Posted in 'How to', Lettuces, Mustard leaves, tagged Cocarde, different lettuce varieties to grow, Freckles, How to grow lettuces, Succession=al planting for year round lettuces, Veg plotting, Where to buy lettuce seeds on April 18, 2013 |
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I love lettuces. Can never get enough of them. This year I was determined to get sowing nice and early and be eating my home-grown leaves by the end of May. Well, I found a mildish day at the beginning of March and optimistically sowed a number of small trays of lettuces. I popped them into my mini outdoor greenhouse (with no heat) and started to get excited. Six weeks on, and a lot later than I had planned, I’m pricking out these ‘All the year around’ lettuce seedlings above into modules. They’re rather on the leggy side due to the low light conditions and low temperatures that we’ve had in March.
However, these leggy stems can be twirled around into the soil when you’re pricking out your seedlings (I use a spindly crochet hook, although I can’t crochet) and hopefully, with much better light levels (hurrah!), should go on to be very healthy seedlings indeed. So far I’ve sown
- Ashbrook (a frilly loose leaved variety, but sadly they didn’t germinate-disappointing, but luckily a rare occurence these days!)
- Chatsworth (A chunky dark green Cos lettuce from Sea Spring Seeds, claiming to be virtually bitter free)
- Red Salad Bowl (another red frilly type from Sea Spring Seeds)
- All the year around (a soft butterhead, hopefully slow to bolt from Seed Parade)
but Michelle at Veg Plotting has sown an impressive 22 different varieties this year and is hoping to add a few more as part of her 52 Week Salad Challenge. Really looking forward to seeing how they all grow. I wish I had a bit more growing space! I’m just off to sow a few more varieties:
- Cocarde (a very tasty pointy upright reddish tinged oak leaf lettuce that I loved last year, available from Chilterns Seeds)
- Freckles (a fab lightish green Cos, spotted with reddy/brown markings, that gave me delicious salads all summer long last year. Originally from Sarah Raven, but grown this year from my own painstakingly collected seeds!)
- Navara (a deep red oak leaf from Sarah Raven, new to me this year)
- Forellenschluss (an heirloom Cos variety from Chilterns seeds, means ‘speckled like a trout’ and I wonder if this is very similar to/ the same as ‘Freckles’?)
Out of everything I grew last year, I think lettuces gave me the best return for the space and time they occupied. I loved experimenting with ‘no dig’ potatoes and rainbow carrots in pots-they were a true delight to unearth-but it was the lettuces that kept me in dinners all summer long, from June until August. I’m so looking forward to planting these seedlings out to create decorative displays (as well as supplying many meals) and I still have it firmly in my head to try and master successive planting of these leaves (sowing again in July and August), so that I can have salads all year round from my own garden.
p.s. I’ve also sown ‘Green in Snow’, ‘Red Knight Mizuna’ and ‘Broad leaved Mizuna’ to add a mustardy bite and extra texture to my salads.
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Posted in 'How to', Potaotoes, Seeds to sow in spring, Sun loving plants, Vegetables, tagged chitting potatoes, no dig potatoes, Potatoes for blue mash, Potatoes for growbags, Salad Blue Potatoes on March 11, 2013 |
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Despite the name, Salad Blue potatoes are not great for salads as they’re a tad on the floury side and crumble when boiled. However, they do make great chips and mash. And blue ones at that! Bred by the Victorians in Scotland in the early 1900′s, they could be seen, as they were then, as a novelty potato. But the blue colouring is said to contain all-important antioxidants, so surely, this is a super veg!
We’re going to have a go at growing these tubers in growbags for our veg growing project this year and if I can find a spare patch of grass, I’ll continue my ‘no dig’ experiments too.
It’s still bitter outside, so I’ll chit these tubers in a cool and bright room until milder temperatures return. And planted at the end of March or the beginning of April, these groovy spuds should be ready (weather permitting) to harvest in August and September.
Salad Blue seed potatoes can be bought from Carroll’s Heritage Potatoes and Pennard Plants.
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Posted in 'How to', Books, Vegetables, tagged Community gardening in London, gardening in small spaces, Growing veg in your front garden, How to get to know your neighbours through gardening, How to set up a community veg growing project, NAomi Schillinger, Veg Street-Grow your own community on March 4, 2013 |
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Congratulations to Peonies and polaroids, Skavop, Ffondant Marge and The Sneaky Magpie! Yours were the first four names out of the hat and books will indeed be winging their way to you.
Commiserations to everyone else-sorry that I can’t send you all a copy. I’ve really enjoyed reading everyone’s plans for the season ahead and after a cool start to the year, I’m now chomping at the bit to get sowing some seeds.
Veg Street is published this Thursday 7th March and books can be ordered now online. So here’s a taste of what’s in the book. There’s plenty of growing advice and what’s good to harvest each month,
plus some great planting ideas that I’ve picked up on my travels visiting other gardens.
As well as fruit and veg, there’s lots of information on plants to attract pollinators and gorgeous edible flowers
and every month, amongst the planting tips and ideas of what to grow, there’ll be loads of advice on how to start up a community scheme in your own area.
I’ve had huge fun writing the book and I love seeing pictures of all my neighbours who are all part of our community veg growing scheme as I flick through the pages.
If you want to find out more, here’s a few reviews from fellow bloggers: Michelle at Veg Plotting, Charlotte’s Plot, Wellywoman and Caro at Urban Veg Patch and a lovely article about urban growing in the Sunday Telegraph.
Wishing you all a great growing year ahead!
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