Saturday 25 February 2012

B is for Broad Beans

The next thing to sow outdoors after artechokes is Broad Beans. I like to give mine a head start by soaking them for 24 hours before sowing. Of course I could have given them more of a head start by sowing them last autumn. Last season I did, and the spring sown beans did just as well if not better than the autumn  sown ones. (They were hardly any earlier but some disappeared)  So this year it's just spring sown.

Soaking Broad Beans

My chosen variety is The Sutton. "Good for exposed sites" the books say. Aside from being hardy this variety is short, so you can get away without providing support. Now that's what I call canny!

The Sutton

Monday 13 February 2012

Bicentenary (or Third Birthday)

This is my 200th post and the third anniversary of starting this blog. Here's some of the most visited topics.
My 100th post was in the height of summer when I was spoilt produce at the plot. It still gets lots of hits, mostly by people googling "Red Kidney Beans"

Red Kidney Beans

Another big hit is "Brick Raised Beds"

Brick Raised Bed
"Edinburgh Snow" has lots of visitors too.

Edinburgh Snow
Now I've set up a separtate blog Edinburgh Album for non gardening pictures. I've also made a blog just for bread too ryesmile  as my interest in breadmaking threatened to take over my allotment site!

One of the earliest and most popular topics was Forcing Rhubarb:

Forcing Rhubarb

Another big "pull" is carrots!

 Although there is the danger of blogging instead of gardening, keeping a blog really does wonders for productivity. By having a "conversation" with others you not only learn some really relevant tips but also are putting yourself on your metal. Of course I am a boaster, forever hiding that messy corner out of camera shot. Wide angle and macro shots are both forgiving in their own ways.  But I'm also honest enough to learn from my mistakes. I've enjoyed the journey and really appreciate the help and the company along the way. So thank you for joining me on this vegetable odessey.

Sunday 12 February 2012

A is for artichoke

Like starting over

I'm fed up waiting for spring so I've decided to start the clock with some Jerusalem artechokes. These will happily be sown in January or February. I thought they were indestructable but last year I had a crop failure for the first time, so I'm not so blasé now . I forked out 70p for these. Half a dozen should be more than enough (Iggy).

French Artechokes
 Ideally they should have been organic UK grown artechokes but rather than delay another day I went to the greengrocers that's open on a Sunday and just got on with it. Whatever does grow will be gourmet quality. 6 inches deep and 18 inches apart I pampered these with a liberal dose of compost mixed into the planting hole.

artechoke planting
I feel better now my gardening year has started!

Monday 6 February 2012

Brick Beds - Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

Clockwise from the left: Strawberry (Marshmello), Herb bed, fleece protected pelargoniums, parsley plus sorrel stalks (which will grow back) and tarragon which sadly will not. 

At this time of year you can understand why these herbs are the ones that are on sale at Scarborough Fair



Rosemary  1 yr old cuttings


Sunday 5 February 2012

A quick trot by

 Got around to doing some real gardening today.  Digging compost into what will be the carrot patch this year.  Home made compost, not manure as that would be too rich.

Carrot preparation
 I had to clear away the Brussel sprouts to do this, so we've got lots to eat this week. Otherwise all that's left are leeks...


...and the very aptly named "Hungry Gap" kale.

Hungry Gap Kale
This year we ate all our potatoes, carrots onions before Christmas arrived. Now we've picked our last brussels and turnip. I've set myself a target of lasting longer next year by growing and storing lots more carrots and potatoes.