Sunday, 29 March 2009

Potatoes are in!

I didn't have as much success with the chitting as I did last year, for a start the bookshelf had more books on it so there was less room for potatoes, the addition of a dehumdifier seems to have left the potatoes a little wrinkly. Still I am thinking positive so lots of digging later and the area which was a nettle patch just 4 weeks ago has been turned into a potato bed. The potatoes should also help to prevent the return of the weeds.

This year I am growing lots of Charlotte, these did very well last year and kept us well supplied with lovely new potatoes. Being a salad potato and therefore a potatoe which holds together well when cooked I found Charlotte to be very useful for putting in Spanish Omlettes as well as for potato salads.

I am also growing Rooster and King Edward as my maincrops. Rooster is a red skinned variety which is very popular in Ireland, the Potato council rate it as a 6/10 for flouryness so it should be good for mashing. King Edward is also rated as a 6 but it is more suited for roasting. Both are good for chips.

Hopefully I will also have some volunteer Arran Victory potatoes overlooked in last years potatoe bed. If I do then these should crop much earlier than a normal maincrop, they might even miss any blight.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Early birthday pressies

It is my birthday on Monday but my pressies from OH arrived a little early and so of course they had to be opened. And planted.

I have 5 Glen Moy raspberry canes to join my other 10. Glen Moy is an early summer variety and spinefree - yey. In the background you can see my new pistachio (no it is NOT green) trug which is a present to myself (well you need to be sure there is at least 1 present).

I have also got a pear tree. This is a 'Concorde', a late variety, and hopefully a heavy cropper even on juvenile trees (I hope Ken Muir is right!). Yes it looks a little wonky but after I took this picture I dug it up and planted it straight so all is well.

Now that the weather is turning warm and sunny the work is progressing at the usual frantic March pace. Most the plot is cleared of weeds but there is still plenty of digging to get the soil ready for sowing.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

A year of Celeriac

Celeriac is likely to be the slowest growing vegetable you will ever attempt to grow, sow seeds in early March, and then wait until December (if you're lucky) to start harvesting them. Finish harvesting before the end of March and you can begin all over again.

All this means that Celeriac will be present on your growing schedule for 12 months but it really is worth it. Shop bought Celeriac will cost you at least £1 and is miles away from the tender home grown roots. Easier to grow than Celery but with a similar albeit milder taste Celeriac, or Celery Root as it is often known is the swollen root and contains most of the plants nutrients making it super good for you.

This week I enjoyed watching my seedlings stretch for the sun, maybe I could do a better job with the tray turning...
And enjoyed eating several of last years successes in a very tasty Celeriac and Bacon layer:

Serves 2 hungry people
3 medium celeriac
1 onion
4 rashers of un-smoked bacon
Brown sugar
Ground Cinnamon
1/3 pint Veg stock
Grated cheese

Heat the oven to 200 oc
Peel the celeriac and chop in half. Boil for 5-10 minutes until soft
Meanwhile chop the onion and fry until soft
Add the chopped bacon and 1 tsp ground cinnamon. Fry until the bacon is cooked.
Add 1 tsp of brown sugar to caramelise the onions. Then turn the heat off
Remove the celeriac and chop into 1 cm thick slices
Butter an oven proof dish that is about 15 cm wide and at least 10 cm deep
Layer the celeriac over the bottom of the dish, add half the bacon and onion mixture
Repeat with another layer of celeriac and the remainder of the bacon and onions
Finish with a layer of celeriac
Pour over the stock and finish with the grated cheese
Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour
Remove the foil and bake for a further 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling.

Serve with veg.