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Next Year...

 
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cab



Joined: 01 Nov 2004
Posts: 32429

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 04 8:51 am    Post subject: Next Year...  Reply with quote    

I've just spread lots of well rotted compost over the veg patch, mulched the broccoli and asparagus, looked tentatively at my struggling currant bushes and given them some dressng, and shifted a few things around. Ive got a small garden, but it's enough to keep us in greens, and to provide crops that we couldn't otherwise buy.

I like to grow a couple of unusual things every year. This year it was lemon cucumbers (a partial success) and tomatillos (a thundering great success). Next year, I've got some bright coloured carrots to grow, which will be fun, but I'm wondering what other unusual plants might be worth a go.

I've never grown salsify, and that looks easy. I've already gone through most of the exptic opriental greens I can find, settling on a couple that I continue to grow every year (namely mizuna and mustard). Celtuce is going to be an annual crop for me, I was delighted with both the yield and flavour.

So anyone got any tips on other oddities that might go well in my veg garden?

Bugs



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 10744

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 04 9:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Does fruit come in to it? Have you tried Chinese Lanterns/Physalis? I grew one from seed from a bought fruit, a few years ago, just the one plant merrily fertilised itself, growing outside in the summer; it lasted a couple of years being cut back and certainly yielded enough to justify the effort and space. It's a nice looking plant, too.

At Wisley's veg tasting day in September we tried and loved lime basil - it has a good strong taste we hope will be nice in Thai food, so I'm growing that next year.

The other experiment that springs to mind is watercress - I bought seed from Marshalls but no reason not to grow from cuttings if you prefer. Kept it in two seed trays in a gravel tray topped up with fresh water whenever I remembered, and again got several "pillow packs" worth. Mmmm.

Experiments that didn't work were asparagus peas, although the flowers are pretty and it could have been our soil at fault.

Salsify is easy enough but again, suffered on our poor soil. However, enough survived to bolt the next year, and they now self-seed about the place; the flowers are lovely if you're up in time to see them.

Don't even think about garden huckleberries.

Finally, I've printed out Future Foods catalogue from their website and am trying not to buy too much from it, but if you've not looked at it recently its well worth a read. Simon Hickmott who runs it used to be a regular on the Kitchen Garden Forum, perhaps we could get him over here.

I rather fancy growing tomatillos but am not sure we'd make use of the fruit. What did you do with them?

cab



Joined: 01 Nov 2004
Posts: 32429

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 04 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Yes, we grew physalis. Flaming thing self seeds in the garden now, but it doesn't produce fruit until late in the season if not weeded out. Still, the yields were good when we grew it on purpose, and it tastes great.

Haven't tried that particular basil, but I'll look out for it. We always seem to grow another sort of basil every year.

Watercress is a regular crop for us. Three plant pots, kept moist till the seeds germinate (four or five spots of seeds per pot), an when the plants are an inch or so I thin them out, put some stones on top of the pots and sink them under five inches of water in a bucket. Change the water every day or three, and I get a nice harvest of watercress for salads. For cooking, I pick it wild.

Tomatillos are great! Salsas mainly, which we found we ate a lot of because they make a great salsa, but also in salads. Sharp, apple-lemon-tomato flavour. Not unlike physalis but less sweet.

Future foods is indeed a great site. I'd also reccomend that you might find a lot to take your fancy at Nickys Nursery.

Treacodactyl
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Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 25697
Location: Jumping on the bandwagon of opportunism
PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 04 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

You could always try growing loofahs, just like big cucumbers although I think they need a little heat and take up a fair bit of room. We say them at Kew once and they would make ideal gifts along with your soap.

I dare say you've grown lemon grass and tender stem broccoli. A little safron for the Autumn?

OH is now reading the Future Foods catalogue again .

wellington womble



Joined: 08 Nov 2004
Posts: 14947
Location: East Midlands
PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 04 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

If you do manage to grow loofahs, please let me know how - I've been trying for years. They germinate, and often grow to a couple of feet high, and then something EATS them. I'm blaming slugs, as they don't leave any evidence. I will keep trying though, because that would be great!

