Tag Archives: Chard

What’s Left? Autumn & Winter Veg

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.

Rach is making pumpkin soup today. I grew Rouge Vif d’Etamps from the seed Maureen sent me. They look great and I’m sure the soup will taste lovely.

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!

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What a Year!

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).

Surviving the Storm

Well last night was the first real storm we’ve had for a while and I’m glad to say the veg plot survived pretty much unscathed.  The purple sprouting took a bit of a battering and are now leaning slightly but as they were packed in pretty tight together they seem to have held each other up.  The fence panel by the small bed came down, luckily this is were the beans were this year and I had just cleared it a couple of weeks back so no damage done.  By 10am a new panel was in place (I have a few spares in the garage as our garden is fenced on three of the four sides).

Small bed 6' x 6'

You can just see the new panel behind the small bed.

Large bed 18'x 6'

The large bed was mainly brassica’s this year and is still pretty full.  From front to back there 3 rows of parsnips (tender & true), a couple of rows of brussel sprouts (think the variety is maximus hybrid?), 2 rows of swede (virtue), a row of chard (bright lights), a row of cabbage (golden acre), 2 rows of kale (dwarf green curled and scarlet) and then about 8 purple sprouting brocolli plants (mix of early & late).  It’s all packed in there but we’re now starting to harvest the winter veg as the nights are drawing in and turning colder.

Leeks

The leeks have been poor again this year.  I’m going to try a different variety next year.  These are Musselburgh and are not as big as I expected. 

Spring cabbage plants

I’ve planted out a few spring cabbages about a month ago that I’d sown in trays in the greenhouse and they’ve started to grow on.  The variety is Pixie and they are dotted about wherever there is space.

I’ve also put in a couple of varities of lettuce over-winter (artic king and winter density) both in the greenhouse and outside, first time I’ve tried this so I’ll see how it goes.

The next job is to clear the front bed of squash and courgette, the courgettes in particular have been amazing this year, I had 3 plants (2 yellow and 1 green) and estimate around 40 courgettes per plant from mid-May to end of October.  The strawberry plants have run amock and need sorting out and the last 2 or 3 butternut squash will soon succumb to the oven!

Front garden bed

Overwintering?

Well a lovely mild October has turned into a horrible wet November and my plans for getting in some veg to over-winter have been scuppered for now!  Last year I planted shallots (Grisselle) and onion (Radar) sets, garlic (purple Wight) and broad beans (Sutton) all in November.  All grew really well, within a few weeks the beans were a few inches high and the sets had lovely green shoots on them that saw them right through the winter including a pretty heavy snowfall in February (for Salisbury area that is – we don’t often see snow around here!).  We were eating broad beans in April and the onions, shallots and garlic were lifted at the end of June (some of the garlic and shallots are still in store).  This time round I’m tempted to leave it until March, if it dries out over the next 2 or 3 weeks I may have a go.  When I plant my sets I raise the soil up into a long mound and put the sets in about 4″ apart – the theory with the raised soil is more warmth and better drainage.  I then cover the area with low net to keep the birds off, removing when the shoots are a few inches high.  Well worth getting what you can in now as you reap the benefits next spring and have an additional area for sowing around July time when you lifted the onions.  I’ll post some photos if I manage to get them in in the next few weeks.

Veg currently in the ground on the plot are leeks, carrots, spring & savoy cabbage, purple sprouting broccoli, kale, chard, swede, brussel sprouts, parsnips and butternut squash.  All can be harvested now bar the purple sprouting which will be ready in late winter/spring (really looking forward to that as last year’s crop was devasted by caterpillars and pigeons – not this time round, the crop has been netted and plants range from 3-6′ high already.  We ate the first of the brussels the other day and they were superb, well worth the wait!