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It’s been a beautiful morning down here in South Wilts and I’ve managed to get the main task done – moving this pile of chicken manure!
A chap down the road delivered this £20 load and dropped it on the Dahlia bed. It’s great stuff, well rotted, ‘black gold’ in gardening terms. As it’s just like soil I’ve spread over all the beds, bar the one I’m growing roots in, and lightly forked in. The worms will do the rest for me. No need to dig if you don’t have to I say! And what’s left in the pile will fuel my Dahlias.
The next job was to dig up all the Jerusalem Artichokes, I had grown a 10 foot row of them planted late February last year. We’ve decided we’re not particularly fond of the taste after a couple of years of trying them out. It’s a shame as they are so easy to grow and a very productive crop. I can’t guess how many I dug up but it’s 10s of kilos of tubers. I’ll try and give some away so they are not wasted. So if you’re in the area and want some give me a shout.
And lastly the first signs of spring have returned to the garden. A beautiful little collection of crocuses are the first flowers in my snowdrop-free garden. With daffs and tulips pushing through it won’t be long now until those spring blooms come good. Hope you’re having a good weekend!
The garden has been a bit neglected recently with my trip away so this morning I had a good clear up. There’s not much left now just the Autumn and Winter veg. I took down the runner and french beans and have about a 100 pods to take beans from for stews and soups over winter. The kale and chard looked a bit miserable so I stripped the worst of the damage and they’ll survive for a while to give some welcome winter greens. There’s around 70 parsnips which I’m looking forward to harvesting to go with the roast dinner tomorrow. I always wonder about parsnips as they take up space for pretty much the whole year but the doubt is disspelled when they come out of the roasting tray!
In the front bed I harvested the last of the beetroot.
They won’t win any prizes but will provide some welcome colour and sweetness on the plate at this time of year.
I tidied up the brussels which had fallen over.
There’s some good sized sprouts already.
And the sprouting broccoli has survived the cabbage white attack.
The Onion sets I planted a few weeks ago have sprouted nicely, I am hoping they survive the winter.
The Jerusalem Artichokes are looking good, still in flower, and will provide another different vegetable over the long winter months. Well worth growing as they are very easy, I gave them no attention at all, and provide a useful screen about 6-8 feet tall.
If you would like some seeds to try next year just send me an email with your address and I’ll post some to you. I have loads to go around and they are a great variety for anyone trying pumpkins for the first time or looking to expand their number of varieties.
Have a great weekend!
Another Jersuslem Artichoke recipe I’ll be trying out soon. Not sure about the nettles though!
Well 2009 was a big year with the arrival of our 2nd daughter, Emily. I can’t believe that was nearly 12 months ago, wow how time flies!
2009 was the first proper year of my veg growing and I’m been thrilled with how well it’s gone. The family have eaten every type of vegetable that I have grown, nothing has failed although some have been more successful than others. The only thing still to harvest is the purple sprouting broccoli, I hope it’s survived the snow of the last couple of weeks and we can look forward to tender purple spears for the first time!
My Top 3 most successful veg 2009 were:
1) Brussel Sprouts, I can’t believe how many sprouts you can get off just half a dozen plants. We’ve been picking them since November and still going!
2) Courgettes, with the mild Autumn they produced from mid-May right through to the end of October – 3 plants gave us all we could eat.
3) Cucumber – great variety, 2 plants in the greenhouse produced cucumbers from May, the last one picked early November.
My 3 least successful veg:
1) Carrots – pretty useless harvest, I need to rethink my tactics!
2) Parsnips – good harvest but variety was smaller than I expected, I’ve picked a different variety for this year.
3) Leeks – variety wasn’t as big as I’d expected, a new variety this year I think.
Resolutions for 2010:
1) Get my eldest daughter, Chloe, more involved. She’s 3 this year so is old enough to have her own mini-patch. Also I’ve got a much better idea of what she likes to eat so I’ll be planting a lot more cauliflowers this time round and calabrese for the first time.
2) Root veg, I need to do better on the parsnips and carrots, both for the table and exhibitions.
3) More showing, I really enjoyed entering my local Horticultural Society’s Summer Show and I’d like to do more this year.
2009 list of vegetables:
In the greenhouse: Lettuce (Salad Bowl, Little Gem & Lollo Rosso), Cucumber (Carmen F1), Tomato (Moneymaker, Garderner’s Delight & Marmande), Chilli (Cayenne & Jalapeno), Peppers (Etuida).
Radish (French Breakfast, Albena), Beetroot (Detroit), Salad Potato (Charlotte, Juliette & Anya), Broad Bean (Sutton), Runner Bean (Scarlet Emperor), French Bean (Dwarf – Ferrari, Cobra), Courgettes (Aurelia F1), Summer Squash (Scallop Mixed), Butternut Squash (Cobnut F1).
Chard (Bright Lights), Brussel Sprouts (Maximus Hybrid), Cabbage (Golden Acre Primo & Savoy), Carrots (Amsterdam Forcing), Parsnips (Tender & True), Garlic (Purple Wight), Onion Sets (Radar), Shallots (Griselle), Broccoli (Early & Late Purple Sprouting), Kale (Dwarf Green Curled & Scarlet), Swede (Virtue), Cauliflower (Snowball), Leeks (Musselburgh), Jerusalem Artichokes (variety unkown).
The plot is still producing plenty of veg at the moment. Today I braved the cold to pull up some snips, dig up some artichokes, pick some brussels and kale. It’s great having fresh veg as and when you want it.
This is the first year I’ve grown the much-maligned brussel sprout and they are fantastic, getting loads of sprouts off just half a dozen plants.
The purple-sprouting broccoli is looking really good, the sideshoots are starting to appear and I’m really looking forward to the first harvest of spears. Last year was a disaster between the caterpillars and pigeons so this time round they have been netted and have really filled out well and they should start appearing in a few weeks time.
Jerusalem Artichokes are a new addition to the veg plot this year. I went to a talk on veg growing at my local Horticultural Society back in November 08 and someone was kindly giving away bags of them for nothing. That weekend I planted a dozen of the tubers along our back fence, 6 ” deep and roughly 2′ apart, and waited to see what would happen. Sure enough in the spring they started to shoot and grew taller and taller. By the end of the summer they were between 7′ and 10′ tall and provided a good screen against the fence. In October small sunflower-like flowers appeared which were a welcome splash of colour at the end of the season. Once the cold nights got to the foliage I cut them down to a foot high and dug up the first plant. From just one plant I got a few pounds of tubers. A quick wash and peel and they were ready for the roasting tray.
Being the first time I’ve ever grown (or eaten) artichokes I kept it simple to start with. Just chopping them up about the same size as you would for sauteed potatoes I added some olive oil, thyme and salt & pepper to the baking tray and roasted for30 mins at 180 degrees (fan oven). Once out of the oven a squeeze of lemon juice was added and straight on the plate. Delicious and best of all free!!