Down on the Allotment

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

Monday, December 06, 2010

Frost Hardy?

I went outside today to dig up one of my 'Oarsman' leeks for lunch. I was disappointed to see that they do not appear to be as frost hardy as I would like. Here in West London we've only had half an inch of snow and it has been a few degrees below freezing for about a week. I'm sure that my old favourite 'Musselburgh' would have fared better. It was also my intention to loosen the soil around any veggies that I intend to dig up for Christmas. It looks as if this freezing weather from Siberia is set to stay for quite a few weeks. I took the opportunity to dig down under the leeks and just leave them loose in the soil. I suggest if you are intending to dig parsnips, carrots or anything else for Christmas.. you do the same.
Having said all that, these 'Oarsman' leeks have a lovely thick shaft which has not been damaged by the frost too much. The taste was superb. Just one of these leeks was enough for 3 people! - that's hungry, veggie-eating people to boot!
I can clearly see the benefits here of buying expensive F1 hybrid seed for this variety, but all things considered - I'll stick to Musselburgh next year. One of the main reasons I grow leeks is that they are a fantastic standby all Winter long. When everything else has deserted the patch - leeks are there for you!
These hardy Winter cos lettuce are ready to be planted out into growbags in the greenhouse. They will grow slowly, but next February or March they will be romping away.
No such problems with my Brussels sprouts 'Bosworth'. I cut the tops of last week, and the leaves are drooping a bit in this frost, but they are protecting the sprouts which look right on schedule for the 25th!

15 Comments:

At 8:26 PM, Blogger Peggy said...

Hi Matron, good idea to loosen the soil around the veg as they are frozen into the ground as it is.Sprouts are looking good!The important part of the leek is Ok and they have a good length of white. I had monkfish recently on a bed of leeks and white sauce and it was delicious.

 
At 8:29 PM, Blogger Dan said...

The ground is pretty hard here too! I am hoping for a thaw so I can dig the rest of the root crops. That leek looks exceptional!

 
At 8:43 PM, Blogger mangocheeks said...

Your brussels sprouts look chubby and fantastic. I'd be so happy to swap the weahter with you - enough snow already!

 
At 9:26 PM, Blogger Mal's Allotment said...

Living within a country mile of Musslburgh I always grow these runty leeks. Unusually this week they are completly submerged.I'll let you know how they fare. The snow can ward off the worst of the frost. It's a bit late for loosening the soil here but I have dug parsnips through the snow before now.

 
At 4:59 AM, Blogger Keats The Sunshine Girl said...

Those brussel sprouts look great. I learned to eat them when I was in the UK many years back. And look forward to them especially when Xmas comes along.

 
At 7:07 AM, Blogger Ruth@VS said...

Yep, I'll be out later this week loosening up the soil too when it gets a bit warmer. Most of my leeks did survive complete burial in the snow last winter, so mine should be fine in the smaller snowfall (so far!). With the warnings about no brussels for christmas, it's nice to have your own!

 
At 7:47 AM, Blogger vrtlarica said...

That is a very good idea to loosen the soil around veggies. Once it is frozen, there in not much you can do except to wait.
You can grow beautiful leeks.

 
At 9:05 AM, Blogger Green Lane Allotments said...

We've popped straw around the base of our parsnips - last year it kept the soil around them diggable in freezing weather. Hope it works again this year.

Wish our sprouts had grown

 
At 11:01 AM, Blogger Jo said...

Looks like your Christmas dinner is on schedule. Your sprouts look fantastic, mine were resigned to the compost last year and I haven't bothered this year.

 
At 1:29 PM, Blogger Theanne and Baron... said...

Your leeks look wonderfully healthy...I've never eaten leeks and wondered how you fix yours. How grand that you have brussel sprouts...I haven't had any for ages...buying them at the grocery would probably be disappointing, home grown always have the best flavor. Loosing soil around veggies such a good idea!

 
At 1:45 PM, Blogger Vegetable Heaven said...

Sprouts do look good. I often think old varieties (like Musselbrough leek) are hard to beat.

 
At 3:31 PM, Blogger Carrie said...

oh i am a musselburgh girl through and through! and looseing the soil does sound very clever but it's far to dangerous to go our alloments so fingers crossed everything can just hang in there and look after itself - eek!

 
At 4:45 PM, Blogger Haddock said...

That is some real good information.

 
At 8:37 PM, Blogger Rob said...

Musselbrough for me every time.
Rob

 
At 3:07 PM, Blogger Thomas said...

Wow! That is one monster leek! Hopefully one day my garden will be able to produce something that big.

Oh, and your Brussel sprouts look wonderful.

 

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