Down on the Allotment

Matron grows vegetables and fruit in a courtyard garden. Which edibles will tolerate less than ideal growing conditions. Discovering how veggies can grow in partial shade.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Things I Wouldn't Grow Again

I love to experiment with new varieties of veggies every year. It is so important to try new things, but sometimes it doesn't turn out as well as you expected. These Bulgarian Giant Leeks were fun to grow, they really were giants, but they tasted of absolutely nothing! That's what counts in my book so I won't be growing them again.
I thought these early, cold tolerant tomatoes Sub Arctic Plenty would give me an early crop. They didn't grow well for me at all. Not even a decent crop later on. They might do well for you, but didn't live up to their promise for me.
I thought Asparagus Peas sounded interesting. Supposed to taste like asparagus. Well, you have to pick them when they are very small otherwise they get tough and stringy. There just weren't enough to bother with! They were not prolific and the winged pods had no real taste at all. The flowers were beautiful though! (but Matron doesn't do flowers!)
I thought that growing Yard Long Beans would be fun too. Sold in Asian grocers shops here in the UK these are a tropical climbing bean that are supposed to grow in the UK. Well they didn't for me. I tried several times in several ways with lots of heat and sunshine, but they didn't even get off the ground. Don't think the UK climate is appropriate for these.
It is fascinating and wonderful for me to try new things on the allotment, but it is a case of trial and error! What might not grow for me on my London clay, might do better somewhere else.


At 8:51 AM, Blogger Scarlett Cannon - Heavenly Healer Glamorous Gardener said...

I've always considered trying asparagus peas but for some reason never have, and now I probably won't bother. I tried soya beans for the first time this year which were very disappointing. Only a tiny handful of beans to show for the entire crop.

On a happier note I grew my 3 Lazy Housewife! beans with the view to increasing seed stock and now have a nice amount of seed for this year, and enjoyed eating a mini-crop of beans. A huge success. Thank you!

At 9:45 AM, Blogger Stacy Drury said...

thats what i love about it all! this year I have got 10 varietys of potatoes, only 3 are "main stream" types the rest are a gamble but one worth taking in my book becasue its ALL about the flavor, I have just writen about it have a look, my most dissapointing crop last year was my dwalf french beans as they did nothing!
I was also going to give the Sub Arctic Plent a go this year but maybe I wont now!

At 11:45 AM, Blogger Sue@G.L. Allotments said...

Yard long=beans didn't grow for me either. I don't suppose the summer we had helped.

At 4:55 PM, Blogger Ian Pearson said...

I have grown Sub-Arc.Plenty. I tried them as very early sown, and planted them outside about the start of April. I remember I got the first fruit set on the last day of April. Not big on taste or crop size though.
I agree with you on Asparagus pea. It could be a good green manure crop though.
I managed to get a crop from Yard-Longers one year. I seem to remember that I sowed them much later than other climbing beans, and it was a very warm summer. They did taste good, but were just getting started to crop when cold weather arrived and finished them off. It't be interesting to try them in a polytunnel.

At 6:31 PM, Blogger Mal's Allotment said...

Great report Matron. Experimentation is the spice of life, but you have to accept that there will be a 50% drop out rate! My rejects include pea beans, most Italian bean varieties, tomatoes (except Sungold), all aubergines, all peppers, celeriac... I could go on?

At 6:44 PM, Blogger Carrie said...

no Leek lyon 2 ' prizetaker' for me again, thank you very much - ggrrr!

At 2:14 PM, Blogger Cally said...

Thanks for the review of the tomatoes, having a shorter growing season in Scotland I'd been considering them as the answer to my tomato woes, but I won't invest all my hope in them (though may still try some time).

I was wondering if you might add your allotment to Folia the online gardening website (it's free). I'm always looking to encourage more gardeners to join and am having an extra push this week while the weather is keeping most people indoors.

It's a great resource for gardeners and has helped me keep on top of my 800+ plantings with photo's, notes, journals, milestones etc. They have an extensive plant wiki and a seed stash section where people can also list seeds for swapping. Here's the link to my Folia page so you can see how it works:

At 1:30 AM, Blogger Scarecrow said...

Ooo Matron
I have grown those leeks this year and eaten them as baby leeks and they were delicious. For a first time Leek grower (I could never get the planting timing right before) I am now inspired by your post to check out other varieties that may taste even better!!!

I think we call those yard long beans 'snake beans' over here and they do best in tropical regions so do those Asparagus peas.

Yes experimenting is valuable in these changing climatic conditions we find ourselves growing in these days...but sometimes our old favourites still give the best crops!

At 11:17 AM, Blogger Lrong said...

Had a good laugh reading your post... especially the leeks...
I grow winged beans and yard beans and we enjoy eating them all summer long... too bad they do not work that well for you...

At 1:34 PM, Blogger Theanne said...

I like that you try growing new vegetables...moving on when they don't work out for you. It will interesting to see what you pick this year for your vegetables to try!

At 3:06 AM, Blogger Wyatt said...

We always try new varieties each year too. Some hits, some misses....our favorite new seed last year, Minnesota Midget Melons. Prolific baseball sized melons, sweet and tasty. But they all came ripe at once!

Wyatt's mom

At 6:12 AM, Blogger Isab said...

I tried asparagus peas too last year and had tthe same reaction. Beautiful flowers, concerns that next year I'd have to double or triple the space given to them to get a decent crop, and disappointment over the flavour.

I did use smaller late pods as decoration in a salad where they could look interesting and exotic for my guests but I masked the lack of taste with vinaigrette.

I've moved house this winter and will create a number of smaller patches around the garden rather than have one large plot (ok, who am I kidding apart from my fiancée, I'll have the large plot as well). So I might be tempted to finish off the packet in the kitchen/herb/salad patch by the back door to add some mid-height plants and as a conversation piece.

Thanks for the warning on the giant leeks, they were on my list this year.

Great blog, thank you.

At 5:53 PM, OpenID foodfarmliberty said...

Thanks for the review on the asparagus beans. I saw them for the first time in one of my seed catalogs and thought they looked interesting...not really, I just want asparagus! LOL! I won't bother with them now.

At 9:47 AM, Blogger Steve said...

I though I would try leeks last year after seeing so many great specimen's on other blogs. I now realise that it must be the first food that doesn't agree with me, so they are off the list for this year.

At 10:52 AM, Anonymous Rooko said...

I tried Yard Long Beans last year, without success. I reckon it was due to lack of tropical conditions here?


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