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Cobb BBQs at Orchard Park

What are Cobb BBQs?

The award winning Cobb BBQ is a true all rounder when it comes to cooking; allowing you to bake, boil, smoke, fry and grill virtually anywhere!  The innovative design means it is cool to the touch on the outside while searing hot on the inside and ready to cook in just 10 minutes when using the patented Cobble Stone.

How is the Cobb made?About_the_Cobb_Image

  1. Dome: made with stainless steel and it has a heat-resistant handle. The holes in the Dome ensure even
    ventilation throughout the cooking process creating an oven affect.
  2. Grill Grid:with an easy to clean Teflon® non-stick coating. Excess fat drains away through the holes and into the moat.
  3. Fire Basket: A secured area for the Cobble Stone or loose briquettes.
  4. Stainless steel moat:catches all excess fat. The moat can also be used for cooking vegetables.
  5. Base: with anti-slip rubber feet, the base remains stable and cool to touch during use.

Fuel for the Cobb BBQ

There are four different fuel types that you can use with the Cobb which are as follows:

COBB COBBLESTONE: This fuel is specifically manufactured for Cobb. It is manufactured from a renewable source – Coconut shell, is quick and easy to light, burns hotter than charcoal briquettes and lasts for approx 2 hrs. (Perfect all rounder for both on plate cooking and general roasting).

ULTRA QUICK: This fuel has the same composition as the Cobblestone and burns for approx 1 1/2 hrs. (Perfect for on plate cooking).

GOOD QUALITY CHARCOAL BRIQUETTES:  For more heat use up to 15 briquettes. For baking use only 4-8 briquettes and keep the dome shaped lid on at all times in order to keep the heat in. Burns for approx 3 hrs. (Does not burn so hot as the Cobblestone but works well especially for those longer cook times).

RESTAURANT GRADE LUMPWOOD: Is a perfectly acceptable fuel source, a full fire basket will burn for up to 2 hrs.

 

How to cook on the Cobb

The Cobb BBQ offers safe outdoor cooking wherever you are whether it’s grilling, roasting, smoking, boiling or frying.  The Cobb’s build in safety features mean that children can now participate in the fun of cooking, making family gatherings an inclusive experience for the whole family.

Family_Cobb

 

 

 

 

It’s Butterfly Season!

Sir David Attenborough 300x300As well as being beautiful to look at, butterflies have an important role to play in the garden as they pollinate flowers.  Butterflies and moths are valuable indicators of a healthy environment and healthy ecosystem.  Areas rich in butterflies and moths are often rich in other wildlife such as earthworms, spiders, molluscs and snails which all have their place within your gardens eco system. As butterflies react very quickly to change in their environment it makes them an excellent biodiversity indicator and a decline in numbers is an early warning sign for other wildlife loses.

Butterfly numbers have decreased in recent years and Sir David Attenborough is calling upon the public to help reverse butterfly decline by taking part in The Big Butterfly Count, the world’s largest butterfly survey.   It was first started in 2010 and fast became the world’s largest survey of butterflies with over 36,000 people taking part in 2016 counting almost 400,000 butterflies and day-flying moths across the UK.   This year’s count runs from Friday 14th July to Sunday 6th August.

It is easy to get involved and counts are welcome from anywhere: parks, school grounds, meadows or even your own garden.  Each count lasts 15 minutes and can be done from one spot or whilst out on a walk.  If you are counting from a fixed position, count the maximum number of each species that you see in a single time (this is to avoid the same butterfly being counted twice by accident).  If you are doing your count out on a walk, total up the number of each butterfly species                                                                                                             that you saw in the 15 minutes.

To record your butterfly count and to download your free butterfly identification chart visit CLICK HERE.

How to attract more butterflies

To encourage more butterflies into your garden you need to provide a welcoming environment by growing the right type of flowers.  Adult butterflies are especially fond of plants with long, tubular flowers that grow in sheltered sunny areas to feed on the nectar.  The butterfly season starts in March and runs right through to October/November time when the frosty weather starts.

Some of the best plants for butterflies are as follows:

Buddleja davidii

This is one of the best known plants for attracting butterflies and is commonly referred to as a ‘butterfly bush’ with fragrant and high nectar flowers.  There are many varieties of Buddleja davidii to choose from and will grow in most soils as long as it is in a sunny position, they will produce blooms throughout the summer and into the autumn.

