Gardening For Profit: Preorder Now!

gardening-for-profit-front-coverJust a sneaky sneak preview, and early warning that THE BOOK OF THE YEAR is out soon! Gardening For Profit: From Home Plot To Market Garden (Green Book, £9.99) will hit the shelves on 31st October 2013, so reserve your copy now! Or at least bookmark Green Books’ website…

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Early Leeks

IMG-20130912-00558I’ve been picking ‘baby’ or young/small leeks for a few weeks now, but this wet spell has meant that the number of baby leeks is decreasing as they all bulk up nicely. I’ve been trialling one or two new varieties: in the picture you can see from right to left: 1 row Axima; 1 row Zermatt; 1 row Long de Mézières; 2 rows Hannibal; 2 rows Bandit (next to the clover green manure). Zermatt in particular is nice and tall at the moment; Bandit and Hannibal are old faithfuls, and bulk up well for the winter, whereas Axima and Zermatt are earlies. Long de Mézières had the fewest leeks for transplanting from the polytunnel, but because germination wasn’t so good for this variety, most of the transplants were a good size already; they are also a nice tall leek, so the smaller ones are perfect for harvesting now as baby leeks. I planted them all just a few inches apart, knowing that I’d be harvesting some at baby stage, so could pull every other leek, and leave lots of room for the remaining plants to grow nice and big. Soon I’ll be picking the regular size leeks too, as many are big boys already! I’m also hoping that there will enough enough baby leeks left for the Great Bath Feast at the Abbey on 2nd October: I’m donating 200 of the monkeys to this charitable feast, to be turned into something super fresh and special by Michelin-starred chef Sam Moody from the Bath Priory. Should be an amazing evening!

Carrot Trial Update

IMG-20130913-00561Just a quickie to note the ongoing developments in the carrot trial as I’m harvesting them. As was suspected in the last post about the trial carrots, St Valery is easily producing the largest carrots, and more of them because of better germination. Napoli has a pretty good size too, but slightly poorer germination so fewer carrots; the coloured pastelly Rainbow carrots are also good, with a good root size, decent top growth, and germination. The mixture of Purple Haze, Yellowstone and White Satin F1 are more patchy germination-wise; White Satin carrots are pretty large (slugs also enjoying the top of the roots), Yellowstone moderate, but Purple Haze generally still small. The Amsterdam varieties are mostly indistinguishable, with poor top growth to compete against the weeds, but moderate long thin roots. The photo above shows the 3 rows of tall luxuriant St Valery foliage in the middle of the picture, with 1 row of similar but slightly shorter growth of Napoli to St Valery’s right, then the 2 rows of Rainbow and 4 rows of mixed coloured carrots far right (these have been dug up a bit more due to the demand from chefs). To the left of St Valery are the weedy 3 rows of Amsterdam Maxi 2, with 3 rows of Amsterdam Forcing far left.