Rhubarb Crowns

Thanks to my gardening buddy 'Dick' I took posession of some freshly dug rhubarb crowns over the weekend. My friend has a huge supply of rhubarb and I have been waiting to get my hands on his crowns for a while now. Thank you Dick.

January is the ideal time while the plants are dormant, to dig up and divide large plants, taking woody chunks from the main clump, just making sure there are some buds on each one. Due to the warm Winter weather these had started to grow. I have nursed them into their new home with a couple of bags of precious well rotted horse manure.

By the way, no one has put a comment on my blog since I posted a cute picture of a puppy on November 11th... is there anyone out there? Posted by Picasa

Jerusalem Artichokes

I dug up just one plant of Jerusalem Artichoke 'Fuseau' yesterday. I had a wonderful morning at the allotment, the sun was shining and it was cool. Jerusalem artichokes are named thus because they are part of the sunflower family (just have a look at them in Summer) and the Italian for sunflower is girasole , meaning (gira) turn, (sole) sun - turn towards the sun.

They have a fantastic mild, nutty, chestnutty flavour but unfortunately they are renowned for giving you wind. I have to make sure I have at least a couple of days off work when I eat Jerusalem artichokes! Posted by Picasa

Golden Ball Turnip

Och Aye! what a beauty! Posted by Picasa

Bashed neeps and Tatties!

Wishing any Scottish bloggers out there a happy Burns Night! I celebrated with my own freshly dug 'neeps'. Yet another of these fantastic free seeds that come every month from Kitchen Garden magazine, these are 'Golden Ball' turnips. They ripen to a glorious golden colour which this photo does not do justice. Smooth, unblemished spheres which have not been harmed one bit by the snow fall we had in London yesterday. Yet another success in my quest to fill the 'hungry gap'.

Has anyone found a supplier of Haggis seeds yet? Posted by Picasa

New Potatoes

I ordered my seed potatoes yesterday from the Thompson & Morgan online website. So much to choose from and so little space. In the end I chose something old and something new.

Epicure - earlies - fantastic flavour, waxy new potatoes (but the catalogue says they are floury - I disagree!) Red Duke of York - earlies - never tried them, they look stunning and have had good write ups. Rocket - ultra early - what does that mean? but I'll give them a go in the greenhouse in pots.

Has anyone any comments on the latter two?

Live Worms

So, following on from my blog below.. Opened the packet and found said bundle of worms huddled together in a bag of dry compost. Shook them out onto the compost then re-hydrated them somewhat with a weak bucket of re-cycled tea and coffee... then covered them up with some carpet. Night Night little wormies.! Posted by Picasa

Wiggly Worms

A couple of days ago I ordered 500g of composting worms from the wonderfully named company www.wigglywigglers.co.uk . So yesterday while we were out the postman kindly left them with a neighbour in a box marked "live worms". So yesterday evening I went round to said neighbours house. "Do you have a parcel for me?" I asked. "Er yes, er um it says live worms on the parcel, would that be the one?" "Yes! that's it" I replied cheerfully. "They're delicious, have you tried them?"... stunned silence, so I turned round and left him on his doorstep with a puzzled look on his face. Posted by Picasa

Hosepipe ban lifted

Great news! The hosepipe ban which has prevented me from watering my lovely veggies all Summer has finally been lifted. I went down the garden to go and water the plants - alas I could not get there due to the 5 inches of floodwater on the path. I suppose I could wade through it in wellies. Well done Three Valleys Water company. Just in the nick of time! Hooray! Posted by Picasa

Back by Popular Demand

Buddy the red-nosed reindog! Posted by Picasa

What shall I grow this year?

Looking through my wonderful collection of seed catalogues fills me with anticipation and excitement for the coming year. I have been a creature of habit for the most part of my gardening life, I would always grow the same variety every year because that is what I grow...

There have been fantastic advances in plant breeding and genetics over the past years, it is worth trying something new, but the problem is that if it doesn't work out you have to wait a year before you can go back to your old variety. I only have a small patch so space is at a premium.

At the moment, I am looking at growing Queensland Blue pumpkins, lovely dry sweet texture.
I have been in love with Epicure early potatoes for many years - cannot recommend them too highly. I tried Nicola last year, they were very good and had the best drought resistance. Sweet potatoes were a successful debut for me last year, I need the space though , so I won't be growing again this year. Physallis are easy to grow and delicious. Tomatillo are also easy.

Can anyone recommend anything unusual?

Grow Your Own - New Series on BBC2

I was looking forward to a TV series on growing vegetables. This evening's first episode of Grow Your Own with Carol Klein, I am afraid was a bit of a let down.

Was she trying to show complete beginners how to grow veg? If I was a keen beginner it really did not go into any detail at all. For keen gardeners it was simplistic and not very interesting. Where was she trying to aim this programme? She was all over the place.

The lovely black mongrel was the star of the show for me! Sorry Carol ! Let's have some more Bob Flowerdew please, BBC !

"All hail ! Saint Bob!"

Mini Veg

These are mini leeks. It is the first time I have grown any of the products which have been marketed as "mini veg". I'm not sure what to make of them yet, are they a specific variety? I planted them in Autumn and so far they are about 1cm thick. I have plenty of "real" leeks to be going on with, but I was wondering if anyone has tried these "mini veg" and with what results?

I tried growing sweetcorn "mini pop" this Summer, but I left them too late and they were too woody.

Any comments on mini veg would be appreciated. Posted by Picasa

Winter Salad Leaves

I am very pleased with the spicy mixture of salad leaves I purchased in the USA. The mixture was called "Mesclun" for some inexplicable reason, but they were 97c a packet in Wal Mart so I bought a few packets. They are a lovely tasty mix of rocket, mizuna, mustard greens and I don't know what else. Anyway they are as hardy as you like, quite pest resistant and quick and easy to grow. I usually just work my way down the row with a pair of scissors and they eventually grow back. Yum! Posted by Picasa


I have just finished a gruelling week of nights. This time of year there is not enough daylight, so I made the most of a fine Winter morning yesterday and I got down and dirty! Over the latter part of the Summer I had been layering and turning my compost heap with bags of hot horse manure and fresh green grass clippings. Yesterday I took off all the coverings of carpet and found about a ton of wonderful, wonderful MULCH!

Tipped barrowloads over the bare soil and forked it over - let my worm friends do the rest, and a happy new year to them too!

Dug up my last 3 parsnips yesterday as well, had them mashed with a haggis for dinner. I seem to be doing well with my quest to fill the hungry gap. I am still looking forward to digging up some Jerusalem artichokes in the next couple of days. I will have to wait until I have a few days off work though, because Jerusalem artichokes make me FART FOR ENGLAND! Apologies to any readers of a delicate nature, anyone that knows me will shudder at the thought. So it's out with the charcoal lined gas mask then......