Category Archives: cauliflower

she sows seeds….2017

Goodbye 2016… hello 2017.

It’s good to be back in the swing of sowing.  One of the best things about growing vegetables is that the majority are, to all intents, annuals, which means the current year is always, potentially, the best growing year yet!

Having the polytunnel means I can start on sowing peas, broad beans, (Sutton and crimson flowered)…

dsc_0001leeks, cauliflower (All The Year Round), lettuce, (also named All The Year Round), and red onion, (Brunswick).   So, half tray of each except the peas which I’ll plant up in guttering.

dsc_0002A little late, but I’ve sown sweet peas in root trainers.  Ideally, these would have been sorted around mid-December but I’m hopeful that I’ll still get good strong plants.

The trays have gone into the polytunnel, joining the onions and shallots which were planted in modules last autumn.

dsc_0003The beans and sweet peas are currently in the utility room until germination as they are mouse candy.  I need to dust off one of the propagators and sow the chillies and then get the decks cleared for the tomatoes and aubergines.   Coming on the horizon are the local potato days so in preparation I’ve, (more or less), finalised the long list to:

  • First earlies: Belle de Fontenay (for salad and boiling); Red Duke of York (for mash and roast);
  • Second earlies: Anya; International Kidney; Charlotte for salad; Nicola for boiling; Kestrel a good all rounder
  • Main crop: Ratte, Pink Fir for salad; Maris Piper and Arran Victory for mash and roast.

We’ve grown most of these varieties before, indeed some appear on our list every year, flavour is everything!  This year we’ll ring the changes and try one or more of Nicola, Kestrel, Maris Piper and Arran Victory.

Work on the ornamental garden bounds forward. The lovely OH is hard at work constructing a metal arbour from rebar…

dsc_0009Once this has been set along the paths and the angle iron/wire fencing has been cemented in then the box hedges will be planted.  We’re heading for a cold snap later this week so I’ll look at finishing the pruning the gooseberries and orchard fruit the other side of the weather front.  If the ground dries out a bit I can also set in the hornbeam whips.  Plenty to do.

No sign of snowdrops yet but my Helleborus niger is a lovely substitute.

dsc_0006Reading this week: Hops and Glory by Pete Brown

 

 

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the big tidy….

DSC_0736I’ve been clearing the decks in the potting shed.  Which is exactly the sort of job to do on a blustery January day.   It also means I can actually work again in the shed as the pots are stacked on shelves rather than piled on the floor and the table.

DSC_0740I still need to clean down and oil the tools, a job I should have done at the end of the last growing season – even so – a clear table to work at and space for a kettle and radio though it is our local ‘Potato Day’ this coming weekend hence the appearance of the egg boxes, (for chitting) competing for space.

We have started the sowings in the polytunnel; peas in guttering as well as radish and salad crops.

IMG_20160115_123532611In the beds – turnips, more radish, flat leaf parsley and coriander, in modules – cauliflower and globe artichoke.  More herbs and leaf salad sowings to follow.

DSC_0742Onwards!

Reading this week: In Pursuit of Butterflies by Matthew Oates

 

the beauty of brassicas….

I’m not sure that I came across a lot of cabbage in my youth.   Perhaps it wasn’t much grown in the mid USA in the 1960s.  I certainly didn’t develop any great dislike for cabbage as a food stuff and let me tell you – given my paucity in succession sowing technique I’m looking upon the Brassica tunnel with great affection at the moment.

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Whilst not a necessity at this time of year, as any sensible cabbage white butterfly is long gone, I find that there is no point growing Brassica organically unless one invests in netting.  Scraping off the eggs or picking off the caterpillars – forget it.  Miss a few leaves, a few days and that way lies Brassica armageddon.  So devastating is the cabbage white to a brassica crop that for a short period in 2013 the NZ government offered a reward of $10 for every capture of a specimen of the non native interloper.   Goodness, if I had $10 for every cabbage white that flitted over the veg. patch.

Well the netting has done its job and there looks like there is plenty to play with in the culinary department – dwarf curly kale, cavolo nero and small heads of coloured caulis.

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Bring on the Brassicas……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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