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!

13 responses to “Beaten by the Ugly stick

  1. WE have never had much success with celeriac.

    Our dahlais haven’t yet been touched by frost but we did decide to lift them – I know we should have left them but if the soil gets very wet and claggy lifting can be really messy and the tubers very wet to start with.

    • Better to be on the safe side Sue, I’m fortunate with fairly light soil I can wait but if they got waterlogged that would be a hell of job getting them out!

  2. I hope you like the Celeriac, Damo. I can’t get enough of it now! You should also try HFW’s Celeriac and Carrot Remoulade which is a fantastic combination.

  3. I’ve never tried either eating or growing celeriac before. I’ve heard of many people having problems growing it previously so you’ve done really well with your’s. We haven’t had a frost yet but I’m sure it won’t be long now until we get one.

  4. Jealous? Moi? Mais non, but honestly, four? And one the size of a football?!
    OK, I’m over my hissy fit – enjoy your crop planning, I look forward to seeing how your distributed smallholding takes shape. Oh, and, honest, congrats on the great celeriac…

  5. I can’t get over the fact that it’s the end of the season and we’re already planning for next year.
    I won’t say I told you so about the compost heap! Cheers.

    • You were right Flighty pure laziness on my part. It didn’t take long to set up and probably saved me time already taking things to the tip that I can now compost in my own garden. And it’s all self-contained, no sprawling, unsightly heap. I’ll be extending next year!

  6. Hope you enjoyed your HFW meal – have just bought Veg Every Day, enjoying it immensely and also have just cooked up a really delicious HFW Winter Root Veg Boulangere from October Waitrose Kitchen mag. First time I’ve tried celeriac, love at first bite!

  7. Pingback: Review of 2011 « Two Chances Veg Plot Blog

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