour.

Cook for a further minute or two – stirring the mix at all times - before adding the stock.
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Simmer for 25 minutes, then allow to cool slightly before you purée the mixture with a blender.
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Reheat, add salt and pepper as required, then add the cream before serving in a heated bowl with a sprig of parsley.

Taste test first, then decide whether you should tell anyone else you made it. I hope that you enjoy this recipe for Parsley soup as much as I do.
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HOW DO HIGH NITRATE LEVELS AFFECT FISH HEALTH?




Fish which are kept by enthusiasts are usually held in a closed body of water such as a garden pond or fish tank.

Unfortunately, these relatively small volumes can create something of an ‘un-natural’ environment – often unsustainable without human intervention. This is because toxins from the fish, uneaten fish food and pollution from the general environment can – over time - build up in concentrations which are harmful to your fish’s health. In an open system of water such as the ocean or a river, levels of toxicity can be diluted but the introduction of new or fresh water or they can be absorbed safely by aquatic plants, algae and bacteria as part of their normal metabolic processes.

One of the more problematical toxins that are found within a closed system is nitrate. To be sure whether nitrate levels are toxic to your fish you will need to purchase a nitrate testing kit from your local aquatic specialist. You may need to research the appropriate nitrate level tolerable for your specific fish.

Most popular fish will be happy in nitrate levels less than 100 ppm, however more sensitive species will require a lower level otherwise they may succumb to nitrate poisoning - particularly if levels remain high. The resulting stress will leaves fish more susceptible to disease and inhibits their ability to reproduce. For all intents and purposes levels it best that levels stay below the 50ppm mark.
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SYMPTOMS

Fish with nitrate poisoning will often appear very sluggish. Their gills will be opening and closing rapidly and they will often be found swimming at the surface of the tank ‘gasping’ for air. Occasionally you will be able to notice brown or yellowish discolorations of the gills.
Higher or prolonged exposure to high levels of nitrate will show signs of loss of appetite, fish resting on the bottom, a bent or curled positioning of the body, crooked spine, uncontrolled swimming or swimming in circles, spasms or twitching. Usually at this point the fish is unlikely to survive!

HOW TO REDUCE HIGH NITRATE LEVELS

The first and perhaps the easiest way to reduce nitrate levels is to perform a partial water change of no more than 25%. Make sure that the temperature of the new water is as approximate to the contaminated water as possible and add a suitable dechlorinator if your new water is obtained directly from the mains water supply.

It is advisable as part of your normal maintenance to perform partial water changes once every 2 – 4 weeks..With an aquarium you could consider using a siphon gravel cleaner to perform your water changes as you will be able to remove any natural waste products - uneaten food, fish poop, rotting vegetation – that could be responsible for high nitrate levels from the bottom of the tank at the same time.

Look at the amount of food that you are feeding your fish. Overfeeding is an easy and quick way to spoil your water quality. Always use a good quality food and feed no more than you fish will eat within 60 seconds. If any food is left after feeding – remove it!

Keep your filters in tip top condition by following the manufactures maintenance instructions.Consider adding live plants to your pond/aquarium as a natural way to remove nitrites from the water. However, sickly or dying plants will be contributing to the problem so make sure that they are removed on sight.

Native British Pond Plants

PRIVACY POLICY for www.gardenofeaden.com

At Eaden Horticulture we are committed to protecting and preserving the privacy of our visitors when visiting our site or communicating electronically with us. Our Privacy Policy has been provided and approved by the online solicitors at LegalCentre.co.uk.

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We do occasionally update this Policy so please do return and review this Policy from time to time.

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If you have any questions or queries relating to this Privacy Policy then please contact us at gardenofeaden@googlemail.com

HOW DO HIGH NITRITE LEVELS AFFECT FISH HEALTH?




Fish which are kept by enthusiasts are usually held in a closed body of water such as a garden pond or fish tank.

Unfortunately, these relatively small volumes can create something of an ‘un-natural’ environment – often unsustainable without human intervention. This is because toxins from the fish, uneaten fish food and pollution from the general environment can – over time - build up in concentrations which are harmful to your fishes health.

In an open system of water such as the ocean or a river, levels of toxicity can be diluted but the introduction of new or fresh water or they can be absorbed safely by aquatic plants, algae and bacteria as part of their normal metabolic processes.

One of the more problematical toxins that are found within a closed system is nitrite. To be sure whether nitrite levels are toxic to your fish you will need to purchase a nitrite testing kit from your local aquatic specialist.

You may need to research the appropriate nitrite level tolerable for your specific fish. Most popular fish will be happy in nitrite levels less than 20 ppm, however more sensitive species will require a lower level otherwise they may succumb to nitrite poisoning.