Verbena bonariensis

This tall perennial has erect, branching stems that grow up to 2meters in height with clusters of small purple flowers from summer to autumn.  Verbena Bonariensis can be grown in most soil types as long as it is well drained and works particularly well in flower borders to add height.

Hebe

Hebes are great evergreen shrubs that attract a wide range of insects including bees and butterflies.  These summer and autumn flowering evergreens are suitable for rock gardens, shrub boarders and ground cover with flowers ranging from white and pink to purple and mauve.  Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell and Red Admiral butterflies are particularly drawn to Hebes.

Erysimum ‘Bowles’s Mauve’

With dark grey-green leaves and upright racemes full of mauve flowers, this bushy evergreen perennial attracts bees, butterflies and moths from March right through to October.  Erysimum can grow in moderately fertile, well drained neutral or alkaline soil in full sun.

You can also attract butterflies to your garden with artificial butterfly feeders which you can buy or make yourself at home.

 

Why not make your own butterfly feeder!

To do this you will need the following:

  • 1 empty clean glass jar with a screw tight lid (make sure it doesn’t leak)
  • 1 Kitchen sponge (about ½ inch thick)
  • Hammer and nail
  • Scissors
  • Saucepan
  • String – x2 pieces 24 inches each
  • Sugar
  • Water

Optional

  • 3 brightly coloured plastic mesh scourers OR Silk flowers (you will also need glue to secure these to the jar)

 

Step 1

Start by making your butterfly food by mixing 10 parts water with one part sugar in a saucepan and heat until the sugar has dissolved.  Take off the heat and allow to cool.

Step 2

Punch a small hole through the centre of your jar lid using the hammer and nail.  If needed, ask an adult to help with this to avoid any accidental injury.

Using your scissors cut a strip about ¼ inch wide from the kitchen sponge and trim it down so it is roughly one inch long and ¼ inch wide on all sides.

Carefully poke this one inch piece of sponge through the hole in the lid made by the nail.  This is fiddly and has to be done carefully as to not tear the sponge; it should be a snug fit.

Step 3Butterfly Feeder One 275x300

Turn your empty jar upside down and tie both pieces of string together around the top of the jar with double knots opposite to each other as shown in the picture.

There should be two knots, one on the left and one on the right, each with two pieces of string off of each.  Take the two pieces of string closest to you (one from the left and one from the right) and tie another double knot one third of the way up the jar.  Repeat with the other two pieces of sting on the other side.

Repeat the above process with the second lot of knots roughly 1-2cm from the top.  Tie all four pieces of string together in a knot at the top to make it secure.  After that it should look like the picture below.

Butterfly Feeder Two 275x300

Step 4 (optional)

To make your feeder bright and attractive to butterflies you can decorate your jar by placing plastic mesh sponges into your jar before pouring in the sugar solution or by gluing silk flowers to the outside of the jar.

Step 5

Fill your jar with the cooled sugar solution and screw the lid on tightly so it won’t leak.

Finally, find a sunny sheltered spot in the garden to hang your butterfly feeder and wait for the butterflies!

BBQ Season at Orchard Park

Top Tips from Orchard Park for the Perfect BBQ

To celebrate National BBQ Week 2017 (29th May – 4th June) we will have special offers on our range of Weber BBQs and accessories as well as in Lagan Farm Shop butchery.  To kick off BBQ season we have put together a guide on how to create the perfect BBQ!

Get the Right BBQ

This may seem like an obvious statement but having the right tools for the job is essential, which also applies to barbequing!  The debate over which is best, gas or charcoal, is a fierce one but with the help from Weber we hope we can help you decide.

It is recommended that you choose a BBQ which is best suited to your needs.  Charcoal BBQs add to the excitement and anticipation; setting out the coals, lighting them and then waiting until they are up to the perfect cooking temperature is what makes a perfect BBQ for some.  Others prefer the convenience and spontaneity of a gas BBQ as they offer the flexibility to just ‘fire it up’ whenever you like and start cooking almost immediately, adjusting the temperature with simply a twist of a dial.

Here at Orchard Park we have a great range of Weber BBQs (along with accessories) and are able to offer advice to help you choose the right BBQ for you.

