20 Apr 2012

Sunshine, Rain and Perennial Cauliflowers

Perennial cauliflower
~ Perennial Cauliflower, looking good (and tasty) ~
I've heard so many people bemoaning the "dreadful weather" this last week: wind, rain, sunshine, as well as thunderstorms today. Welcome to April in the UK.  (I think it's great.)  There's a hosepipe ban in the south so all this rain is sending deep reserves of water into the ground and the veg and fruit will be fully refreshed.  Luckily I was able to find time to go down to the veg garden on Monday where I got quite a lot done.  I stayed really focused as I thought it might rain at any moment!

I earthed up my bag grown potatoes for the first time as they'd put on a good 4 inches of growth.  I sowed Italian parsley, coriander and 3 types of carrot seeds: purple cosmic (for fun), Amsterdam 3 (my usual) and a new one (to me) called Little Fingers as it's supposed to be harvestable (is that a word?) in only 8 weeks!  I'm growing these in deep tubs to see if it makes a difference; previously I've interplanted carrots between the onions and garlic which seems to have thwarted any carrot fly.  Let's see how the tubs do. (The theory is to grow a few at a time and re-sow at monthly-ish intervals so that I don't end up overwhelmed with carrots.  Or anything else for that matter.)

The pink broad beans are all doing really well - I sowed them in a raised bed that had been manured last autumn and I've left a space to plant beans or peas (not sure which yet) at the north-east end of the bed where they'll get plenty of sun without shading the broad beans. The sacrificial nasturtiums planted at the same time have yet to make a showing; I want them there to tempt any aphids or blackfly away from the broad beans... )

Meanwhile, back upstairs in my flat-turned-greenhouse, the artichokes, dill, borage and melon seeds have all germinated and been potted on successfully. They'll stay upstairs for a few weeks until they're strong enough to fend for themselves in the veg garden. I sowed a tray of 12 Jiffy 7s with bell peppers (purple and orange), capsicums and chillis and the seed saved from my Yellow Banana chilli grown last year (the one still fruiting at Christmas). I reckon the son of that plant deserves a space on the windowsill this year if I can successfully nurture it to maturity. I suspect it's not really called Yellow Banana but the plant came from Homebase when the fungus gnats munched my own chillis into oblivion and that was the name conferred on it there. The seeds went into the modules at the beginning of April and are over an inch high already.  I hope this bodes well for raising mature plants as I may have left sowing them a bit late.

The best part of the week is that I've enjoyed the first of my perennial cauliflowers! The main cauli head was quite large so I cut just a few chunky stalks.  It was cooked with the sprouting stalks from the bolted Brussel Sprouts plants and both were utterly delicious. (Served up with just butter, salt and pepper. Yum.) I wondered in my previous post whether the sprout stalks would be edible and now I know that they are. They were not unlike PSB so it's good know that the sprout tops and stalks can still be eaten even after the plant has bolted.  Lesson learned: don't be hasty in chucking your bolted winter veg onto the compost heap.  I can honestly say I enjoyed every mouthful of that particular lunch.

Tomorrow I'm off early for a long drive to Bristol.  Jekka McVicar's herb farm hosts occasional Open Days with talks by Jekka and farm tours around the herbs.  I'm booked onto the workshop "How to Design a Herb Garden" which I treated myself to for my birthday last month.  I'm really excited to be going, even though the weather forecast is not good, and I'll hopefully be able to post all about it when I get back.

Have a good weekend everyone!