NITRITE – N02

Nitrite is formed when Nitrosomonas sp. bacteria oxidise ammonia. Although it is less toxic than ammonia, elevated levels will still present a threat to fish health. Prolonged exposure at low levels can lead to stress and is often associated with stress-related disease such as bacterial ulcers and fin-rot. At high levels, skin and gill epithelia can be damaged and opportunistic bacteria and parasites may take advantage of stressed fish.

The main danger is from nitrite being actively transported across the gills and into the fish’s bloodstream where it oxidises normal haemoglobin into methemoglobin. Normal haemoglobin picks up oxygen at the gills and transports it to the body tissues where it is exchanged for carbon dioxide. Methemoglobin cannot transport oxygen and therefore - in acute cases - fish will be effectively asphyxiated.
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At low levels of Nitrite concentrations you may find fish rubbing against solid objects. As levels increase fish will become lethargic, but may still swim up to feed. If the fish is suffering from nitrite poisoning, the gills will change from a healthy pinkish/red to a pale tan to dark brown in colour. The fish may also show signs of respiratory distress, i.e gasping at the water surface or hanging around water inlets.

HOW TO REDUCE HIGH NITRITE LEVELS

The first and perhaps the easiest way to reduce nitrite levels is to perform a partial water change of no more than 25%. Make sure that the temperature of the new water is as approximate to the contaminated water as possible and add a suitable dechlorinator if your new water is obtained directly from the mains water supply. It is advisable as part of your normal maintenance to perform partial water changes once every 2 – 4 weeks.
.
With an aquarium you could consider using a siphon gravel cleaner to perform your water changes as you will be able to remove any natural waste products - uneaten food, fish poo, rotting vegetation – that could be responsible for high nitrite levels from the bottom of the tank at the same time.

Look at the amount of food that you are feeding your fish. Overfeeding is an easy and quick way to spoil your water quality. Always use a good quality food and feed no more than you fish will eat within 60 seconds. If any food is left after feeding – remove it!

Keep your filters in tip top condition by following the manufacturer's maintenance instructions.

Consider adding live plants to your pond/aquarium as a natural way to remove nitrites form the water. However, sickly or dying plants will be contributing to the problem so make sure that they are removed on sight.

Native British Pond Plants

HOW TO SOW AND GROW WATERMELON FROM SEED INDOORS





Watermelons have been grown for their deliciously sweet flesh for over 3000 years.
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Believed to have originated in southern Africa, the popularity of this fruit has seen it spread across the globe.
History tells us that by the 10th century AD, watermelons were being cultivated in China, which today is the world's single largest watermelon producer. By the 13th century, Moorish invaders had introduced the fruit to Europe; and, according to John Mariani's The Dictionary of American Food and Drink, 'watermelon' made its first appearance in an English dictionary in 1615.

Direct sowing into the ground is the best way to grow watermelons from seed but for those of us who live in cooler, northern European climates, you will need to start your melon seed off indoors. This gives the resulting seedlings a fighting chance to produce and ripen their fruit in a much shorter growing period.

Sowing Seed Indoors

.Sow the seeds indoors around the middle of March into either 2-3 inch pots or large, modular seed trays. Use good quality loam based compost such as John Innes ‘seed and potting’, and avoid the temptation of using standard seed trays because you will want to disturb the root system as little as possible. You may wish to add a little extra horticultural grit or perlite to you compost mix as this will help with the drainage.

Melon seedlings will require plenty of water to ‘fuel’ their vigorous growth, but you don’t want to attract fungal infections through over-watering. The extra drainage will help to reduce this.

Fill the pots/modules to between half and three quarters full, then using a dibber - or something similar - make a hole in the compost about 1 inch deep – one hole in each container. Now place 2 - 3 melon seeds in each hole, cover with compost and gently water in. To help with germination they will need to be moved to a warm sunny windowsill, preferably above a radiator. Allow the soil to become almost dry before further watering.

After a couple of weeks the seed will begin to show signs of germination. As mentioned before, young melon plants will require plenty of water and nutrition to grow, so feed them regularly with a 50% strength liquid fertilizer. Just make sure that they are never left waterlogged otherwise root damage and fungal infections can occur. At this time you can remove the weakest seedling so that only the strongest remains.

Once the threat of late frosts are over the melon seedlings can be planted outside into their final position but they will need to be hardened off for at least a week or two before hand. They will do best in a sunny, protected position with a slightly acid soil with a pH of between 6.0 and 6.5.

Remember that because of their origins Melons are cold-sensitive so keep an eye on both air and soil temperatures before planting out. They will prefer growing temperatures of between 70° and 80° F, but if cold weather does threaten the young melon plants would do well to have some kind of protection such as a mini poly-tunnel or cloche. If practical, they would benefit from being planted into a temporary cold-frame which could be removed during the heat of the summer.

HOW TO GROW WATERMELON PLANTS FROM SEED OUTDOORS





Watermelons have been grown for their deliciously sweet flesh for over 3000 years. Believed to have originated in southern Africa, the popularity of this fruit has seen it spread across the globe.

