Down on the Allotment

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

Thursday, March 25, 2010

More First Pickings!

I couldn't wait to taste my rhubarb. It has been growing about an inch a day at the moment and each day I went out to pick some, I decided to leave it one more day... till now! This patch is 4 years old this year, and just coming into full productive adulthood. A friend gave me some crowns 4 years ago and I left them without picking any the first year, only a couple of stalks the 2nd year, and moderate picking last year. I stop picking after about June to let the plant grow and feed the crowns.
So I pulled 4 sticks today. They have to be pulled from the base and not broken off. These were cleaned, chopped and microwaved with some sugar and some orange zest. It was fabulous! Not a hint of sour or acid flavours. Just so sweet and delicious this time of year. As the season progresses the flavour will develop more acid, but today was heaven!
My Isle of Wight garlic is going great guns too! This was the last year I was going to try growing garlic because up till now I had failures each time. I have just given them a dressing of blood, fish and bonemeal. These are good seed stock, appropriate for the British climate, and planted in Autumn to get a head start before Winter. I left them completely uncovered all Winter and this apparently, helps them develop a good bulb later on. We shall see!
I planted out the first sowing of my broad beans this week. The neighbourhood cats thought it would be funny to dig them all up last night and poo all over the patch...grrrr. This is the cleaned up version!
A double treat this lunch time because my PSB has started full production. Curious goings-on among my broccoli this year... from the same seed packet 'Rudolph' I have a couple of large heads - like calabrese.
These are much larger than I usually get with purple sprouting broccoli. On the same patch I have two white sprouting broccoli plants which will not be ready for a couple of weeks yet.
And this particular plant is a mystery to me.. look closely between the purple florets and you will see that it has little red-ish yellow knobs. I don't think they are yellow flowers breaking because they have been this colour since the small heads were developing. Every floret on this particular plant has this feature. hmmm
A mystery... anyone have any ideas! Any knowledge of plant genetics?

16 Comments:

At 6:17 PM, Blogger Peggy said...

Hi matron,thanks for the rhubarb advice on my blog, I have one crown which is 4 years old and I was not aware that it did not ocme into full production until then!Lots of stalks but none long enought to pull yet so you are way ahead of us.

 
At 7:22 PM, Blogger Robert said...

I've just replanted my broadies after losing the first lot to slugs. After surviving that cold in pots as well! My rhubarb has only just started growing; it's going to be a month or so yet.

 
At 7:46 PM, Anonymous chris said...

lovely, lovely looking rhubarb. I've put some in this year, I can't wait... only 1095 days to go ;)

Chris (blog.bellmeadowallotment.co.uk)

 
At 8:04 PM, Blogger Magic Cochin said...

Wow! Your rhubarb looks gorgeous. Have you ever tried it in a savoury dish - The Great Big Vegetable Challenge featured a recipe, it's delicious.

As for the broccoli - I think it's all to do with 'fasciation'. In fact the broccoli flower heads are a sort of controlled fasciation - it means the growing tips mutate and produce fat distorted clusters. It looks like one has mutated even more, making those dense clusters of flower buds lacking the normal colours.

Celia

 
At 8:27 PM, Blogger Cabbage Tree Farm said...

I love rhubarb, isn't it delicious!
No ideas on your broccoli though sorry.

 
At 9:09 PM, Blogger John said...

Mmmm looks tasty, especially the rhubarb.

 
At 11:08 PM, Blogger Hazel said...

I think that your rhubarb is about a couple of weeks in front of ours here in the Midlands - I'm eyeing it up every time I visit the Hill...

Your garlic is going great guns - I suspect that your soil is rather heavy for it, but the prolonged cold will have done the plants nothing but good, I'm sure.

 
At 11:31 PM, Blogger Mal's Allotment said...

Oh Matron,

We're tucking into our first rhubarb crumble this weekend, but then we've forced ours. Out "in the wild" there's no action to date. Looks like you've pipped us to the post.

Dead jealous.

Mal

 
At 1:37 AM, Anonymous kitsapFG said...

I have been doing the same thing with my rhubarb... "one more day... just wait a bit". Not for much longer though it is beautiful and ready to harvest.

No idea on the PSB! Sorry.

 
At 9:33 AM, Blogger Vegetable Heaven said...

Rhubarb way behind here - I envy you every season!

My neighbour's PSB has looked a bit similar to your strange head - it was damaged by pigeons earlier - we saw them do it! Could this have caused damage to the growing point of the little flower buds?

Cats - have you tried putting holly branches (hard on you too!) or wooden barbecue skewers amonsgst your plantings? The cats won't sit down there so it doesn't harm them.

 
At 11:24 AM, Blogger Carrie said...

I'm fast falling out of love with you ;) Wow, to the rhubarb (see mine on today's blog - it's only 2 years old though), my garlic was fabulous, til I saw yours and then, then you throw in the PSB!! You know how I feel about this; are you trying yo make me cry????

Jealous but pleased for you too xx

 
At 1:09 PM, Blogger clairesgarden said...

wow, how far ahead a few degrees of temerature takes you, very jealous!

 
At 9:01 PM, Blogger Karen Whittal said...

I am green with envy, born in England live in South Africa where just can't grow rubbarb... i can just taste it....

 
At 4:18 PM, Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Our Rudolph has the same thing! little yellow-orange-red florets in amongst the purple. First year I've seen it like this. It seems to taste all right ...

 
At 6:56 PM, OpenID reapwhatyougrow said...

Ooh, I think we are technically further south than you are, but our rhubarb isn't ready yet. You must have an earlier hybrid, or better luck! Still, I will definitely think about pencilling it in for an Easter pudding!

 
At 4:38 PM, Anonymous ninasgardeningnotebook said...

Our PSB also has the same thing, I think this was Rudolph as well. It's the first year we've grown it so I thought it was normal! Very jealous of your garlic, I missed autumn planting this year so have only just planted mine.

 

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