Category Archives: Vegetables

Bluebells and purple sprouting broccoli flowers

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Who knew they would look so beautiful together. The yellow flowers from my PSB are simply wonderful I had to bring them into the house to admire and naturally a little fistful of bluebells as I went past! Oh spring it’s so lovely to have you back again! X

The spring juggle

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My poly tunnel is starting to fill up, trying to find a slot for a seed tray is slowing becoming impossible, I call it the spring juggle. Every inch is filled with a pot or tray – isn’t spring exciting?

Is it me or is there never enough room? Even if I owned the Eden project there wouldn’t be enough space.

April is one of the busiest months for me, sowing and pricking out becomes a full time job. So far I’ve sown (prepare for a huge list):

Soya bean
Runner bean
French bean
Peas
Courgette golden
Marrow
Squash patty green tint
Courgette all green bush
Courgette F1 Atena
Chard Brightlights
Kale Nero di Toscana
Kale scarlet
Kale curly scarlet
Kale dwarf green curled
Leek prize taker
Lettuce little Gem
Rocket
Quinoa
Kohl Rabi purple and white Vienna mix
Tomato gardeners delight
Tomato Tigerella
Sweet Pepper
Multicoloured corn
French marigolds
French lavender
Basil sweet genovese
Basil red Rubin
Coriander fine leaved
Tarragon Russian
Peppery salad
Purple sprouting broccoli
Sunflower velvet queen
Sunflower giant
Sweet pea giant wave
Cabbage primero F1
Calendula Officianalis
Beetroot perfect 3
Good King Henry
Angelica
Pumpkins
Musk melon F1 Emir
Lupin Russell mix
Stock
Tagetes lemon gem
Night scented stock
Nasturtium home mix
Morning glory Rosa Volant

(Told you it was a long list)

I keep records of when everything is sown, the temperatures, and a tick box for if it germinated. Then you can see where you are up to, and it’s lush to look back on in the winter when planning ahead!

Purple Sprouting Broccoli

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It’s tastes and looks amazing! And now is the time to start sowing it for your bumper harvest next spring!

It’s easy to grow, and just gets on with it’s business throughout the year. But then next spring it will explode with amazing sprouting fab purple stalks.

I have never understood why the supermarkets charge so much for it, as it’s so easy to grow and just a few plants will give you such a tremendous harvest. Freshly picked, gently steamed it’s simply wonderful!

I have about 5 plants and today I harvested so much we had enough for our dinner, as did all of my neighbours (I’m very popular today!)

But that’s what it’s all about eating super fresh, no silly chemicals and sharing your harvests with your friends and family!

Happy spring to you!

Popping up

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Isn’t it a wonderful feeling when your seeds start popping up from their little pots? A little seed, a pot, compost and a drink of water and up they come. Obviously a little warmth helps too, but it’s not rocket science.

Here’s are a little collection of flowers and vegetables from my allotment poly tunnel. I check them everyday and get so giddy when they emerge from the soil. It’s so exciting to watch them growing bigger and stronger.

(Don’t tell anyone, but I even say “good morning” to them when I walk into my poly tunnel). Hey what can I say? I was brought up to be polite!

Guess what I’m about to do…

The sun is out, but the wind is still nippy in the North West of the UK. But I cannot wait any longer. It’s time to sow peas! Actually not just peas, there’s plenty to get going right now.

I’ve been busy sowing plenty of things

Tomato – Tigerella and Money Maker
Red Brussels Sprouts – Red Bull
Red cabbage – Primero F1
Sunflower – Velvet Queen
Purple sprouting Broccoli
A spicy salad mix (sown into a bed in the poly tunnel)
Sweet pea – Giant Wave and Perfume Duet (grandiflora)
And of course my daughters favourite Peas – Greenshaft

Don’t forget little and often when your sowing, otherwise you will everything at once! (I’m very guilty of sowing too much at once) this year I’m going to be good, a tray every 2 weeks! – well that’s the plan…

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Kale and allotment snobbery

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I do love vegetables, to me they are the ultimate plant. Many have long histories, they are fascinating to grow and the amount of varieties keeps even the humble carrot interesting, the best bit of it all, you can eat them!

This is a staple in our house, we all love it, Kale.

It’s a meaty veg with a proper bite to it. Tastes wonderful in stews with all sorts of meat, amazing with pasta or just on a plate with butter and cheese grated on the top.

One of the reasons I particularly love it is, well apart from it’s taste is, it looks beautiful. Curly Kale with it’s zig zag edged leaves, it’s adorable – it’s a tough old bird too. Especially the dwarf kind.

She’s not bothered about shade, full sun, soil type as long as the soil isn’t water logged she will grow through it all. I sowed these last spring and she is still giving wonderful harvests in winter too. Slugs don’t really bother it, maybe the odd caterpillar in summer and pigeons aren’t the least bit interested, it’s a tough cookie for sure.

I mentioned allotment snobbery, well that’s because I was shocked to my socks by a comment from another allotment holder last year. I was minding my own business picking a huge basket of it one sunny day, when the bird song and serenity was broken by a woman who invited herself onto my plot.

“Kale I see” she said in a voice which reminded me of a school teacher.
“Oh yes! Isn’t it lovely? It’s really tasty” I replied.
“They feed it to horses you know, I don’t bother with it” and off she tromped in her golfing shorts and head visor.
I sat there for a minute slightly confused, “what was that all about?”

Well The moral of this little tale is thus…

As I walked down the allotments last weekend to have a look what wonders and exciting things people were up to (there’s always something) I walked past her plot, I could help but notice it was barren; nothing to eat at all!

So my golf short wearing friend. ‘I’d sooner eat like a race horse all year round, than like a King just in the summer! (I’m also blowing a raspberry too) X

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Aquadulce Claudia – over wintering broad bean.

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In November last year I sowed some over wintering broad beans called Aquadulce Claudia. I have never sowed them before, but I love broad beans and the idea that I could have a cheeky early harvest in late spring really excited me.

I sowed them in three different locations to see which location would be best for next Autumn.

– The first were sowed in an unheated Poly tunnel

– Second unprotected in a raised bed

– Third where in a raised bed but under a home made cloche made from corrugated plastic.

Results so far:

The first set popped their heads up first, but then disaster struck, when mice snuck into the Poly Tunnel and dug all but two up, then to add insult to injury snails started to nibble on them. They are still growing the tallest, but they do look very leggy, which would suggest, even though the poly tunnel is bright the light level may not be ideal for them.

The unprotected ones came up last but more germinated, although healthy, still small.

The last set grown under the makeshift cloche look brilliant however not as many germinated. The ones that did come up, look fab. Lovely and strong, good colour very healthy. The corrugated plastic is completely clear, unlike the slightly opaque Poly tunnel.

It’s still early doors with regards which way is best, but now spring is approaching things will start to speed up.

It’s quite an interesting experiment. Hopefully in the late spring I will be munching on wonderful bright green Broad Beans covered in garlic butter… Well that’s the plan!