Make Your Own BurgersLamb_Cooked_Burger

Our Lagan Farm Shop butchers have been busy making burgers, sausages (available gluten free), rump steak kebabs and chicken skewers as well as marinated sticky BBQ ribs all ready for the grill!  There is no doubt about it, homemade burgers are simply better! If you would like to give making your own a go, we have grass fed beef and lamb mince available from our own farm next door.  There are so many different flavour combinations to choose from achievable by simply adding different seasonings or fresh herbs.  Lamb burgers with freshly grown and picked mint from the garden and sweet chilli beef burgers are always a firm favourite.  Lagan Farm Shop also has a selection of chutneys, pickles, seasonings and sauces.

BBQs Aren’t Just Good For Meat

Contrary to popular belief BBQs aren’t just for the meat-eaters among us and can be used to create a variety of hearty vegetarian meals.  Pizzas, pasta dishes, flat breads and even cakes can all be cooked and baked on the BBQ by using some of the Weber accessories.  Take a look at some great recipes available from Weber, click HERE to open the link.

Finally, Set the Scene

This year make the most of your outdoor space and let your garden be an extension to your living area.  Here at Orchard Park we have a range of quality garden furniture from Cosy Bay and Alexander Rose, along with a range of decorative fencing, aggregates and stoneware, garden lighting, outbuildings and of course plants that can transform your garden into a space for entertaining and relaxing.

So what are you waiting for? Make the most of your summer and get grilling!

Weber

Things to do in the Garden in Spring

Spring has now sprung! There is blossom on the trees and hawthorn hedges are leafing up, along with the cheery blooms of daffodils and primroses enjoying the sunshine between the rain showers. Now is a great time to start sowing and planting outdoors but be mindful there is still the risk of occasional frosts.  Here is a list of things to do in the garden at the end of March and through April:

Keep weeds under control before they get a hold

Weeds can be controlled with the help of weedkillers or by cultural and organic control measures that rely on killing or restricting the weeds physically.  This can be done by removing them manually, smothering weeds with plastic, burning or by using weed barriers.

Protect fruit blossom and non-hardy plants from frost

Most top fruit and soft fruit are very hardy but once they start spring growth the flowers and buds are particularly vulnerable to frosts.  You can protect frost sensitive plants by wrapping in fleece or by using a cloche.

Sow hardy annuals and herb seeds

Many vegetables, annuals, biennials and herbaceous plants can be grown from seed sown outdoors. The secret to success is to prepare a good seedbed, free of weeds and with a crumble-like soil-surface texture.

Sow new lawns and repair any bare patches

Patches in lawns can appear for a number of reasons and when they do, it is always advisable to repair them. Re-seeding or turfing these areas will prevent weeds germinating in the bare patches, and of course, it will look much better. It is best to repair these areas in the spring or autumn.

Top dress containers

Growing plants in containers is a great way to bring life and colour into otherwise dull spots in your garden such as patios, balconies and even window boxes.  Almost any plant can be grown in a container.

Plant summer flowering bulbs

Bulbs are great for adding colour to your garden. Planting summer-flowering bulbs such as lilies and gladioli can provide dramatic, tall blooms that are scented.

Put up some bird boxes

Birds will be looking for suitable places to nest and bird boxes increase their choice of nesting sites. Bird boxes hung on walls tend to be safer from predators such as cats than those hung on trees.  A north or north-east facing position is best as strong sun can make nest boxes too hot and uninviting.

 

national-nest-box-week-workshop

Seed Potatoes

Our new season’s range of seed potatoes are now on sale, and are certified Elite Basic Scottish Seed grown from healthy stock and produced in areas free from pest and disease.

Choose from:

1st early, 2nd early and main crop varieties depending on when you want to harvest them.

You can grow-your-own on a small scale every bit as easily as in a larger garden or allotment.

Container growing has some great advantages – you can get an early crop when prices in the shops are high. Container growing produces spuds with loads of flavour and almost non-existent skins so no need to peel.

All you need is a pot or growing bag of some sort, a vegetable or multi-purpose compost and a sunny spot in the garden.

