Tag Archive perennial veg

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A Forest Garden Without the Forest

My back garden is a productive, organic, kitchen garden with substantial amounts of perennial vegetables, some annual vegetables and five dwarfing fruit trees. The fruit trees are kept pruned and spaced widely to allow the maximum amount of light to reach the vegetables below and have a decent fruit crop. It is not really a shaded garden, though the allotment is much sunnier as evidenced by the bigger onions and leeks I can grow there, and no plants form anything like a canopy. Read More

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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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Taking Cuttings from Cabbage

Cloned cabbageI am posting this article to collect in one place all the information I have on taking cuttings (or cloning) the humble cabbage. It is a physical experiment I am conducting based on a sentence in a permaculture book. That book said that once you had cut the head of a cabbage you could wait for smaller ones to grow then replant them in the soil for new cabbages. This seems a handy technique for those of us who would rather spend nothing than waste good money on seed. If you add up the price of all the seed packets you buy each year it really adds up. And for us sustainability freaks, we really want to beat the greengrocer. 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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‘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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Overwintering Blue Basil and Chillis Update

God how long is winter going to last? Hobbling out of my sick cavebed (chest infection) I’ve finally summoned the strength to get up and out, pretending that a few brief rays of sun amongst sheets of rain counts as a beginning to the season. But things are picking up, just look at the lengthening of daylight and thus the increase in light. Of course, in the UK winter really starts about now with inch thick frost on the car windscreen and the odd day of snow to look forward to in late Feb and March. So I am guilty again of optimism. 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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Dividing scorzonera, vegetative propagation [updated].

Dividing ScorzoneraI must apologise for the length of time between posts but my garden is in a cool temperate zone in the northern hemisphere  and we are in the depths of winter.  There is not much time to garden with the reduced daylight hours and nothing is growing much anyway. It is quite entertaining to look at England’s climate through the eyes of my Amrikan friend who is stunned to find he is able to overwinter brassicas, artichokes and such things here. We complain of the weather but really we are very fortunate, especially in the south of England. Read More

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Is it called sheet mulching cos it’s, like, sheet?

Sheet mulching2Mrs SVG wasn’t at all convinced that dumping half a ton of poorly composted vegetation, cardboard and mouldy pumpkins all over the garden was a good idea. It doesn’t look at all great, except in my minds eye where I see hidden worms turning it into humus and where I see the soil that this sort of soil building helps make. I have a love/hate relationship with mulching because there is no doubt that mulching recycles all the nutrients in the mulch into the soil, a trick that composting in a heap doesn’t do – much compost nutrients are washed away well before it is dug into the soil. But thick mulches are the perfect hiding place for slugs and snails and I will not tolerate their presence. I have learnt the hard way that clean soil is the best way to keep slugs away and so I don’t mulch during the spring, summer and most of autumn – I compost. Read More

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