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.
With the first indications that we’ve had frost on the allotment and colder weather forecast for the end of the week, we decided it was time to harvest our chillies. How did they do?
As explained in an earlier post, we had acquired a number of chilli seeds and decided to trial them against each other. I would like to say that we nurtured our little seeds and gave them the best growing conditions we could, but we didn’t.
For various reasons, some previously described, we got very behind with our allotmenting and were playing catch up for most of the year. Our chilli plants had to put up with late sowing and late planting out. This is as much a trial of what can look after itself as it is an exercise in what grows well in our part of the world. Continue reading
I know what you’re going to say. Isn’t it very late to be planting out seed potatoes? Especially first earlies? Especially an extra early variety such as Abbot?
You’re right, of course. But circumstances have conspired to keep us away from the plot: major works on the flat, snow, rain, Andrew’s condition, a kite flying weekend … Life, basically.
Our climbing French beans were such a hit last year, that we were definitely keen to sow them again.
They were relatively easy to grow, looked great, tasted great and were even better with the recipe we found for preserving them. What more could you ask for? More beans, of course!
Learning from last year
We decided to stick with exactly what we did last year – Suttons’ colourful climbing mix.
Apparently, 2018 is the year of the chilli. When we went to Glee, the trade show of the garden industry, last September, several companies were featuring them.
Here’s part of the Thompson & Morgan display at Glee which has what we thought was a well-designed heat indicator.
We thought we would take the opportunity to do our own mini trial of a few varieties of chilli to see how they perform.
Sowing the seed
Here’s Andrew in the greenhouse, explaining our trial and sowing the first seeds: Continue reading
We were finally able to make it down to the greenhouse on the Easter weekend. But have our new tubers survived the long wait to be planted?
Major works at home kept us occupied for most of March. Not only that, snow and freezing temperatures made visiting the plot or the greenhouse even for a short while impossible. As a wheelchair user, Andrew can’t move around as readily as most of us, which means that his body temperature drops fast – something he’s not always aware of until it’s too late, which can make him very unwell.
And so the plants and tubers we ordered have had to wait – some survived better than others.
If you’re growing vegetables and you haven’t tried oca (also known as New Zealand yams), you’re missing out. They’re easy to grow, easy to cook and super tasty!
When we took on the Quest For Veg plot, one of our goals was to grow unusual produce. So when we spotted oca in the Thompson and Morgan catalogue last year, we didn’t hesitate – even though we knew nothing about how to grow them, how to cook them or what they would taste like.
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,
Poor leeks all flattened and chewed
everything else was much better than expected. Continue reading
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: