Our first taste of Mashua (Tropaeolum tuberosum)

Winter 2018 was spent deciding what vegetables we wanted to try, focusing again on the new or usual.

Again we were tempted by South American vegetable tubers so we ordered Mashua, pronounced Mash-wa (Tropaeolum tuberosum), a perennial of the nasturtium family.

As they were a little expensive, we bought just two roots and decided to plant them at either end of the plot.

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Path maintenance and access development

January 2017, we took over our allotment and decided that, once we’d cleared the plot and removed all the old concrete, we would create woodchip paths with a geotextile barrier underneath to help combat weed growth.

We wanted clean and dry access around the plot, not least because it would be easier to get about on a mobility scooter. We decided on woodchip because maintenance is less than grass, and cats don’t tend to confuse it with their litter tray as they sometimes do with gravel. Another advantage is that, after the initial cost of the geotextile, woodchip can usually be sourced free of charge.

All that’s needed is a bit of effort in replacing old with new chips every now and then. Something we needed to do recently. Continue reading

Winter harvest

With Burns Night looming, a visit to the plot to collect some potatoes was quickly becoming necessary.

We leave our crops in the ground until we want to use them. This can increase the exposure to pests and diseases but we find they just last better this way, probably because we have a well drained sandy soil.

So off to the plot on a wintry afternoon, dry but cold.

The main crop potatoes we planted were Sarpo Mira – a blight resistant variety, producing quite large tubers.

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We have bean impressed

Here’s a recipe I came across for preserving french beans. Although we didn’t plant a lot of climbing french beans, we thought we would invest some of our limited crop and try it out.

Preserved beans

We used the pickling vinegar jars to preserve the beans

Having discovered this recipe just as I was harvesting what seemed to be the last of the bean crop, I got straight down to work and processed them quickly.

The recipe is so simple Continue reading

A rose by any other name

Close up photo of a watering can rose

Last September, the Quest for Veg were invited to Glee – a show for the garden center trade.

Glee is the place where the garden industry comes together to launch its new ranges, latest innovations and next bestsellers. Over three days, 7,000 plus visitors come looking for the products that will fill the shelves of garden centres, high street stores and supermarket shelves in the season ahead.

We were invited as part of their bloggers publicity programme. Continue reading

A Burns Supper with a colourful twist

Burns night, 25 January, is a celebration of the birth of Robert Burns, a Scottish poet, songwriter and collector of traditional songs (1759-1796).

Celebrations usually include a meal of Haggis (a traditional Scottish dish), mashed potatoes (the tatties) and mashed swedes (neeps).

For a number of years we have invited friends and laid on a meal to mark the occasion. Thanks to our allotment, this year there was a colourful twist and an unusual addition.

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A wee visit to the plot

Since our last blog, we have both been fighting one of those stinky autumn colds, and unable to work on our plot. So last weekend, although it was very cold, the weather was dry enough for a wee visit to the plot. We fully expected to find everything overgrown and in a bad state.

Apart from our poor leek patch, that has been adopted by our local fox as a daytime lounge area,

Our leek patch - flattened and chewed

Poor leeks all flattened and chewed

everything else was much better than expected. Continue reading