Tag Archive perennial brassicas

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Nine Star Broccoli Curds Appearing

Nine Star Broccoli CurdNine Star Broccoli seems a bit misnamed. Though the plant looks like a purple sprouting broccoli by its tall stalk and green leaves, its spears (or what I call curds) look and taste like cauliflower. So because its edible (as opposed to inedible) parts are cauli like I tend to refer to it as a type of cauli. Unlike the cauli though (but like the broccoli) it has side shoots that are also tasty little curds. They are now starting to appear on my plants now it is early april. For some reason I thought they would appear in June, so I am a little surprised, but I have responded to this event by fertilising them with the little fertilising material I have left. 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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Be Careful What You Wish For…

Last time I expressed a little boredom with my ongoing 4 year experiment in keeping a Dwarf Green Curled Kale alive long past its allotted 2 years (as a brassica). Well, the bloody thing was battered by a moderately strong wind and broke in two. It is still alive, just much smaller than it was. This might be serendipitous as I didn’t have the courage to dig it up after so long nurturing it, and this event has given me the chance to back out gracefully. But it may not be the end for our brave curly kale – or at least not its genes. I am going to take a cutting and see whether or not regrowing it each year has better results.  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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‘Sallets’ – Perennial Salads [updated 3/4/14]

I’ve been reading John Evelyn’s “A Discourse on Sallets” and being a retro-romantic reactionary I found it all very fascinating. Reading it I was reminded that sallet might be making a comeback as a  permaculture term for perennial salad plants. It is a middle (read old) English spelling for salad. Many of the herbs and leaves in Evelyn’s book are familiar (lettuce, parsley, borage) others almost forgotten (skirret, good king henry). But not to Permaculturists who are familiar with such plants as skirret and good king henry because they are perennial edibles. Not all perennial edibles are all that great, however. Martin Crawford in his “Creating a Forest Garden” recommends young lime leaves (lime as in linden tree) in salads, which as much as I respect the really great research Martin has done, are revolting. So here are my selections for a perennial salad that actually taste nice and also can be grown perennially. Read More

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A Talk by Pennard Plants

I got my daubenton kale plants from a nursery near Shepton Mallet called Pennard Plants. Daubenton is very important to me because it is a well supported perennial kale that never flowers. Well when I saw a notice up saying there was going to be a talk by Pennard Plants in Bath I was excited and hoped there would be some discussion on perennial vegetables. It couldn’t have gone better for me. Read More

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Building a Home-Made Wormery

Had a day off and spent it in the garden. A bit chilly but I was pretending it was spring. I did intend to sow some seeds, I bought some last week – pot leeks and prize winning peas – but I’ve just realised that I forgot. The pot leeks I couldn’t resist, a northern English fashion of growing really fat leeks that have only 6 inches of white shank. Wider than taller you might say. Once I have them I will grow them without seed in further years (see here). The prize winning peas I bought because the pic on the front was of vines overloaded with peas and who can resist a bit of merchandising – not I! Read More

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Overwintering African Blue Basil, Comparing Squashes and Testing Compost

My African Blue Basil cuttings which I took in October are romping away now in their tiny modules on my kitchen window sill. They were taken as an insurance policy against my basil bush dying. The African Blue is a perennial basil and a plant you can overwinter here indoors in the UK but I always find the lovely big bushes I buy always die in the autumn. I know it is easier to keep cuttings alive and this seems to be true in this case, they are doing well so far. Read More

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Mulching, composting and testing my soil for pH, nitrogen, phosphates and potassium

Today was a day spent pottering about the back garden dealing with the chores I have been putting off.  Much exposed soil looks as though it has been walked on (which it hasn’t) which I assume is the effect of the weather, compacting my soil. So I’ve been busy with my mature compost pile, rooting the good stuff out, sieving it (loosely, mind) and using it around my overwintering vegetables. The rough stuff (woody or just uncomposted matter) I am mulching the soil with to protect the soil from compaction. I am also putting it around those vegetables that aren’t closely spaced. The bulky, sticklike stuff is hard to space around my Japanese Bunching Onions but easy to do around the perennial brassicas. I also had a bit of straw left in a bag from last year which I bunged on top of the mulch. This is now, hand on heart, the last organic matter input for the back garden. My garden should now be self fertilising.

Should be. Read More

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Annuals vs Perennials

Perennial vegetable growing is a bit of a buzzword for permaculture types and very often the question is asked – why are annual veggies grown when perennial ones are just so much easier and sustainable?. Take rhubarb and asparagus, frinstance, very traditional perennial veg that everyone knows about – big yields and very popular on allotments everywhere. Why have we not replaced all our annuals with such fine perennial equivalents? Read More

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