Have you tried growing cranberries. I love cranberries, and have never seen bushes (I presume they grow on bushes) for sale. Also chinese artichokes have always looked like fun (like little pig tails) they seem to be quite widely available. What about mushrooms or (if your feeling flush) a truffle tree (and patient, I think they take about 10 years to produce truffles, but you'll probably have run out of everything else exotic by then!)

sean
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Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 41868
Location: North Devon
PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 04 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

You need a swamp to grow cranberries. They grow them in these then flood them. The cranberries float to the surface and you harvest them using a cross between a boat and a combine harvester. One of my dearest ambitions is to have a go at driving a cranberry harvester.

Sarah D



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 2584

PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 04 1:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

You can grow them in pots, but you wouldn't be able to drive the harvester in there.................

Bugs



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 10744

PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 04 7:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

We had a potted one, but it died, not sure what of. We did water it with rain water.

cab



Joined: 01 Nov 2004
Posts: 32429

PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 04 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Treacodactyl wrote:
You could always try growing loofahs, just like big cucumbers although I think they need a little heat and take up a fair bit of room. We say them at Kew once and they would make ideal gifts along with your soap.

I dare say you've grown lemon grass and tender stem broccoli. A little safron for the Autumn?

OH is now reading the Future Foods catalogue again .


Lemon grass we grow. It's a really easy plant to keep going, as long as you don't live with cats (we had a housemate who's cat always looked really innocent standing next to the nibbled down lemon grass, with the tell-tale lemon scent on her otherwise cat-foody breath).

Grew loofahs as a kid once. And it isn't such a bad idea, I'll look into that.

Don't know 'tender stem broccoli'. At the moment we've got some purple-sprouting looking good for early Spring, and I've eyed up a perennial variety. What's the 'tender stem' stuff?

cab



Joined: 01 Nov 2004
Posts: 32429

PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 04 8:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

wellington womble wrote:

Have you tried growing cranberries. I love cranberries, and have never seen bushes (I presume they grow on bushes) for sale. Also chinese artichokes have always looked like fun (like little pig tails) they seem to be quite widely available. What about mushrooms or (if your feeling flush) a truffle tree (and patient, I think they take about 10 years to produce truffles, but you'll probably have run out of everything else exotic by then!)


the only problem with cranberries is that I don't like them

As for Chinese artichokes, yes, I nearly grew some last year. They look good... Are they good eating too? How do they compare with Jerusalem artichokes (which seem to be taking over a corner of our garden; I'm sure I didn't plant so many as that this year...)

I've done mushrooms in a kit, and I've grown oyster mushrooms from spawn I prepared myself, on a loo roll. And hopefully the St. Georges mushrooms I seeded in the lawn might take. But really, wild mushrooms are already so big in our diets that I've no need to grow them.

I'm working on the truffle trees You can get pre-inoculated hazel, and I'm slowly trying to bring my better half around to the idea of having a hedge of them out front.

Treacodactyl
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Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 25697
Location: Jumping on the bandwagon of opportunism
PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 04 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Quote:
Don't know 'tender stem broccoli'. At the moment we've got some purple-sprouting looking good for early Spring, and I've eyed up a perennial variety. What's the 'tender stem' stuff?


It's very similar to normal broccoli and has smaller heads but you can eat the long stems. We had some from Marshalls and even on our poor soil it grew quite well. It kept cropping over a few months, the heads and 2-3 inches of the stem are eaten, like asparagus according to the catalogue and the stems were very pleasant.

cab



Joined: 01 Nov 2004
Posts: 32429

PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 04 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Oh, I get it. rather like oriental broccoli. I'll look into that, it sounds tasty.

Bugs



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 10744

PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 04 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Not very unusual, but thoroughly worth while and I forgot until I was looking through the seed box this morning:

We grew sugar snap peas for the first time last summer and would quite probably choose to grow them over normal peas if we had to make the choice, because the crop was so good as well as the taste. Ours were Sugar Ann from the OGC but I imagine they'd all be much of a muchness.

Sown early enough you could be eating them from May when the supermarkets are still importing them from Zambia

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