Tag Archives: cabbages

Sowing this week

There are all sorts of things that can be sown in February, including brassicas of various kinds, broad beans, hardy lettuces, and artichokes. Many seeds will germinate at temperatures of 5°C and above. Cold, wet soil, though, is not the place to do it. With some undercover space, the temperature will be better, so germination markedly improved in both reliability and speed, and the compost can be kept at a more suitable moisture level, so that seed or seedlings do not sit in the soil and rot before they can get started properly. Continue reading

Continental style coleslaw

Summer cabbage

Summer cabbage

Earlier in the year we planted summer cabbages Copenhagen Market and Golden Acre. Both are excellent for coleslaw, which is my favourite use for white cabbage, and the first sowings are now ready to harvest. The most common sort of coleslaw seen here comprises shredded cabbage, onion, and carrot, dressed in a rich mayonnaise. Whilst we enjoy it in this form, I most often prepare a simple continental style of coleslaw, or ‘krautsalat’, typical across Germany and other regions. The dressing in this case is a simple vinaigrette, and the result much lighter and fresher. Continue reading

Seed list 2014 – part 3 – brassicas

This third article in the series on our seed list looks at brassicas, a family that I am generally not quite so keen on, which is a little unfortunate as this family offers a wide range of vegetables that are very nutritious and often available in late winter and early spring when little else is cropping. I do not really like swede, and grow them mainly for the Finnish Christmas dish of kålrotslåda, although other members of family like them. Turnips find some limited use in our kitchen, and we prefer them raw to cooked. I do not really like broccoli, but grow it for CT because she really enjoys it. I sometimes grow some sprouts for the same reason. I quite enjoy raw cauliflower, but do not like it cooked at all. CT enjoys it though, so I usually grow a few. Radish are also brassicas, but in this case CT does not like them much, whilst I quite enjoy their crisp texture and peppery flavour. So all of these I grow in limited quantities. I find much more use for kale and cabbages, and especially like braised red cabbage and coleslaw, which I most often make in the continental style with vinegar and oil rather than mayonnaise. Continue reading

Sowing continues

This weekend we avoided the gloomy weather and made more under cover sowings. Down the centre of our polytunnel is a four foot wide bed, which we use for general planting of crops including beans, peas, sweetcorn, saladings, and so on. At this time of year, it is warm enough, especially under cover, to make some early sowings of root crops, provided suitable varieties are selected. The bed was prepared by a little weeding and a light forking, followed by the application of a couple of handfuls of fish, blood and bone, which was lightly raked in. No manure was added, as root crops respond to too rich a rich soil by forking. Four foot drills were made across the bed. These were watered thoroughly before sowing. This bed had not been watered for some time, and it is amazing how much water is required to properly penetrate the soil. Continue reading

Seeds at Amsterdam’s Bloemenmarkt

The floating stalls of Amsterdam’s flower market

Among the many sights of Amsterdam, there is the floating flower market, although one is not really aware that the row of large stalls is floating alongside one of the many canals, being so securely fixed in place. Its claim to be the world’s only floating flower market is, then, not nearly as impressive as it might at first appear. January is not the ideal time to visit such an attraction. The great many bulbs and some early flowers were equally matched with tourist tat, but I was pleased to find a wide range of fruit and vegetable seeds for sale and whiled away an hour or so looking for those varieties that are on my ‘list’ as well as one or two new varieties to try. Continue reading

A day for the brassicas

The swede sown earlier in modules have been ready for planting out for a few weeks now, but like everything else in the garden, planting out is behind – this time without the excuse of bad weather. June is, however, a good time to be planting out these small, but sturdy, young plants. They all had a decent root ball, although another week or two in the modules and they would have been quite potbound. Swede are often sown direct in May or June, as, in common with root crops such as carrots, beetroot, and parsnip, they do not like to have their roots disturbed. However, I have had better results sowing these first in modules. Thirty six were planted out in one of the main beds reserved for brassicas in this rotation, 4 per row, spaced at about 25cm each way. A handful of spares will be kept for a couple of weeks, just in case any of those planted out today fail for some reason. Continue reading