Monday, 22 December 2008

Home grown food for Christmas

Today we are heading off up north to spend Christmas with OH's family. Yesterday I made a quick visit to the allotment to dig up some more potatoes, there is now just 1 and a half rows left (probably about 100 spuds), and more importantly the first harvest of this year's parsnips.

The potatoes are doing really well, I reasoned that since the soil is peat I could effectively store them through winter by not digging them up, a few were slug damaged but I still have more than enough for Christmas dinner. Mind you, I think I'll do the digging up and storage thing properly next year because washing wet mud off potatoes in December is really no fun at all.

The parsnips have somehow morphed into monster veg, sadly the photo I took before eating the really big gnarly ones was rubbish so I'll spare you the pain. I expect that some of the ones still waiting to be dug will give a better photo so be patient. Last week I dug some parsnips from the beds in the garden and they were very small, about the size of a large carrot so I was unprepared for the allotment versions, planted at around the same time. One of them was more like a swede with a long root! Luckily a few look like real parsnips rather than the more common multi rooted thing so they have been selected, and washed, ready for the Christmas dinner. I'm not sure OH's family are keen on muddy veg, or small holes in their potatoes so there has been more washing and selecting than usual.

I love being able to share home grown veg with friends and family, this year as well as the potatoes and parsnips I'll be taking a few Crown Prince squash as gifts. I think I am more generous with the root veg too, maybe it is to do with the fact it grows underground so I don't impatiently watch it ripening whilst salivating. All requests for soft fruit are ignored.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008


I sowed a pack of onions a few weeks back, can't remember the variety but maybe Rador? Anyway they have just started sprouting, something of a surprise for me since I thought they just stayed in the ground during winter and then put on all their growth in spring. Luckily dad was on hand to set me straight!

Next year I am intending to be self-sufficient in onions, or as close to this as possible, so from late February through to April I will sowing a couple more varieties as sets and hopefully at least one other from seed.

If you are new to onions then you need to know that some varieties are planted in Autumn and overwintered to give you an earlier crop next year, it works well but they don't store as well as spring planted ones which is why it is good to have a mix. Onions come in seeds or as sets, which are like baby onions that you plant where you want them.

This year we had just one overwintered variety, they were quite easy to grow and even if they weren't the best for flavour, nothing could beat the freshness of a home pulled onion.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

The plot

I managed a brief visit to the plot last weekend and I suspect this is was led to the onslaught of flu. Now recovered enough to get the pictures off the camera. Not going to write much today so I will just share the picture of the plot as it is now:

Still have quite a way to go.