Tag Archives: Spinach

Growing your own greenery

 

Thinking of this title, my immediate thoughts were about Cabbage and sprouts. I’ve yet to grown sprouts, and Mama F is rather intrigued to do so. The one time we had them at home, the stalks got attacked by cabbage fly and it wasn’t pleasant. Cabbage on the other hand, has been an interesting learning experience. I didn’t much success with growing from seed, so using plug plants has been far more useful. You’d think that you could plug cabbages in, and that would be it.

Not quite. Leaving them uncovered and exposed invites all sorts to munch away. You’re cabbage patch is soon decimated, you declare war on slugs and it all ends badly. Mama F builds cages covered with netting to held reduce the impact of flies and bugs. It’s a bit like an assault course trying to get in and harvest things, but the crop remains in one piece for the most part. There is certainly a lot of green, leafy things which end up on saag or pakoras. In my experience, the greener, more bitter a cabbage or green might be, the less likely it is to be attacked by anything. Not had much success growing red cabbages. Mum has possible had a couple grow, but there does seem to be more challenge with these.

There is always Spinach and Kale in some form on the plot. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve trundled along to pinch Mum’s crop for Spanakopita. You need armfuls for dinner, but it is something very straight forward to grow. I’ve always  broadcast sown the seeds and never bothered with plug plants. Plug plants would certainly help with spacing and reduce the need for thinning out. Every year, Mum sends me on a hunt to find the biggest leafed mustard green that I can find. We always end up with more perpetual spinach that we need, but it does get sown and grown. Kale is probably the more hardy of the two, and can be found to be growing along quietly in the middle of bleak winters.  And if it’s Rainbow or Vulcan chard, it’s rather pretty.

When it comes to greenery, this also covers herbs. There is masses of mint on the plot and Fenugreek is ever present. The latter is also a green manure, but wonderfully edible. It’s fire-y and bitter, but can be used in a similar way to spinach. Dried, it’s a burst of flavour when added to dishes that need a kick. FenMint should be contained; as I have found, it is unruly and get’s every where. It is however versatile, with a little going a long way.  Just think of all those mojitos….

An unlikely candidate for greenery, would be bolted radishes. Mama F starts of trying to grow Mooli. Only the weather plays havoc with fickle radishes and they bolt. When they bolt, they produce crisp, pepper flavoured pods. These you can snack on, or add to sauteed onions and garlic to make a curry.

 

#NABLOPOMO: Spinach and Chard

spinchard

Ma rather likes rescuing spinach and chard, and here we have it. The Spinach is rescued, and we have found some chard for her to plug in. It’s a  bit hard to resist, when she waves the tray at you, says your name and does that wide eyed thing that only mums do. She has been somewhat worried over the last few days, that the rain might bring the slugs and slimers out to kill the new plugs. For the moment, they are still there. My on concern, is that she planted them into open ground and this is going to make them very vulnerable on a plot where open ground isn’t necessarily a good place to be if you are a new plant.

I don’t mind spinach and chard myself, it’s a reliable crop that makes for interesting onion bhajis and pasta bakes. Along with cauliflowers and cabbages, spinach and chard make their way into the ‘Indian’ Food that ma cooks. The spinach that she has rescued, she tells me that it’s perpetual spinach. In her eyes, this is proper spinach. Mainly because it has large, broad leaves with quite a thin spine. This makes for me leaf, and less stalk. The other time of spinach that Ma is hoping to get onto the plot, is Mustard Greens. I need to look into getting the seeds what ma calls proper, proper indian saag. What she really wants, is that yellow flowered stuff that farmers sow on an industrial scale on their fields as a green manure.

Chard is a good substitute, and seems to also do well when left to it’s own devices. Not sure what variety we have here, but I do remember having both Vulcan Chard and also bright lights chard. The former, has lovely bright red stalks, with the latter having stalks that can be bright yellow at times. What I don’t have at the moment is Kale, but there are a few cabbages knocking around.

Sturdy shallots, garlic going well

Assorted Garlic cloves were planted through cardboard last autumn, With a dry spell, they aren’t looking too bad. A little wind burned, but otherwise reasonable. I expect that these will hopefully get some height and width with as the spring weather approaches. Certainly looks encouraging as the weather settles. That said, March comes in like a lion, and out like a lamb.

