The beetroot that was sown in the Plot 14 days ago is just emerging. The variety sown was Bulls Blood. The leaves of this variety are as valuable as the beet. The leaves can be eaten in salads, and are very colourful. The leaves can also be steamed and eaten hot.
The temperatures have been unusually cold so it took 14 days for the beetroot to emerge in the Plot.
The Chef has planted one row of Nandor carrots in the Plot.
Nandor is a first class F1 carrot variety which produces high quality carrots.
Nandor carrots are:
- very uniform and stumpy
- with a clean, smooth skin
- a deep orange colour
- cylindrical roots 15 – 18 cm long and 2.5 – 4 cm in diameter
- strong in the top
- easy to pull out of the ground
- resistant to carrot fly
Nandor carrots taste sweet and have a wonderful flavour. They are very good cooked or eaten raw in salads.
The latin name of carrot is Daucus carota. Nandor is a popular variety of carrot.
One row of beetroot was sown in the Plot this morning.
The seeds were sown:
- in a shallow row
- 1cm deep
- 15cm apart
The seeds were covered lightly with soil and watered in.
The variety of beetroot was Bulls Blood, a heritage variety introduced in 1840 which has:
- vivid burgundy leaves
- baby leaves which add colour to salads
- fat round purple beetroots
Bulls Blood beetroot seeds are available from the Telegraph Garden Shop.
Planting beetroot now will ensure a supply of beet for summer salads
Gill has just sent in this photo saying :
Proof that if I can grow a prize winning carrot and parsnip anyone can!! You can use on TopVeg as proof of how helpful your website is : )
Thanks Gill! I know you took up vegetable gardening four years ago. Haven't you done well! Your photo will inspire new gardeners - knowing that anyone can grow carrots & parsnips!
Shakespeare is a good variety of onion to plant as sets in the autumn.
shakespear autumn planting
Onion sets are very small bulbs which will grow into mature onions. Onion sets are often planted instead of onion seeds as they are thought to produce bigger onions.
Shakespeare - this variety of onion has:
- dark brown skins
- excellent skin quality
- good sized bulbs
- stores well
- harvest from early July
- over winters well
Planting site: Firm, well drained soil in full sun. Do not apply farm yard manure to the soil before planting onions. Onion sets grow well in raised beds, in fact they prefer this to wet ground.
Planting method: Plant the sets so that the tip of bulb is just protruding through the soil surface.
Plant in rows with a space of 10cm (4”) between each bulb, and 30cm (12”) between each row.
onion rows marked out
Shakespeare onions are an autumn planting set.
Carol has asked if it is possible to cook beetroot in the microwave.
We think it is much quicker & easier to microwave beetroot. Boiling takes so long!
Put 4 egg-sized beet in a microwaveable bowl, add about 3 tablespoons of water and cover. Microwave on full power for about 8 minutes, turning half way through cooking. Remove the beet from the oven & rest for 2 minutes. Drain then cool the beet in cold water.
Has anyone else tried microwaving beetroot?
We have joined the Gro-Sure Challenge!
The Levis leek seed we have just sown were particularly easy to plant because:
- the seed have a clay or polymer coating making them larger and easier to handle than the normal tiny seeds – & they don’t blow about!
- seeds are coated blue – easy to see & easy to space in the row.
It was such a relief to have a stress-free leek sowing session that I took another look at the packet. They came in a Gro-sure packet so I decided to look Gro-Sure up to see what it meant– I am usually more sceptical of gimmicks!
Apparently, Gro-sure seeds have been selected to provide:
- high germination
- disease resistance
- increased yields
- high quality
- longer flowering periods
- less bolting
If Gro-sure seeds fail to please, you get your money back!
The Gro-sure Challenge involves “trying Unwins Gro-sure seeds and seeing what great results you can achieve”! There are monthly prizes to be won – so we have joined the Gro-sure challenge & here’s hoping!
The craze for growing mammoth onions continues. In fact the size of the ‘biggest’onion is increasing.
In 1975, the world’s heaviest onion weighed 4lb 15oz. The record onion in 2010 is 16lb 8oz!!
William Robinson started the craze 100 years ago when he began developing giant vegetables on his father’s nursery. He prefixed all his large vegetables with ‘Mammoth’. Onions were one example of his mammoth veg. The seed company grew and W Robinson & Son still sell the mammoth seeds, including onions, all over the world.
Eliza has experienced leek rust for the first time & has asked TopVeg how this can be avoided next year.
For the first year ever, our leeks have rust disease. Have you any advise for the prevention of this disease for next season? Also is it OK to eat the parts of the leeks that aren’t affected by the rust, i.e. the white part?
Would appreciate your comments
We are sorry to hear about your rust problems on leeks. How bad is it? Mild symptoms do not render the crop inedible – we just cut the affected leaves off before cooking. The white bit will be fine.
There are several rust resistant leek varieties, such as Bandit.
Causes of leek rust are:
- * crowded plants
* high humidity
* excessive soil nitrogen
* insufficient soil potassium
* poor garden hygiene – all plant debris must be removed from the beds so that the fungus has nowhere to hide. Burn effected leaves rather than putting them on the compost heap, just in case the heap does not heat up enough to destroy the spores.
When the onion foliage bends over and turns yellowy, it is almost time to harvest onions. Leave them for two weeks, and then pull them on a dry day.
The bulbs must be mature if the harvested onions are going to be stored. Leave the pulled onions to dry and ripen
The skin of the onion will turn shiny as it ripens, then it will be fit to store.
If the weather is set fair the onions can be left outside to dry and ripen:
- lifted up so that the air can circulate round them, such as tied to the washing line or sat on netting
If it is a damp time, it is safer to move the onions under cover, where they can be hung up in an airy, dry place.
Onions can be stored in a cool shed or garage. The conditions necessary for onion storage are:
- good air circulation
- cool temperature
- dry air
Store onions in:
- hessian sacks
- plaits – using their foliage to make the plaits, then hang the onion ropes up
Onions with thick, fleshy necks will not keep & should be eaten first and not stored.
If onions are not completely dry when they are put into storage there is a risk that they will develop neck rot. This is when a fungus starts to develop around the neck area and gradually rots the onion from the neck down. Onions must be checked for Neck Rot (latin name – Botrytis allii, B. squamosa and B. cinerea) regularly in storage, & removed, because the rotting onions will destroy other onion bulbs in storage.
White onion varieties are more susceptible to neck rot, but red and yellow varieties may suffer. Garlic, shallots, chives, and leeks are also affected by neck rot.