Monday 31 August 2009

Brassica Bonanza

Things have gone well under the net. My cunning plan of close planting to suppress the weeds worked pretty well, although I had some difficulty picking my way through the enclosure to harvest plants without causing any damage.

Visually the 'cavolo nero' has been the most dramatic:

But a word of warning - we expected our first picking to be very tender, but it was as tough as old boots! So allow plenty of cooking time for this Italian kale, or stick to the Scottish variety:

Here's 'Tundra' cabbage which we have high hopes for, come winter:

Proof of the potato?

Shetland Black



The flavour was excellent!

And here's Kerrs Pinks:

And if you want to know how we are coping with all these potaotoes and courgettes:

Sunday 23 August 2009


Another potato - a redskin this time!

Saturday 15 August 2009

Black and Blue

Well, actually more purple than blue. As the rain stopped today I decided to dig up some of the more interesting potatoes. They are Edzell Blue, Arran Victory and Shetland Black. They don't look so very exciting in the field:

But with a bit of a wash and a scrub up:

The Edzells and the Arran Victory are quite similar but I have yet to test their eating qualities. The Shetland Black were small and hard to find in the soil. The yield was disappointing, halfe a row giving up the same as two plants of the other varieties. Some had been attacked by eelworms. Again, I reserve judgement until I've eaten them. They have characteristic blue markings in the flesh (see below) but this is reported to have no effect on their taste.

Of course these vivid colours do not survive the cooking process, but I'm pretty excited about them all the same!

Tuesday 11 August 2009

Harvesting Parsnip Seed

A bit of experiment this week.

In a corner of my plot I left a couple of parsnips to go to seed and forgot about them. It doesn't look tidy (see below). Now I notice that the seeds are dropping off so I reckon it's time to chop off the seedheads and collect them in a bag where the seeds can be rubbed off the stems without losing them.

collect the results in an envelope and pop them away somewhere safe and dry.

I wonder if they will be viable next March!

Sunday 9 August 2009

It's been a fennel of a summer

I've hardly stopped to take breath since returning from our Pembrokeshire holiday. The weeds are relentless. One success this year has been the two rows of fennel, planted about a month apart. We've had good eating off one already, and the remaining plants are now at the optimum distance from each other at last (I just can't steel myself to do enough thinning out when I should - when they are still seedlings that is). In the past fennel has had a tendency to bolt. Aside from the thinning, the weather conditions this year have been wet enough to arrest this - so far.

The second row is well hidden between the leeks and the French beans.

Jocelyn Dimbleby has an excellent recipe for Fennel and Potato bake. Aside from being delicious it uses lots of two ingredients that are in abundance just now. I'll see if I can find a link.

It's like this one but I recommend Gruyere or Emmental rather than Cheddar. And if you use your home grown potatoes you won't need to bake it for nearly that long.