Allotment so far, is still looking a little bare and brown not to mention dry. Plants which are already on the plot like peas, garlic and onions are growing, be it slowly, as well as the first early potatoes which were potted and allowed to take on growth in the green house, and to my horror suffered a little frost bite, a few weeks ago. But thankfully they have recovered, just a few of the bigger leaves were affected. The rest of the plot is still waiting to be planted on! Plants are queued up in the Cold Frame and Green House. If you are anything like me, I cannot wait to get planting!!
|Okra: Red Burgundy.|
Having grown Okras 3 years ago, and with great success in the green house. These humid loving plants will not do very well outdoors. So if you have a Poly Tunnel or a Green House and have a little space for an extra vegetable, why not try growing these?
This year, I am growing a variety called Red Burgundy, a variety suitable for our cooler climate. As the name suggests, I shall be harvesting Red Okras. Green Okra variety produce White flowers, so just wondering what colour flower these will produce. Cannot wait to trial a few recipes with these.
|Berja Tree Cabbage Seedlings.|
We love our own grown organic Cabbages, but get very frustrated even when I have gown them in successions of 3 or 4 plants only, crops in that sowing are always ready to harvest all 3 or 4 at the same time. I use 1 from a batch and always end up giving the rest away as I do not like them going to waste or the compost heap.
So when I read up on a rare Spanish heirloom variety seed: Berja Tree Cabbage. I just had to try them out. Instructions tells me I can pick the large loose Kale like leaves as and when I need to use them. When it goes to flower, simply snap the flower stalk off, being a perennial, new shoots will appear. I am loving this vegetable already.
And to my delight when I found out through my research, it is this Cabbage which goes into the a famous Galician stew/broth called Caldo Gallego. A dish I make and we absolutely love but always use Cabbage or Kale. I cannot wait to try and recreate this stew again having found the missing ingredient.
|Pumpkin Small Sugar.|
I wouldn’t normally be tempted to buy pumpkin seeds but since the packet of seeds came free with my Kitchen Garden Magazine, I will give them a go. Don’t like seeds going to waste.
I have never grown or cooked with Pumpkins, probably because we haven’t found a savoury dish that we like. A Pumpkin Pie is the only dish that comes to mind, because of its sweetness which works well in a dessert dish. I am going to play around with this vegetable, and see if I can come up with even 1 recipe we will like from this vegetable.
When sowing the seed it took its time germinating, but once it poked its leaves through; within 5 days it produced its first 2 true leaves, so I have had to quickly pot on into a larger pot. Having started the seed off in a large paper pot, helps with less root disturbance, simply placing the whole paper pot into the larger pot and top it up with compost. I think I will have to treat this plant as I would with Courgette plants. Blink and it has grown again!
|Dudhi (Asian Courgette) harvest 2016.|
Until last year I thought this Asian vegetable (which grows and is cooked just like any other courgette or the squash family vegetable), was only able to grow in hotter climate countries. I was given a couple of plants by my elderly family friend who knew I would be interested in growing it here, outdoors. I was told they will need support, so I stuck a few canes around the plants; to my surprise, my support did no justice for them, not realising they are a climbing variety plant, so I had to let it creep on the ground as the fruit can get quiet heavy, hence the support. So this year I will be prepared.
I was pleasantly surprised the Heritage Seed Library had some on offer, so I have selected a variety called Mo Sayed. It too has taken no time at all to germinate in an unheated greenhouse. I make no jokes, this year scaffolding like support will be required!
|Saved Seeds: Asparagus Beans (Chori Bean).|
When I kept getting messages from my daughter, who has discovered the best accompaniment to her rice dish at University is spicy Chinese Cow Peas and with her enthusiasm “It’s the best thing Mum!”. I just had to look them up. With my curiosity, and to my surprise its another name for a Bean I actually trialled last year.
Looking into this, this bean has many others names that it is known by; as it is predominately an Asian vegetable, also known as Yardlong Bean, Chinese Long Bean and even Pea Bean. But I only knew them as Chori,(so called in the Gujarat region of India) and last year I only managed to germinate and grow 3 plants, slugs seemed to have loved them too. So decision made not to consume the young beans and allowed them to go to seed and saved all the harvest. Now this year, I sowed 9 of the saved seeds and see if any germinate and 6 took straight away (germination within 5 days, in an unheated propagator), and strong seedling they are too. This being a climbing bean variety, we have prepared a bean pole structure, ready for them to get climbing. I shall soon post pictures and updates of how they are progressing over this growing season.
I do hope the weather starts to warm up soon, so that all these and the other vegetable plants can get planted outdoors. We complain when its too hot, too dry, too wet and too cold.
As a Gardener I have just 1 wish: Sunny warm days and gentle rainy nights. Would you agree with me?
Ok 2 wishes…and no slugs