Monthly Archives: October 2011

Beaten by the Ugly stick

In the veg world celeriac probably takes the prize for being the ugliest crop on the plot. But don’t judge a book by its cover, hopefully there’s beauty within, particularly in the taste.

I grew 4 plants this year from seedlings given to me by a fellow Hort Soc Committee member. This was the size of them 6 weeks ago. 1 was around the size of a small football and the others cricket ball size. Not bad for a first go, they need quite rich soil and plenty of water so they don’t dry out. And I started stripping back the stems once they got to a decent size to focus growth to the bulb. I’ve never eaten celeriac before and the inaugral dish will be HFW’s celeriac and chilli gratin, as I have chillies in abundance, a good kilo of celeriac and garlic. It’ll give me an excuse to get the mandolin out – a five year old wedding present still pristine in it’s box – and practice my first aid skills afterwards! Is there an uglier veg out there?

This weekend has been all about tidying up after our Bristol trip. The Dahlias had been caught by the first couple of light frosts this week so I took the blackened tops off them. It’s important to leave the tubers in the ground as long as you can as they are still growing at this time of year and any remaining foliage protects them to a certain extent. I normally wait to all the foliage has been hit before I lift them, hopefully not for a couple of weeks yet, we’ll see.

The compost heap I built has been worth its weight in gold, it’s taken so much plant material and is almost full now. I’d recommend anyone with a spare corner building one out of a few old pallets and paving slabs.

I should be taking over my half plot at the local village allotments soon. They’re run by the Winterslow Land and Allotment Charity (previously known as the Winterslow Poor Folks Charity) and will cost me £10 a year for the half plot. I can’t wait to get started and have lots of plans for what to grow up there.

So with the season winding down now thoughts turn to next year and what to grow to feed the family and what might do well in the shows I plan to enter next year. And I’ve already got some Hative de Niort and Jermor shallots ready to start off in pots in the greenhouse.

Hopefully I’ll get good results with these next year!


We’ve just come back from a wonderful weekend away with friends in Bristol. We had glorious weather, the end of an Indian summer, and travelled up on the train on Friday morning staying for two nights in the Royal Marriott and Spa hotel (thanks Mr Tesco!). The hotel was perfectly located close to the harbour in the city centre and we enjoyed a lovely room and a great breakfast.

The photos are just a few of the things we saw. The famous Bristol grafitti artist Banky’s work on Frogmore Street, Bristol Cathedral, the harbourside, Brunel’s SS Great Britain and Cabot’s ship The Matthew.

We had great views over the city from Cabot Tower and excellent shopping at Cabot circus. Food at Jamie Oliver’s Italian and the Nepalese restaurant Kathmandu.

With loads to see and do I’d recommend Bristol to anyone wanting a weekend break. We’ll be back!

Clearing Up

With the season drawing to a close the main jobs this weekend have been clearing up around the plot. All the beans and most of the tomatoes have come to an end now. Still going strong are the mangetout, courgette, beetroot, kale, brussel sprouts and parsnips with cabbages and PSB to follow over the winter. Up at the shared plot there’s more beetroot and parsnips plus carrots, squash, brussels, savoy and winter cabbages. And there’s plenty of potatoes, onions and shallots in store.

Dwarf green kale.

Purple sprouting broccoli plants are around four foot high and looking healthy despite a whitefly invasion.

In the greenhouse are the last of the peppers with some potted-on strawberry runners, and some onions and shallots drying out.

And I’ve just been offered a half plot at the local village allotments so my expansion plans are now well underway and the drive to veg self-sufficiency almost complete!

Hope you’re all having a good weekend.