Down on the Allotment

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

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Looking Forward

If you enjoy growing veggies then you will have to get used to waiting... several months or years before you see the fruits of your labour. This is particularly true of brassicas. This is very late this year, I have just heard on the news today that up to 50% of the UK crop of PSB has been destroyed by the very harsh Winter we have just had. I planted these broccoli seeds almost a year ago! Purple Sprouting Broccoli 'Rudolph' is one of my favourites. Here they are yesterday. It is tempting to cut just one or two sprouts just for an early taste. I think I will have to wait a couple of weeks before giving in. We had a beautiful sunny day yesterday, just the thing to get them growing.
My Rhubarb is starting early this year. I gave them several inches of well rotted manure compost a few weeks ago. I think the long, hard Winter has given them a nice, long dormant period in which to produce these lovely, fat shoots. The second patch I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I dug up, separated and re-planted 3 spindly little growths. These are streets ahead!
You might remember I planted a specially prepared potato to dig up on Christmas Day. Well, I have just planted one ultra early 'Rocket' seed potato in a pot in the heated propagator in the greenhouse. Just an experiment to see if I can grow an early crop in the greenhouse.
Another trial of something new this year. I have been a big fan of Medwyn Williams for a long time. Medwyn has produced show vegetables at the RHS Show at Chelsea for many, many years. He has won more gold medals at Chelsea than I could shake a stick at! I thought I would try a Butternut Squash 'Hunter' that does really well in the UK climate. Last year at Chelsea I saw him displaying a brand new cucumber 'Delizia' and I couldn't wait to obtain seeds.
They seem to be fairly similar to my furry cucumber 'Bari' that I tried last year. This type of cucumber seems to be small, light in colour, and fairly closely related to a melon.
These are the new 'Delizia' cucumbers from Medwyn's. I look forward to growing them.

17 Comments:

At 9:58 AM, Blogger Vegetable Heaven said...

I've just planted 3 Arran Pilot in a shrub tub in the greenhouse. I do this mid February each year and it's a really great feeling (smug mode!) to eat your first new potatoes in May.

It's lovely to start sowing again, isn't it?

 
At 10:02 AM, Blogger Jo said...

No psb for me this year. It's the first time I've grown it, and to be honest I haven't looked after it very well, but it seems the hungry pigeons like it too. I'll remember to net it next time. I love seeing Medwyn Williams exhibits, always wonderful.

 
At 1:49 PM, Anonymous kitsapFG said...

My cole crops are growing on in seedling trays in my shop (under lights and on a heat mat). In about a month from now they will be ready to go into the garden and the real gardening season get's underway! No PSB in my line up but they sure are a pretty vegetable.

 
At 3:53 PM, Blogger Bangchik said...

A year for broccoli.. hmmm, that's quite a wait!... I grew cabbages once, they took half of the time. Great looking harvest you have there...

 
At 4:39 PM, Blogger Donna said...

I really envy your climate, to be able to start vegies so early. Here in Canada it will be sometime in April before I can even put anything in a coldframe!

 
At 6:12 PM, Blogger Theanne and Baron said...

I'm so happy for you Matron and for everyone who can get out in their greenhouses and out in their gardens to start the veggies growing again. It's so exciting to see seed planted, grow and produce delightful veggies to be joyfully eaten. I'm very hopeful for your spindly rhubarb that you dug, divided and replanted. The one with fat stalks is beautiful...love the color! Can't wait to see the new butternut squash and cucumber produce. And the potato in your greenhouse! Wishing you a cheerful day!

 
At 8:40 PM, Blogger Peggy said...

We grew PSB one year and nursed it through winter for very little return so it never got ground space again!Although reading your post maybe we began picking it too early!

 
At 2:02 PM, Blogger Nome said...

I've never seen anything like those furry cucumbers before! Fascinating!

My PSB hasn't fared too well in the winter weather either - it may have more than a little to do with my brassica cage collapsing on it... I think one plant has made it through though so fingers crossed...

 
At 6:09 PM, Blogger fer said...

So cool seeing all the veggies start. I still have some seedlings waiting, but I am sure they will come up soon too.

 
At 11:42 PM, Anonymous Mark said...

Never seen furry cucumbers before! Do you eat the skin or do you have to remove it?

 
At 9:40 AM, Blogger Matron said...

Mark, you won't have seen this before because it is a variety that was found being grown by a family in Bari, Italy. The fur is easily wiped off with a finger. Most melons and curcurbits have this covering when growing, just not to the extent that this variety does.

 
At 10:00 PM, Blogger Rob said...

Our purple sprouting broccoli has been hammered by the cold winter. I was so looking forward to it.
The hens will enjoy leaves.

 
At 2:59 AM, Blogger Lexa said...

Matron- Your PSB is looking wonderful - Good for you! And I am excited to see how you do with your new seeds. It is always so much fun to grow a few new things each year. I sure do love my Butternut Squash that I grow.

 
At 2:58 PM, Blogger Dan said...

That PSB looks excellent. I tried growing them here without much luck. They don't seem to like freeze/thaw cycles.

 
At 9:43 PM, Anonymous Damo said...

Those cucumbers look good, best of luck with them. And your PSB is doing well, my white sprouting died but 2 purple are left but no signs yet. One to look forward to!

 
At 9:47 AM, Blogger Plantaliscious said...

Fun looking cucumbers! Maybe next year. Good to hear that 'Rudolph' survived the winter and that you think it tasty, it is one of the ones I plan to try.

 
At 1:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow!! love to browse through ur website and see all the beautiful vege and fruit pictures. i envy you so much for you have green fingers. keep up the good work and post more colourful pictures. =D

 

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