Thursday, 30 August 2018

Comparing Carrots for Taste

This has been another good year for carrots (if you overlook the fact that the early sowings failed to germinate, so no Early Nantes). Last year was a bumper year but I didn't get organised enough to do an objective taste test.  

There are five varieties. Autumn King2, Flakee, James Scarlet Intermediary, St Valery and Berlicum2


The Berlicum were noticeably more cylindrical. Flakee and St Valery most uniformly tapered.  I deliberatley chose similar sized roots for the purposes of the taste test.  I think they look great in cross section.

St Valery
Tasting notes.  They all tasted great!  For my two indicators, sweetness and depth of taste, Autumn King 2 was my winner.  I thought this might be because it was the first to be tasted, but a return visit confirmed this hair splitting exercise outcome.  I would be happy with any of the above on my plate.  I do accept that my exercise may produce different results after storage or after cooking.

I also have a soft spot for the appearance of one:

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Tomatoes - Breaking Up to Making Up

It's a bit early to give up on ripening tomatoes, but these ones grown in a growbag with a flimsy plastic canopy got the chop.

Not from me but from the weight of fruit and the blustery wind.  The stalk just snapped.

Broken Stump

To make the best of it I made up some of our favourite Green Tomato Chutney.

So not  a complete disaster after all.  I should add that these were Gardeners Delight but we also have 5 Sungold plants, grown from seed, already producing a steady supply of ripe red (actually orange) cherry tomatoes.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

A Time of Plenty

It's raining all day today.  I retreated from the plot after an early morning harvesting expedition.

From the top there's Leaf Beet, Beetroot, Carrots, Horseradish, Cauliflower, Cabbage, French Beans (Purple), Broccoli, Runner beans, Raspberry, Blackberry, Blueberry.

It is a time of plenty!

Saturday, 25 August 2018

School Gardening

I have been helping out at a local school garden for a couple of seasons now.  I had hoped to launch a dedicated blog on the subject but this no longer seems practical.*  I will do a couple of posts here to describe some of the experiences we have had to date.

By way of introduction here is how the garden looked last year: 

Wildflower Garden

Gateway off Playground

Side on view

Brassicas and Salad Beds

Our Greenhouse


Potatoes in Sacks

*Such a blog would best be run by the schoolchildren themselves as part of the curriculum.  The school does have a page devoted to the garden which has a calendar and some updates.  You can see this at the following link Garden Page .

Monday, 20 August 2018

Good Golly, Big Cauli...

Growing caulies has always been a bit hit or miss for me - mostly miss.  This year I gave Clapton a go.  There was no sign of them a week ago but 5 heads have appeared in unison.  I picked these two each weighing in at over a kilo.  The timing of these is ideal from a school garden point of view.  The All The Year Round we grew there produced some good heads too this year but that was right in the middle of the school holidays (Scotland's schools go back over two weeks earlier than English)

Another surprise (and hence the poor quality snap - also it was raining) to spot a young sparrowhawk on the birdbath at home.  The residents were understandably perturbed.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018


Billed as the first purple mangetout I just had to try Shiraz:

Performancewise old favourite Oregon Sugarpod did better, but who an argue with the description.  Very handy when picking - you won't miss these!