TopVeg – growing veg,fruit&herbs

July 17, 2008


Filed under: unusual veg — Tags: , , — TopVeg @ 8:37 am


Stop cutting asparagus before the longest day in June, so that the spears can develop into fern. The fern will produce food for the root crowns,which acts as a food reserve for next year’s crop.

    * remove weeds by hand to keep the asparagus bed clean
    * provide support for the stems if necessary
    * water during dry weather
    * remove berries before they fall off the asparagus fern onto the ground
    * cut down the asparagus fern in the autumn when it turns yellow

July 1, 2008

Asparagus Peas are Flowering

Filed under: unusual veg — Tags: , — TopVeg @ 1:59 pm


  The asparagus peas have grown vigorously in the last week and they are
now flowering.





The brick red pea-like flowers make them a very attractive part of the
vegetable garden.



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

Harvest should not be too far away now that the asparagus peas are

October 24, 2007

Growing Sweetcorn in Containers

Filed under: unusual veg — Tags: , , , — TopVeg @ 10:28 pm




Growing sweetcorn in troughs can produce large cobs, if the containers are deep enough.
The tubs should be at least 18inches deep, to allow the sweetcorn roots
to develop. The troughs must have holes at the bottom, to allow water to
drain away.

A 5 inch layer of Farm Yard Manure, at the bottom of the trough, gives
the roots something to go down into. Cover the manure with compost.
Vermiculite and sand can be mixed with the compost, so that the trough
is filled with a light, free draining growing medium.



Choose an early variety of sweetcorn and start the plants off under glass.
Plant them out when the weather is sure to remain warm.

Keep the Sweet corn well watered. It is important that the soil does not
dry out between watering, so in a dry period the corn needs more
frequent watering. Once the tassels appear, the sweetcorn needs at least
one inch of water per week.

The advantage of growing sweetcorn in containers is that the pot can
often be tucked into a sheltered suntrap.

As sweetcorn is a sub-tropical plant it likes plenty of sunlight and
continual warmth.

October 23, 2007

Growing Sweetcorn in the Vegetable Garden

Filed under: unusual veg — Tags: , — TopVeg @ 10:36 pm


Sunlight and warmth are essential for growing sweetcorn successfully in the
vegetable garden.
Start the sweetcorn seeds off in the greenhouse, or on the windowsill,
and transfer them into the garden when the weather is set to be very
warm and all chances of frost have gone. This is usually early June. The
sweetcorn plants will then romp away. Sweetcorn must keep growing,
without any interruptions.

*Soil for sweetcorn should be light and well drained. Unless the
vegetable garden is very light, it is best to dig a trench about two
feet deep. There must be no compaction at the bottom of the trench. Fill
the trench almost to the top with compost. Add some vermiculite to
lighten the soil and help with drainage. Dig in a little farm yard
manure. Cover with a layer of sand, and mix this in to lighten the soil.
This trench will provide a light, free draining medium for the sweetcorn



for the sweetcorn will come from the prepared trench. Sweetcorn uses
masses of potash, which it will get from the compost. The corn needs a
little nitrogen which will come from the farm yard manure around the
roots. The small amount of phosphate necessary will be in the compost.

*Plant sweetcorn in blocks, not rows, as they are pollinated by wind
not insects so if they are in rows, the chances are the wind will blow
the pollen away. If you plant them in blocks there’s a much better
chance of pollination occurring

*Watering Sweet corn is vital to produce full, healthy ears. Once the
tassels appear, the sweetcorn needs at least one inch of water per week.
It is important that the soil does not dry out between watering, so in a
dry period the corn needs more frequent watering.

* Sweetcorn varieties grown in the vegetable garden are of the flint
type – shaped like a tooth. It is important to choose an early variety
if it is growing in the UK, where the summers are short. There are some
new varieties available which are very early.

Sweetcorn can be grown successfully in the vegetable garden, remembering
that it is a sub-tropical plant which needs warmth and light. Sweetcorn
uses masses of potash so needs lots of compost, & it needs free draining
soil. Growing the sweetcorn in a well prepared trench is ideal for the
vegetable garden.

Read this article on growing sweetcorn in containers

August 21, 2007

When to Harvest Aubergines / Eggplants.

Filed under: unusual veg — Tags: , , — TopVeg @ 11:44 pm

Knowing the right time to harvest aubergines (eggplants) is tricky.

The right time to harvest aubergines/eggplants is:

  • when the fruits change colour
  • swell to a reasonable size
  • the skin is still shiny.

Pick aubergines:

  • as soon as they reach a usable size
  • when the fruit is firm
  • when the skin is shiny
  • when the aubergine is fully coloured
  • in late August to September

Aubergines taste better when young and the skin is glossy. Do not leave the aubergines on the plant too long. Once the skin turns dull they are past their best.

To harvest aubergines/eggplants:

  • Cut the fruit off the stem with a sharp knife, to avoid damaging the plant.

Adequate light is vital for a successful aubergine crop.

Fruit production is dependent on light quality so dull summers usually mean a poor crop. To improve light penetration remove the leaves surrounding the fruits as they develop. This will improve their growth and help ripening.

May 2, 2007

Growing Aubergines or Eggplants

Filed under: unusual veg — Tags: , — TopVeg @ 5:46 pm

(Latin name*: Melanzana)   Aubergine (also called eggplant) is a cold-sensitive vegetable that
requires a long warm season for best yields. It is grown in the same way
as sweet pepper, with transplants being set in the vegetable garden
after all danger of frost is past. They prefer a sunny spot in the
garden but grow well under glass.


Cylindrical, glossy purple skinned fruits. They fruit abundantly
throughout the summer. Choose a variety with bitter-free flesh.

*Sowing Instructions*

Sow under heated glass, 6mm deep, at a minimum temperature of 15C during
January to March in pots of good compost. Transplant to larger pots
during April or May when seedlings can be easily handled.

*Growing Instructions*

Plant out once frost risk has passed, either under protection or
outdoors in warmer areas. Soil should be well prepared before
transplanting with a liberal application of well-rotted manure or
compost. Plant outdoors 70cm apart each way, or in large pots or
containers under protection.

April 26, 2007

Asparagus Spears

Filed under: unusual veg — Tags: , , — TopVeg @ 2:57 pm




A basket of fresh picked asparagus is a real luxury. These spears are a
Dutch hybrid variety called Gjinlim. This is their third year, so they
are just coming into their prime.

Asparagus should not be cut in the first two years, to allow the roots
to build up in the bed.

Click on these photos to enlarge them:





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