Shallots were the bedfellows of the garlic, and occupy a number of the beds on project othello. It is only now, that the green shoots are visible, with a lack of puddles. Like the garlic, these were sown through cardboard that has so far worked reasonably well.

Sunderland Kale occupies the same bed as Mama H’s spinach and chard. Her next mission is to separate out the spinach plants. Her verdict on the Kale that it looked very nice, There is hope for it yet. I do wonder what it tastes like. It doesn’t have the wrinkly leaves that I expected. There are stalks in the raised bed that belong to nero di toscano, it will be interesting to see if that makes a return.

Strawberries exist on the plot. I don’t know what variety they are, only that there were given to me by a plot neighbour. These have to be rehomed to elsewhere on the plot, as this bed needs replenishing. The level has sunk quite a bit, and was home to courgettes and marrows last year.

A quarter of the plot has been dug over today. Mama h is planning on digging over the rest to see what the heavy clay is up to. To be honest, that means digging woodchip into part of it, as it currently sits on black plastic bags. Hopefully the digging in of the woodchip counts as organic matter.

Yes, these videos were made surreptitiously without Mama H finding out. Hence the quiet David Attenborough tones in talking.

Soggy Stuff

There has been a momentary pause in precipitation, and sunshine has broken out. Time enough, to go down to the plot and make a survey of what is standing. And with the sheer volume of water, standing is about right. The puddles seem a lot deeper than they were last week. Very cold, with the wind whispering on the plot. Though it was a balmy 12 degrees in the poly tunnel. Did peek in there, nothing has germinated in there. Which is not altogether surprising, given how low temperatures have dropped.

There is no new news on the experimental chillies that were sown. Though the mini cloches are perspiring as it were, quite happily. There are no visible signs of any chilli babies. This can of course take some time. Super hots have yet to be sown, simply as I haven’t got around to getting some compost. They will hopefully be sown into yoghurt pots and placed into a heated prop.

Baby leeks sown at the start  of the autumn term. Not doing to badly, are sat in the wendy house. Have been largely ignored, and don’t seem to have suffered. They are of course quite hardy. I remains to be seen how many of these will be come pencil thick and then make it through transplanting.

Baby onions have not been as successful as one would have hoped. Whilst there are lots sown in the plot, sets have to survive the torrential downpours. These seeds were sunk at the same time as the leeks. Very disappointing to see so few babies. Guess there is still some time remaining to sow some more directly into the modules.

Leaf mold is always an interesting experiment. These are sat at the back of the plot, and left to their own devices. Last year, a whole builders bag was used to fill a raised bed used for squashes. The plan is to use these in the raised beds. Whilst the resulting soil doesn’t necessarily have a great deal of nutritional value, it will fill the beds nicely. This is a certainly cheaper than buying lots of compost.

A small bed of leeks that started off their lives in my classroom. Not many survivors, but better than nothing. Am hoping that the leek babies you see above will do some what better than these. These were actually freebies, so in having something rather than  nothing is always a bonus.

The netted cabbages that are becoming very lacy; as though they were net curtains. Very disappointing, and there are valuable lessons to be learned here. There are slim chances that some of them will be salvageable. Sad, in that we like cabbages. Just have to take additional care and put in place further precautions.

A raised bed of assorted spinach, chard and some kale. There were stalks of nero di toscana in there as well. The problem with this entire bed, like the cabbages, is the sheer volume of holes that get made by  slimers. I suspect that this bed will remain occupied for sometime, and that there will have to be applications of the blue pellets of doom.

 

Pinched and pulled

“I found a mooli!”

“Have you? Lovely.”

Well, mother, it’s a white icicle radish. But if you insist.

Mum pulled out a few sparkler radishes as well for herself and pops. Both of whom, have now decked that they don’t like the leaves. So these were composted.

The one key coup today.

Chard and spinach.

That was she wanted today. And no messing.

Mum harvested a fair bit of what looks like perpetual spinach and may have been Vulcan chard. The premise was to make it into pakoras-that’s onion bhajis, folks. But we really shouldn’t be eating more fried food.

And what was I doing whilst she cut that stuff down? Watering squashes. Striato di Napoli has a couple of babies, there may be a little jack baby, and baby bush marrow. Please to report that leaves are filling out nicely. Must keep feeding them.