Potato Chitting 325x325All seed potatoes do best if they are given a start by ‘chitting’. This simply means encouraging the seed potatoes to sprout before planting. To do this you need a cool but frost free place with some light where the seed potatoes can be set out and allowed to make shoots of about 2 or 3cm long [that’s an inch]. An egg box or similar works well to hold them upright,

Plant out when the shoots are formed and the weather has improved; traditionally Good Friday was always seen as the best day to plant!

Container growing can start earlier and will give you an earlier crop.

We have loads to choose from:

2kg bags of First early, Second Early and Maincrop varieties at £3.99

10 potato ‘Taster’ packs £1.99

10 potato ‘Special Varieties’ £2.49

Late spring: May at Orchard Park

Garden Planting this May

So far, so good! Spring in North Dorset has been kind to us all, gardeners and outdoor lovers alike. The weather was a bit on the cold side at first but has stayed relatively dry and is warming up nicely with no serious frosts to spoil plants.

You’ll have noticed that blossom has been absolutely glorious this year. Cherries started off with the early flowering Myrobolan, then the purple-leafed sand cherries before the more ornamental Japanese cherries started their display. Not to mention the magnolias and the ornamental pears!

At the time of writing, all looks well and we are hoping that the pear trees blossom will escape harm from frost along with the plums and bush fruit, especially gooseberries and blackcurrants. That would mean a substantial fruit crop later in the year, so it would be worth investing in a little protection, such as a fruit cage, to keep the birds off.

Our Dorset Farm Shop

We had a lovely visit from the reception class at St Mary the Virgin CE VA Primary School in April. Following their current theme, ‘On the farm’, they enjoyed a veggie workshop, tour of the farm shop and a sausage making demonstration from our butchers Chalky and Phil!

Regulars to the farm shop will have noticed some tasty new treats on the shelves, including these, quite frankly, marvellous Honeycomb Dips from Mighty Fine Chocolate.

If the words ‘Honeycomb’, ‘dipped’ and ‘chocolate’ haven’t already grabbed your attention and you’re a little more visual, check out how delicious they LOOK here!

Stylish Garden Entertaining

With the Bank Holiday looming, have you thought about how to get your garden set for the summer? If the thought of getting prepared leaves you trembling at the knees, never fear! We have the perfect guide to getting your garden summer ready.

We have wonderful ranges in store to really give your garden the magic touch, whether you’re looking for a reliable Weber BBQ with innovative accessories or a sturdy yet stylish Alexander Rose dining set, we can suit any budget.

Dorset Events

We’re counting down the days until Weber join us for an unmissable opportunity to see their 2 hour live cooking show, with fantastic barbecue recipe demos and tastings! The shop will be open afterwards for you to shop if you wish, and ticket holders will get a special discount on Weber products on the evening. Click here to read more about this event.

Job Vacancies at Orchard Park

Would you like to join our friendly, hard-working team? We’re on the look out for brilliant people to join our cafe and office. Come and take a look at the positions we have available!

Kings of the Grill!

Orchard Park TeamSaturday 14th June saw the 5th International BBQ Competition return to Orchard Park in conjunction with the charity Msaada. The competition provided a great day out for visitors and competitors a-like!

The competition was judged by Pippa Haywood (Actress), Karl Plaskett (Marketing Manager of Valley News), and Matthew House (Managing Director of Devon Rose Gourmet Meat), all of whom were amazed by the high standard of cooking and innovative dishes on offer. To keep things fair, the dishes were presented to them anonymously and scored on a points system before a grand announcement to the teams at the end of the day.

All of the teams proved that they were not afraid to experiment, and some fantastic entries were submitted under each of the 5 competition categories of Best Chicken Dish, Best Pork Dish, Best Beef Dish, Best Vegetarian Dish and Best Dessert with meat provided by the Lagan Farm Shop.

Some of the top dishes were ‘Matador Chicken’ from the Spanish team, steak and roasted vegetables served with a horse radish and crème fraiche dip from the Irish team, and chocolate almond biscuits and fruit cooked in a rum syrup served with honeycomb ice-cream from the Scottish team… all cooked from scratch on the BBQ!

Although all teams made notable dishes, the overall winners were Shaun Carthy and Rob Harris, who were thrilled to win the trip to Limerick’s Riverfest with accommodation next May alongside a bottle of champagne and Orchard Park gift vouchers. A huge well done to all!