History tells us that by the 10th century AD, watermelons were being cultivated in China, which is today the world's single largest watermelon producer. By the 13th century, Moorish invaders had introduced the fruit to Europe; and, according to John Mariani's The Dictionary of American Food and Drink, 'watermelon' made its first appearance in an English dictionary in 1615.

Direct sowing into the ground is the best way to grow watermelons from seed but for those of us how live in cooler, northern European climate you will need to start your watermelon seed off indoors. This gives the resulting seedlings a fighting chance to produce and ripen their fruit in a much shorter growing period.
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Direct Sowing Watermelon Seed Outdoors
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Unless you are prone to particularly cold winters, the most successful best way to grow watermelon plants from seed is to sow them into prepared seed beds where they will remain for the entire production of the crop.

Mound up a small area of rich, well-drained soil about a 12 – 18 inches diameter and plant three to five seeds in the middle of it, two inches apart and about one inch deep. Water in well and after a couple of weeks the seed should be showing signs of germination. Once the seedlings are showing two sets of true leaves, thin out the weaker ones, leaving the two strongest seedlings to continue growing.
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This is a perfect method for areas where the winters are mild but in cooler climates consider planting melon seed through a black plastic mulch. The dark plastic will absorb heat from the sun, warming the soil early. It will also help to conserve moisture during the growing season, controls weeds and makes harvesting a whole lot easier and cleaner.
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WHAT CAUSES POND WATER TO GO FROTHY?




Froth or foam appearing on the surface of pond water will generally sound alarm bells in the heads of most fish keepers, and rightly so. Its unsightly, man-made quality is a clear sign that there is a water quality problem; even though the main body of water can remain clear and the fish appear perfectly healthy.

Even so, frothy or foamy water should always be regarded as a warning sign which – if left unresolved - can lead to a worsening water conditions which will eventually result in health problems for your fish!

Most ponds with a waterfall or fountain have some foam or froth from normal water agitation and this is perfectly natural. However, as soon as the foam begins to accumulate and spread across your pond, it is time to take action.

There are a number of reasons why this foam can form, but the most common is due to an excess of dissolved organic compounds and notably phosphates. These compounds can arrive from a number of sources including overfeeding, a build-up of fish waste, or decaying plant material. They are also likely to indicate rising levels of ammonia's, nitrates and nitrates which at critical levels can become deadly to your fish.
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Phosphates occur naturally in living and decaying plant and animal remains, and as mineralized compounds in soil, rocks, and sediments. Within a pond the most prominent sources of phosphates will be uneaten fish food, decomposing fish, animals and their faeces. In small amounts, phosphorous may not seem a bad thing as it can produce a boost in plankton and algae, enabling fish to grow larger and faster. However, in larger amounts, phosphorous can make aquatic systems so productive that they can choke themselves out!

While rising levels of phosphates may not be an immediate and serious problem in itself, they are usually closely linked to organic compounds which are. The clue is in it how the phosphates have entered the water which - as mentioned before – is through the breakdown of uneaten fish food, decomposing fish, animals and their faeces. This decomposition links directly to the nitrogen cycle where ammonia, nitrite and nitrates are produced, all of which can have a toxic effect on your fish.
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Ammonia
Ammonia is extremely toxic and even relatively low levels pose a threat to fish health. Ammonia is produced directly from the fish via its gills, decomposing fish food, fish waste and detritus, but in a natural environment - such as a lake or river - it would be immediately diluted to harmless levels. However, in the confines of a pond, ammonia levels can rapidly rise to dangerous levels unless it is constantly removed, usually by biological filtration.
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Nitrites
Nitrite (NO2-) is formed when Nitrosomonas sp. bacteria oxidise ammonia. Although it is less toxic than ammonia, elevated levels will still present a threat to fish health. Prolonged exposure at low levels can lead to stress and is often associated with stress-related disease such as bacterial ulcers and fin-rot. At high levels, skin and gill epithelia can be damaged and opportunistic bacteria and parasites may take advantage of stressed fish. The main danger is from nitrite being actively transported across the gills and into the fish’s bloodstream where it oxidises normal haemoglobin into methemoglobin. Normal haemoglobin picks up oxygen at the gills and transports it to the body tissues where it is exchanged for carbon dioxide. Methemoglobin cannot transport oxygen and therefore - in acute cases - fish will be effectively asphyxiated.
.
At low levels of Nitrate concentration you may find fish rubbing against solid objects. As levels increase fish will become lethargic, but may still swim up to feed. If the fish is suffering from nitrite poisoning, the gills will change from a healthy pinkish/red to a pale tan to dark brown in colour. The fish may also show signs of respiratory distress, i.e gasping at the water surface or hanging around water inlets.
.
Nitrates
Nitrate is considerably less toxic than nitrite, although nitrate levels should not exceed 50mg/litre.

Native British Pond Plants
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