16 comments:

  1. Visited Jekka's a few years ago now. Looking forward to reading your post about the course. I agree the rain is great and it is good that the weather is more true to the season. A little bit warmer would be nice though. I was up at the allotment the other day still with 3 layers on and 2 pairs of socks, it was so cold. The site is quite exposed and the wind was whipping right across the site. My front garden however is lovely and sheltered and as a result significantly warmer. It's just a shame it isn't big enough to be my veg garden!! Very impressed with the cauli. Have you tried roasting it? I never liked cauli until I saw the Hairy Bikers suggest roasting it with a bit of oil on it and I now love it. The roasting makes it surprisingly sweet.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes I'd definitely like a bit more warmth, however unseasonal that may be! Am getting similarly over-dressed for pottering about but find that once I get moving, it's not too bad. Definite bite to the wind these last couple of weeks though. V. interested in your suggestion of roasting cauli - I don't watch the Hairy Bikers and perhaps I should! I'll try and find out a bit more online as this sounds lovely. You never know, it may even convert my son who will eat cauli (if pushed) but prefers not to!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Your caulie looks great and have a good time at the herb course.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi praise indeed, coming from you Damo! I have to stay it tasted great as well and other caulis have already been shared amongst the neighbours!

      Delete
  4. The cauliflower looks great. I don't grow them as the rest of the family aren't too keen, they don't know what they're missing. Interesting about the sprout stalks, I think we're all a little too quick to dispose of plants sometimes without giving a thought to whether any other part than that normally eaten can be consumed. Have a wonderful day today, I look forward to hearing all about it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Jo. The only problem with the edible sprout stalks is that I really should be tidying the plants out of the raised beds but can't until I've finished eating them! The stalks are probably too tender to freeze so I know what I'm lunching on all week!

      Delete
  5. At last a picture of the infamous perennial cauli. It looks normal - for some reason I was expecting it to be green - duh! Glad you have managed to get so much done - I keep putting things off because of the weather ( hail today). Enjoy the workshop, should be good fun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I grew romanesco caulis last year which (as you know) are a lovely chartreuse green colour. These look exactly like normal caulis, it's just that they're all different sizes! Given the weather today, I think it will be all indoor gardening for me this week!

      Delete
  6. How did I get this far in life without ever hearing about a perennial cauliflower?? I love caulis - despite them not being a particularly fashionable vegetable. There's nothing better than a big cheesey cauliflower cheese under the grill. YUM!! Although cut up small, fried in a tempura batter and served with a chilli dip is a very close second.
    You sound like you're well up to date on the sowing front and your seedlings seem to be doing well. Would be interested to hear how the melon does. I've tried 2 years in a row but have had no fruit to show for all my tlc...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They were new to me last year too! It was only through the Victoriana Nursery website that I found them although now I keep reading about perennial veg - I'm revisiting Alys Fowler's Edible Garden and she mentions them in her book.

      Re the melon seedlings - despite lots of tlc, my transplants didn't do well and I've lost all of my blacktail mountain seedlings, they just keeled over... Still, will keep trying and may have to cloche them to keep everything warm enough.

      Delete
  7. I've never heard of perennial cauliflowers either. That's definitely a veg I need to do a bit of research on!

    I've got ordinary 'Autumn King' Caulis on the go and am sowing some Romanesca this week. You can't have too much really :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Tanya you've reminded me that I need to make room for the romanesco caulis. Even though I've got plenty of 'normal' caulis, I love the taste and look of romanescos. I'm going to do a follow up post on the perennial caulis - I discovered something very interesting about them just recently ... !

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oh I envious...I'd love to go to Jekka McVicar's place. I lived in Bristol for 5 years but did'nt know that she lived near there until I was back in Ireland. Look forward to a posting on your visit there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bridget, I didn't realise that she lived in Bristol until I saw a workshop that I wanted to attend in her emailed newsletter. When I looked it up, I saw that she lived down a lane on the other side of the road to my sister's house! Very handy for a cup of tea at the end of the day. It must be so annoying to find out now that you were so close for all those years.

      Delete
  10. Whoops sorry I missed this post!
    I see that there's plenty going on. I hope that you enjoyed your day at the herb farm, and I look forward to reading all about it. Flighty xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Flighty, I could truly do with more hours in the day at the moment. I lost a week through illness and am madly catching up now. The trip to the herb farm was an excellent experience; Jekka's knowledge is formidable. Post coming soon!

      Delete

Comments on my posts are much appreciated and help to build an online community of blog friends. Everyone is welcome! I love to discover new blogs so please leave a comment to introduce yourself.
Caro x

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...