TopVeg – growing veg,fruit&herbs

May 11, 2013

Beetroot

Filed under: Chef's Plot, root veg, unusual veg — Tags: — TopVeg @ 8:42 pm

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

April 24, 2011

Asparagus Time!

Filed under: unusual veg — Tags: — TopVeg @ 6:02 pm

Asparagus time seems to have come early this year. Luckily the patch was sprayed with Roundup just before the first spears emerged. Now we have a weed-free asparagus bed, and the spears emerge quite quickly with this bit of sun.

ASPARAGUS-IN-GROUND

ASPARAGUS-IN-GROUND

We like asparagus steamed for 10 minutes then topped with a poached egg. Out to supper last night, we had asparagus wrapped with bacon and grilled – delicious! My other favourite is asparagus quiche – but that takes a bit more time!

April 19, 2009

Tips on Fennel Storage

Filed under: unusual veg — Tags: , — TopVeg @ 5:20 pm

Rob has asked for tips on Fennel Storage:

Have you any tips on storage ?
Do you dig as required, will they tolerate frost if left in the ground ?
Can they be stored like onions ?
I would welcome your advice !

We asked our ‘Fennel Expert’ John Oldham for his advice & he has kindly replied:

Florence Fennel is definitely best dug and eaten fresh. Ours has been sown end-June in modules, planted out one week ago. It will just about tolerate a slight frost. Have never tried freezing it but don’t think it is a good idea, especially as the plants mature over a period and can therefore be harvested in succession.

Thanks John for that advice. You can’t beat the taste of vegetables straight from the ground.

* trim & cut into slices
* blanch for 3 minutes
* place in freezer in plastic bags

To cook from frozen:

* boil for 8 minutes
* add to stews whilst still frozen.

Click this link for information on  How to Grow Florence Fennel.

The best tips on Fennel storage come from John Oldham, who says there is no need to store as plants mature over a period and can therefore be harvested in succession.

How to Cook Asparagus Peas

Filed under: unusual veg — Tags: , , — TopVeg @ 5:18 pm

Paul has  sent in this idea for how to cook asparagus peas:

    Hi, I’m a chef up on the Isle of Lewis and have just received my
    first crop of locally grown asparagus peas. I use around 95% of
    locally grown produce from the usual run of the mill stuff, up to
    the weird and wonderful. With the asparagus peas I’m just going to
    simply flash fry them in truffle butter and simply serve them with
    monkfish, lovely..

Thanks Paul – sounds delicious!

frilly-asparagus-pea-pod

frilly-asparagus-pea-pod

flowering-asparagus-pea

flowering-asparagus-pea

The peas were sown  on 10th April. TopVeg has not grown the asparagus pea before and is our entry for the Growing Challenge

March 6, 2009

Record size Pumpkins

Filed under: unusual veg — Tags: — TopVeg @ 4:33 pm

Europe’s largest-ever vegetable is a 1,341lb pumpkin, grown in a
purpose-built polytunnel at Worgret Manor Farm in Wareham, Dorset by
father and son farmers Mark and Frank Baggs.

The record pumpkin needed:

* 80 gallons of water a day
* six tonnes of manure
* lots of sun, showers and humidity

The world’s heaviest-ever pumpkin weighed in at 1,502lbs and was grown by Ron Wallace of Rhode Island, USA.

March 2, 2009

Butternut Squash Seeds.

Filed under: unusual veg — Tags: , , — TopVeg @ 6:23 pm

The time to sow Butternut Squash seed is when both the air and the soil
have noticeably warmed up and the risk of frosts is past. But it is
possible to start squash seed indoors 4 to 6 weeks earlier.

The seed will only germinate in temperatures over 60F, & the shoot will
take between 1 & 2 weeks to emerge.

If starting off indoors:

* plant 3 seeds in a plant pot (10cm in diameter), point bit facing up.
* Cover with some clingfilm and put on a frost-free window sill.
* Remove the weakest seedlings to leave the strongest 1 or 2 in the pot.
* They will be ready to plant out when they have 3 leaves.
* Don’t rush because squash like warm soil and will be killed by frost.
* Introduce them to outside conditions gradually, by putting the
pots outside during the day for a bit, so they harden off.