 

Summertime in the Garden

I am enjoying a few days off, catching up with work in the garden. Fantastic; an absolute joy for any gardener where the day job interferes with the plot, and to be honest, the cold wet weather in late May and early June had really put things behind schedule. Crops that went in early during good weather in March have done well, but the main sowings have really struggled.

Cold wet weather slows up seed germination, and those that have made it out of the shell, can suddenly stop growing. It happens and the best you can do is re-sow and try again. Then there are the hungry mouths!

Wet weather encourages slugs to move freely around the garden, they must eat their own weight in young shoots every night. Not easy to control, and it needs a consistent and concerted effort to protect vulnerable plants. There are two principal methods of dealing with the slug problem; kill them, or prevent them from reaching the plant they are set on devouring.  Slug killers have moved on in recent years; you still have a choice between traditional blue slug pellets and the wild life friendly version. Blue pellets contain metaldehyde which is very effective but lingers in the food chain and can be harmful to either wildlife picking up dead slugs, or pets coming across the pellets and eating them. I have no idea if they are palatable or not but why leave poison lying around? If you do use them, then use them sparingly. They contain a bait which draws the poor doomed slug towards them – a light scattering is more than enough. Liquid versions are worth looking at and they have the advantage of killing those molluscs that are hiding in the dark damp layer under the surface of the soil.

Ferrous phosphate slug killers are a very good option; they are usually combined with a bait to attract slugs and snails, kill only slugs and snails, and do not go on to kill birds, hedgehogs etc that would normally feed on slugs and snails. Sounds about right to me. You will never wipe out the entire mollusc population which is good because they form part of the food chain breaking down old (and new!) plant material and providing a food source for others.

Prevention? Barriers that discourage the slug are useful. Clay granules, sharp materials, copper tape will all work if used properly. The barrier needs to be complete as they will find their way through a gap or weakly defended point, and the barrier must be maintained and renewed if washed away by wet weather.

The last resort? A trap – a half buried jam jar or something similar, filled with beer is irresistible, but you will probably find a few friendly beetles in there as well so empty regularly.

Richard Cumming,
Orchard Park

The Charms of May

Lot of darling buds about with a few damaging frosts. At the time of writing I suspect the plum blossom has suffered but pears are not out fully so may have escaped. The apple blossom is usually hardy enough to survive all but the sharpest late spring frosts. Spring this year has certainly been a contrast to the last, but then every spring is unique and will never follow exactly the same pattern as the one – which is usually about as far back as our memories will go, before the murky mists of time cloud the rosey tinted spectacles of false reality etc etc!

Needless to say, as a gardener I am in my element at this time of the year; soil warm enough to sow almost anything and enough moisture to aid germination, plus the weeds have not yet taken over.

That leads me to the current hot topic; water conservation. We have had far less than average rainfall so far this year. In general the average rainfall balances up by the end of the year which does of course mean that there may be a large black cloud moving to where you live at some point, and it will rain.

On that basis it is well worth getting a water butt in place to save this valuable commodity. Now water butts have been in scarce supply this year because we have all realised that they are a really good idea, and the manufacturers have been completely caught out. Until the black cloud does appear, there are a number of things you can do to keep the moisture in the soil. It is all very simple; either stop the moisture leaving the soil by using a nice mulch (covering layer) of nicely rotted compost, bark, or soil improver from the garden centre, or add materials to the soil to help it hold more moisture to start with. Again well-rotted compost is ideal, but small gravel also works and of course water retaining crystals hold a fantastic amount of extra water for the plant roots to get into.

Water management is important; avoid digging the soil in dry weather as the dug surfaces will quickly dry out. Water the plants themselves in the cool of the day so that the water can go down to the roots and not evaporate straight away. Consistent watering is generally more effective for most plants than binge drinking for dry plants. This is especially true for the grow-your-own plot where plants deprived of water will not feed the family! Fruit and veg growing is still a fantastic story; it is such a great philosophy and so easy to pick up on. No-one suggest that you can feed the family all year round but a few good meals with wonderful fresh tasting vegetables is well within the reach of most of us whether we are growing in beds and borders, grow bags, raised beds or tubs. The options are plentiful and the garden centres are full of all the bits you need to be successful.


Orchard Park Garden Centre, Shaftesbury Road, Gillingham, Dorset, SP8 5JG
Tel:01747 835544
info@orchardpark.uk.net
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