Tag Archive leeks

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Couch grass, everlasting leeks, digging and sowing seeds

GardenAfter a major offensive by my current gardening enemy, couch grass, I have made the decision to dig up all the grass on the allotment. That means goodbye nice green paths, hello nicely dug bare soil. Yes, that’s right, an ecological, organic, and dare I say it a bit of a permaculturist – myself – has decided that digging is the only way to garden without spending ruinous amounts of time combatting slugs and perennial weeds. The couch grass is not just highly invasive it harbours slugs. They are both equally annoying and therefore both must go.   Read More

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More Leek Propagation, Shallot Failures, My Poor Allotment Management.

I’ve been making some big gardening mistakes, I guess you don’t really get to the point where you have mastery over your garden, nature will always bowl you a googly. The first mistake is not digging the allotment. The back garden doesn’t really need digging, i just prong it a little with a fork and loosen it while applying a compost mulch – this works well. The allotment meanwhile, with its heavy clay, has turned into concrete – you know the type of ground you could park lorries on. This of course set back and demolished my younger spring sown plants. Read More

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Allotment Update 24/3/14

Leeks, Perennial Leeks, Elephant GarlicThis is my first allotment update of the year. Please don’t judge it by its looks as it’s early days. My overwintering food – perennial kales, leeks and perennial leeks – are providing me with lots of food and though I want to preserve the perennial kales (in place) the leeks I want to lift so I can grow new things in the space, most probably peas or broad beans. Some of the leeks I am going to leave where they are even though they will go to seed in, probably, May. I want to save seed and also collect the “king pods” which form at the base of bolting leeks. Read More

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Happy 4th Birthday “Dwarf” Green Curly Kale Plus Asturian Tree Cabbage “Broccolis”

Asturian Tree CabbagePicked some “broccoli” from the allotment and fried it with an egg. It was nice but it wasn’t strictly speaking a broccoli but the flowering shoot of an Asturian Tree Cabbage which is both good looking and tasty. It is also a perennial and even though it is starting to flower is not showing any of the smaller leaves normally found on flowering brassicas. Like many brassicas it can be kept alive for more than two years by removing all the flowering shoots but the flowering shoots of the Asturian Tree Cabbage are much larger than most brassicas that are not broccolis. I am growing the ATC for its thick cabbage like leaves (though it doesn’t form a head) and the good quality flowering shoots are a real surprise to me. There are other smaller side shoots so I hope to get lots more as the spring progresses. Read More

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Saving my own leek seeds and getting them to germinate.

DSC_0945Another little experimental victory, this time leek seed saving. I have experimented with different ways to propagate the humble leek and there are many but your bog standard seed saving is something I have never done. This is strange because most people would not think of propagating a vegetable any other way. As well as seed saving leeks can be propagated by bulbils (pips or grass) and by bulblets. Read More

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Leek baby bulbs (bulblets), Japanese Bunching Onions dividing and White Clover sending out runners

I just thought I would share with you some of the things I have learnt recently about some of the plants I grow. Because I grow in a perennial fashion (either the plants are perennial or I extend their lifespan in ways such as taking cuttings or preventing them from flowering) I get to see the plants full behaviour over a longer period. Many conventional vegetable gardeners grow annuals from seed and then eat them, freeing the land up often very quickly for a new crop. This succession of plants is intensive and grows a lot of food, but my style of vegetable gardening is less intensive, less hard work, slower and more forgiving to the environment. The slowness allows me to see such things as the full lifespan of such things as the biennial leek. Read More

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No really, last harvest of squashes – properly this time

SquashesLike two years ago, my squashes have been hiding from me. Tonight I have added three new crown princes (the whitish ones) and one small acorn from the allotment. Compare this to the harvest photo I put up a couple of weeks ago. Two years ago my neighbour knocked on the door bearing 2 giant marrows, saying that those were mine and did I want them back. It’s like an easter egg hunt in my back garden most years. The table in the pics is a coffee table and I tried lifting it, bearing in mind that I was trying not to scatter them all over the living room, I found it a struggle to lift. The colours are also changing, compare with the photo before, a lot of the green squashes are going pumpkin orange, which is cool. Read More

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Leek vegetative propagation, bulblets (clones).

Leek bulblets at base of leek flower stalkI’ve been told that if you are collecting seed from leeks and the seed hasn’t gone black by now (21st September) then drastic action is required. So I’ve cut the seed heads, put them in bags and taken them home. Collecting the seeds was not the only sustainable technique i did with the leeks today, i also dug them up looking for bulblets. Read More

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Alliums, perennial brassicas, good weather, yields and adaptability

I have to be adaptable, slugs ensure this by setting my plants back, so I roll with the punches and change plans for the garden quickly and decisively. The good weather is making any old pot plant leap into action the moment I plant it. It’s not just the slugs and snails either, it is the caterpillars that are really doing my head in, and they are now well and truly in season. I have three types of non-flowering perennial kale (Daubenton, Taunton Dean and Ewiger Kohl), four types of flowering perennial brassica (Kailaan, Wild Cabbage, Nine Star Perennial Broccoli and “9 ans Portugese Couve”) and 2 types of traditional biennial brassica (a nice hispi type cabbage and a bog standard purple sprouting broccoli) which I am attempting to reproduce vegetatively. All of these brassicas are getting slaughtered by the cabbage butterflies, but I won’t have a net in the back garden (I use nets on the allotment) for aesthetic reasons. If the damage gets worse I may change my mind. Read More

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Sustainable Techniques for Leeks

This article is pretty much a collation of posts I wrote to do with propagating the good old fashioned leek. Propagating without collecting and germinating seed, techniques that are easy and quick to do and basically make the leek a permanent resident on your plot or in your back yard. I have done this as my part in the movement to get us all producing significant amounts of our own food without costing the earth. These techniques I have tested myself and work, but the inspiration for trying these techniques come from Medwyn’s of Anglesey and Leeks for the Lazy Gardener. Read More

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