Almost without trying, we grew some beetroot. We bought a packet of Unwins Gourmet Mix from the garden centre, sprinkled them into the soil and, apart from a bit of watering, pretty much left them to it.
And look what they produced: stunning colourful orbs that tasted as good as they looked.
Their characteristic earthy flavour had a delicious sweetness. We immediately grated one of the white ones raw into a salad. Wonderful!
As well as planting potatoes directly into the soil, we grew some in potato bags that Andrew made. We wanted to compare the yields from direct- and bag-planted spuds.
Here’s how we got on:
We were intrigued when we spotted a packet of cucamelon seeds in the garden centre. But I have to admit that it was the invitation to “explore their cocktail-enhancing prowess” that really piqued our interest.
The cucamelon seeds were in the Suttons/James Wong collection. From what we could gather, they look like tiny watermelons, are harvested when they are the size of grapes and have a flavour that is like cucumber with a citrus edge to it. They can be used in salads and can also be pickled (as well as adding flavour to cocktails!).
Most of our cucamelons still look like this and are only millimetres long
We had seen tiny fruits forming and I thought it would be some time before we got to taste them.
So, we were super-surprised to find two that were about the size of grapes and looked ready to harvest.
What do they taste like?
Cucumbers. Very firm and crunchy cucumbers.
They have a very subtle citrus edge to them but it is subtle. The taste may develop over the season but, for this first picking, the overwhelming impression is of cucumbers.
I can imagine that they would be a great addition to a gin and tonic, particularly with the sort of gin that you would add cucumber to (such as Hendricks). That is certainly something I plan to try once we start harvesting a few more fruits!
We were just getting over the shock of discovering that we really like radishes when our plants stopped producing the tasty and colourful edible roots that had become a regular feature on our dinner plates.
When we first sowed the aptly named Scarlet Globe back at the beginning of April, neither of us liked radishes. I’m not quite sure why we planted so many. We had new raised beds to fill and had somehow acquired the seeds, so thought we’d give them a go. And thank goodness we did: they are delicious! We’ve had them in salads, roasted them and even added them to curries.
Quite unexpectedly, Andrew spotted a radish that looked ready to eat.
He carefully extracted it from the soil and here it is: the first vegetable to be sown and harvested on the Quest for Veg plot.
Radish Scarlet Globe
We carefully carried this little jewel home to wash it and try it.
I should say at this point that neither Andrew nor I like radishes. I have wondered why we are growing so many. So we were a little bit apprehensive as we sliced into this tiny prize.