Down on the Allotment

What's happening down on the allotment? An intimate account of a passionate veggie grower.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Rainbow Lights!

No, Matron hasn't been hit on the head or had a 60s trip... I'm referring to the wonderful psychadelic 'Rainbow Lights' Swiss chard which are the stars of the show at the moment. This poor specimen is another of Matron's sorry carrots! One at a time dear reader.. it might be too much of a shame to bear! I love growing Rainbow Lights Swiss Chard, it is such a good do-er right the way through Winter. I will have such a stunning show of colours like this!


Meanwhile elsewhere on the plot I have a fabulous patch of fresh Parsley. I've been thinking of meals to cook whereby parsley is the main ingredient. Cod fillet with parsely sauce and mashed potato (and wonky carrots!). Gammon with parsley sauce and pease pudding. I think I am going to make a makeshift cloche to put over this patch over Winter. I know it is fairly hardy but I would love to keep using it right the way through Winter - I love it!
Almost every day I am down on the patch having a look to see if I can see any purple sprouts in the middle of my broccoli plant! This variety Rudolph is one of the extra early varieties and should be starting to crop in December or January. I can't wait!
My Isle of Wight garlic is getting away nicely. This is the Early Purple variety.
Someone told me that you can put small plastic drinks bottles over garlic at this time of year to help them through the Winter. I thought I might use some sticks and fleece protection. Does anyone have any tips? Anything welcome because my garlic usually ends up the size of conkers!

17 Comments:

At 9:28 PM, Blogger BilboWaggins said...

My Rainbow Lights swiss chard is still growing brilliantly but the seeds came from Flummery so I should not be surprised.

Thanks for the reminder to make a cloche for the parlsey, I'd like to give mine a bit of protection before winter sets in. Bit too wet to get out there now though.

 
At 1:49 AM, Blogger Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

I love the Swiss Chard. I wish I would've tried veggies for a fall garden. Yours is looking great.

 
At 1:59 AM, Anonymous kitsapFG said...

Poor little carrot! Everything else is looking super though. I love "Bright Lights" swiss chard. It's the only variety I grow any more - mild/good flavor, hardy grower, and really beautiful to look at. A winner all around.

 
At 2:45 AM, Blogger Dan said...

I am growing a similar chard this season, bright lights. It is one pretty vegetable, certainly a bright spot when the weather is so grey. I like the white one you have growing, that one is not included in my mix.

 
At 10:24 AM, Blogger Vegetable Heaven said...

My secodn sowing of Bright Lights rainbow chard is now ready for picking - we had a spring sowing which between us and the chickens (who climb on each other to get at chard, their favourite greens!) we finished it up some months ago.

I can't grow a decent carrot either, except in pots. True Confessions!

 
At 12:22 PM, Blogger Magic Cochin said...

Like you I love Swiss Chard and especially the bright colours in winter.

The tip about protecting garlic was from Bob Flowerdew on GQT - I have the same problem as you with garlic bulbs being small - so protection sounds a good idea over the winter. I suppose a netting cloche or tunnel might work too.

Celia

 
At 1:53 PM, Blogger Carrie said...

Rainbow chard is wonderful!! Yours looks great. In northern France they're used in council planting schemes everywhere for the fab colour.
I heard garlic could take a good frosting. I don't remember protecting them last year and we aren't this year either.

 
At 5:42 AM, Blogger Paula said...

If you think that carrot is bad, you should see my sorry radishes. But then, I am very new to the gardening thing, so I am cutting myself some slack, plus my soil is heavy clay and needs help, so I have to cut myself some more slack. I should have enough to hang myself now.

In other news, I'm glad that you're having such luck with your chard. I can't touch the stuff- it was the one thing that grew successfully in my mother's garden, and I got Swiss-charded to death as a kid. I still can't eat spaghetti for much the same reason.

Cheerio!

 
At 12:44 PM, Blogger vrtlarica said...

I didn’t know that there was yellow swiss chard! I’ve seen red one and white one, but this yellow is beautiful! Does it taste differently?
I definitely have to find some yellow chard seeds for spring!

 
At 9:00 PM, OpenID reapwhatyougrow said...

That chard is really worth growing for looks alone. Hope it tastes as good as it looks.

Good call about the garlic - I must remember to get some in this year! Last time I did it I didn't really weed it sufficiently, and it came out very small.

 
At 12:15 PM, OpenID livinginalocalzone said...

I love the sweetness and the color of rainbow chard. Do you know if there is any way to really preserve the color when it is cooked? It is there, but seems to get somewhat muted...

 
At 10:13 PM, Blogger clairesgarden said...

use upended wine bottles to hold your fleece up, its a nice smooth edge that wont rip the fleece.
and you have to drink quite a lot to empty them, its not an excuse, you need to.....

 
At 9:41 AM, Blogger Angie said...

Just stumbled across your blog & what a joy it is. Last night I had pasta, tuna with parsley sauce. As we are going into summer here my parsley is going to seed, so I must make masses of parsley sauce to freeze. Very interested that you live in Hillingdon (one of my ancesters died there in 1901, Syth Villa, High Road, don't suppose it's there now). His family had Down Barnes Farm in Northolt.
Love your blog, I will return!

 
At 10:12 AM, Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

We tend to put fleece over our garlic. not because of frost but winter gales here on the coast do whip it about a bit which doesn't encourage good root growth.

 
At 9:18 PM, Blogger VP said...

Garlic needs a good spell of cold weather in order to start clove formation in the bulb, so I'd hesitate to cover it with anything!

 
At 9:20 PM, Blogger VP said...

PS It's weed competition that most affects garlic size (just like onions and shallots), not cold weather over winter.

 
At 9:31 AM, Blogger gintoino said...

I use plastic bottles over the newly planted cabbages and greens to help them coping with the transplant and protect them from snails but never used them on garlic (garlic grows very well unprotected here)
I'm so envious of you broccoli!! All my brassica have been munched to death by cabbage moth caterpillars

 

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