Sunday 29 April 2012

Cracking Coriander

Coriander has become a bit of a thing with me. Fresh coriander leaf is that extra thing that transforms a good curry into a special curry. We get through quite a lot of bought coriander, and sometimes end up wasting it as it doesn't keep long in the fridge once picked. So we would love to have our own fresh supply from the garden to pick at will. 

Last year I had limited success. As always it quickly went to seed. I want to grow for leaf rather than seed. I'm relying on keeping my plants well watered in a rich soil mixture and doing later sowings as well. Last year a couple of stray plants on the plot lasted well into November, much to my surprise. Despite the association with warm climate curries the plant seems to prefer lower temperatures.

The thing about coriander seed is that you always get two for one - as you can see from the pictures above. Each seed is two seeds bundled together inside a coarse husk. Perhaps this is the reason some people recommend bruising the seeds before sowing.

I've never tried this before - but here goes:

Partially ground seed
It may be that the variety I am growing is not a good leaf producer, as it has been grown for seed. So here's another ploy I have read about but never tried before.  I've bought a pot of supermarket "growing" coriander. These have definitely been grown for leaf. I'm going to transplant these and wait for them to go to seed. Then when I sow the seed next year I'll be growing the same variety for leaf!!

(I just hope the're not F1 hybrids!)

And it looks as if the supermarket growers don't bother about preparing their seeds. As you can see they're coming up in twos.

Wednesday 25 April 2012

Courgette That...

Courgette Seedling

Mal’s Allotment  has been shortlisted  for “The Top Gardening Blog Award” being run by eCollege.  Having no idea previously who they were, or how I came to be nominated, I am nevertheless truly flattered to get such positive feedback. 

Looking at the other nominees, at first sight few, if any, are devoted exclusively to allotment vegetable growing. I’m going to need some support to make any impact against the competition. Please visit the site (click on the badge top right) and register your vote for Mal’s Allotment! (Note only one vote per visitor)

Saturday 21 April 2012

Ready Steady ....Sow

Doesn't it just creep up on you - perhaps that's why it's called "spring".  Up until now I've held off sowing lots of things.  Outdoors it's only Onions, Peas , Parsnips and Potatoes  -plus some optimistic early carrots I don't hold out much hope for.  After a warm dry March I kinda regretted that. Then April blew in, or rather drenched in,  temperatures plumetted and rain levels returned to where they normally are in Edinburgh at this time of year. Now when I check the books and backs of packets suddenly it's time to sow...  everything. So tomorrow is going to be a mass sowing day - whatever the weather.   

I've mentioned outdoor sowings. My indoor space is limited - but here's some I prepared earlier:

Not as big as the ones available in the nurseries, but on schedule for planting out after the last frosts in May.

(And yes Tany - those are celeriac. I decided to give them another shot with a different variety)

Sunday 15 April 2012

Potato Patch Progress

We had a frost overnight. But undeterred I planted three more rows of potatoes today:

Potato Patch
 The kale at the far end and the spinach beet in the foreground won't last much longer. I picked both hard. Together with rhubarb and leeks I had quite a haul  to take home.
My trug overfloweth

Monday 9 April 2012

Easy peckings

Pride of place has to go to this snap of a woodpecker I took on Easter Sunday! I've heard him at work before and even caught a glimpse but this was amazing!

Woodpecker centre stage

For anyone asking about the rhubarb blanching, here's a picture of the clump after two pickings. It's looking a bit sorry for itself and I will now be removing the bin, but you can see how it contrasts with its neighbours (who were blanched last year).