March 1, 2009

How To Grow Pumpkins In Your Vegetable Garden

Filed under: unusual veg — Tags: , — TopVeg @ 6:45 am

How To Grow Pumpkins In Your Vegetable Garden

By Dave Truman

Pumpkins are great for a number of purposes. They can be used to make a great pie, and of course there’s the traditional Halloween decoration. Fortunately, growing good ones takes only a modest amount of knowledge and care.

As with any vegetable or fruit, preparing the soil properly is paramount. Use a soil testing kit to make sure the pH is about 6.0, a little more alkaline than many vegetables see as ideal. pH can be adjusted up or down with sulfur or lime. A soil temperature of about 60F/15.5C is best.

Good drainage is important for growing good pumpkins. Too much clay in the earth will retain excess moisture. Soil that is too sandy will lose water. A good sandy loam is best. You can adjust the consistency by adding compost, breaking up clay, adding topsoil and other common methods.

From Seed to Vegetable

Planting in small mounds is a favorite technique. Be sure to leave plenty of space from one plant to the next, though. Pumpkins grow large and they like to have lots of sunshine, water and earth all to their own. From 4-6 feet (1-2 m) apart is best. If you like to plant in rows, keep those 6-8 feet (2-2.5 m) apart. The surrounding ground should not be planted with other vegetables.

Daily watering would be overdoing it for these plants. But when you do water, make it ample. Pumpkins like a good soaking that puts water down deep into the soil. Provided you have soil that drains properly, a drip irrigation system will put plenty down where it needs to go.

Some Concerns and Remedies

That style of watering will also help avoid some of the common diseases that attack pumpkins, such as downy mildew. It’s caused by the Pseudoperonospora cubensis fungus and growth is encouraged when the temperatures are lower and the leaves are moist. It will appear as yellow spots on the foliage. As the disease progresses it turns brown, then black. Along with proper watering practices, ample space encourages good air flow, which helps to reduce the odds of disease.

Powdery mildew is a similar problem, caused by a different type of fungus. It appears as a white mold on the leaves. Unlike downy mildew, however, this type tends to occur in warmer weather. But it is encouraged by the same bad watering methods. That’s actually good, since one good technique can combat multiple problems. Compost tea is useful for these problems, too.

Unfortunately, fungi aren’t the only enemies of pumpkins. Cucumber beetles are a common pest for this plant. Squash bugs also like pumpkins a little too much. Thick mulch helps minimize their ability to lay eggs.

Many growers will plant ‘trap crops’ to lure the insects to sacrificial plants in order to retain the more valued pumpkins. Companion plants such as catnip, marigolds and mint will help keep the squash bugs at bay, for example.

With a little care pumpkins will be ready for harvest in 3-4 months. Then you can carve one up and have pumpkin pie just in time for Halloween.

July 28, 2008

Grow Heart Shaped Cucumbers

Filed under: unusual veg — Tags: , — TopVeg @ 3:20 pm

Bring out the romance, and grow some heart shaped cucumbers!

The Japan Trend Shop

sells a heart shaped mould set, which is fixed onto the young growing
cucumber to determine its final shape.

The heart shaped mould sets make a great gift for the greenhouse
gardener who has everything!

The ultimate dinner ingredient must be a home- grown heart shaped cucumber!

Grow Heart Shaped Cucumbers

Filed under: unusual veg — Tags: — TopVeg @ 6:09 am
heart-shaped-cucumber

heart-shaped-cucumber

Bring out the romance, and grow some heart shaped cucumbers!

The Japan Trend Shop sells a heart shaped mould set, which is fixed onto the young growing cucumber to determine its final shape.

The heart shaped mould sets make a great gift for the greenhouse
gardener who has everything!

The ultimate dinner ingredient must be a home- grown heart shaped cucumber!

July 20, 2008

Asparagus Pea Week 14

Filed under: unusual veg — Tags: — TopVeg @ 2:48 pm

The asparagus peas have come to harvest in week 14.

asparagus-pea-wk14

asparagus-pea-wk14

The pods are difficult to see, so harvesting is slow. The pods have
frilly edges and should be picked when they are about an inch long.

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