Yours in anticipation

Horticultural Hobbit

Parental Supervision: Gardening with our adults

I did say that I would request adult supervision. In having already put in situ the canes that needed to be strung up with netting; I asked Pops to come and help. The reason being, that I couldn’t possibly reach the top of them, and I really wanted to put up string. Whilst Pops could have grumbled, he didn’t. He came down the plot, and was rather warmly welcomed by the many folks that were down there today. Since the sun had come out, it really had brought people out to play in the dirt.

It was one of many missions today, to get the nets strung up. As you can see from the gallery, it took some doing. Mama H and Pops are some team. Pops even had the idea of the bamboo cane across the top to form the Rugby Style goal posts. My original idea, in hindsight, did make for some weak integrity. Mama H, cut up the string so that it could all be lashed together. Between us, we got one and bit a frame sorted, before I ran out of stringy netting. Off, then, pootled the parents. I was left to my own devices.

I had taken with me, some green barrier fencing. Yet another plan today was to plant peas. That didn’t happen. I stood there, thinking, well, I don’t have any pea netting. But I did! The barrier fencing. Surely, that will do for runners too? Surely.

With that epiphany, I cut the fencing to various lengths to finish the job. In addition, it now bisects the plot too. That was where I plan to put the peas. I will get to those eventually, they keep looking at me.

Whilst there was a lot of infrastructure to play with, there was also some sowing and transplanting to do. The herbs, that have spent the best part of five months in the four tier blow away, were transplanted. Did rather look a bit sorry for themselves, but hopefully they will perk up a bit. A direct sowing of broadbeans was. This time, it was bunyards exhibition and some more suttons dwarf. These are to replace the ones that were eaten by the frost two weeks ago. The clay has got increasingly dry and concrete again. But there are things growing!

Then Mama H came back again. Just as I opened up my seed tin-another plan-and actually made me jump. The bag I had opened, was the Fenugreek, a clarion call for Mother’s arrival, I tell you. The methi was handed over. And off she went. Sowing the stuff, as well as some turnips, perpetual spinach, nero de toscana, green and yellow mustard too. I had already sunk some strawberries that Mama H has now unceremoniously kicked out of her garden. Fun was had, with the parents. Now to decide whether I direct sown the beans, or modularise

Yours in anticipation,

 

Horticultural Hobbit

Making one’s beds

The plot is wonky, in the lowest bit of the plot, and therein liable to become a pond. The clay, could probably be well worked by a potter; for all it’s nutritional value, it has given me a headache. The remedy, or means to make it practical. Raised beds.

This summer, the boon of online sales of the gardening sales, led to raised beds being purchased. These were addition to the one, bought last autumn. The reason why, was that Mama H nearly clambered into the claggy, heavy clay, and then very nearly couldn’t come back out again. She had sunk nearly a couple of feet. This would not do! Especially, as part of the remit of having a half plot is that there would be indian food grown there. This in the most generic sense, involves Spinach of the Indian variety. I don’t what Indian Spinach is specifically. Only that red cardinal leaves really don’t cut it.

So to keep Mama H safe, and to have a productive plot, the raised beds are warranted. There are 12 beds in total. The vary between 1m x 1m  and 2m x 1m. All were delivered, swiftly by an online shop. All were straight forwards in their construction. The only issues, blisters, and pops making some of them.

I was more than happy to construct them! Alas, pops didn’t want them cluttering his garage, and before I got around to them. He took a screwdriver to the last one. I had managed to construct three, and fully anticipated the fourth one. The four smaller ones, I did construct. However, Pops being Pops, had to reinforce them before they were taken the 80 yards down to the plot. There was blisters, I might add. Though that was not me being a bit feeble. I attribute that to the screwdriver. An old one that belongs to Pops, that has been around since the arc. No good using the newer one, it didn’t feel right. Once constructed, these were placed on the plot on top of newspaper.

As it stands, and the water does-badoom, crash-the beds are filled with leaf mold. This is most likely going to sink over time as it decays. The plan,or half plan rather, is to fill these with compost. There is the poop that Pops shovelled to also put into them.

Yours in Anticipation

Horticultural Hobbit