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Some Successes And Failures.

My experimentation with trying to grow some white Asparagus was a great success! All I did to achieve this was to select a vigorous plant and cover it with an upturned bucket before putting a house brick on top to hold it down against the wind. As the new shoots grew they came up pure white. They were very attractive, but I have to confess that with my sense of taste they seemed to taste no different. One other point is that once cut, the Spears go green very quickly if kept in the light! You really need to cover them after cutting until you get them home and they are cooked.
For those that are in the habit of letting their Asparagus Spears get too long before cutting, I saw an excellent tip on a cookery program where one of the Chefs was peeling some overly long and thick, stalks before cooking. He pointed out that when the Spears get too tough, it is only because the outer skin has thickened and if this is peeled off, the inner core is soft enough to cook as normal. I tried it and it really does work, although to make it worth the effort you need to start with thick stalks. Now we have come to the end of June, the Asparagus season is all over, so my two new ideas will have to keep until next year. The over all harvest of Asparagus was not too bad and neither was the Rhubarb harvest in the end, although there seemed to be spells where it didnít appear to be growing and was just sitting there.

I have started pulling leaves off my Celtuce leaves that seem to be a bit thicker than normal Lettuce leaves, but they are ok to eat just the same. Having grown it for a couple of years now, I have previously only bothered harvesting the stalks as an alternative vegetable at the end of the season, but this year I thought I would try and make a bit more use of what I grow and waste less vegetables.

The first of my Turnips are ready and still swelling nicely, although we could do with a bit more rain on them than we have had to stop them going woody and going to seed. Speaking of things going to seed because of being too dry, one bed of Onions is going to seed whereas the other bed seems ok at the moment. I have tried the old trick of cutting the developing seed heads off and hoping for the best. I had to remove last years Chard as that had gone to seed as well, but that was expected, because it had simply come to the end of its growing time. However, I have started pulling a few leaves on this seasons follow up young plants that are growing quickly, and here again, one or two, are going to seed already. Up until the end of June it was just too dry for everything. Again, I will cut the tops off and hope for the best.

I have harvested my Garlic as the tops had died down, but the bulbs were very poor, so I gave them away to a real Garlic fan who hadnít grown any. My Radishes werenít any better as they had gone woody and were too hard to eat. The plants did want some more water, but that wasnít the real problem as I had got mixed up over the variety and thought they were the giant Mooli type. I had been waiting for them to get big and long which of course they didnít! They just went to seed.
I had more success with my over Wintered Broad Beans even though I tried picking them too early to start with. The plants looked nice with big pods, but the beans were tiny inside them. (I was reminded of the fiasco with my Hazelnuts a couple of years back!) I left them another couple of weeks until the end of June and by then they had became sizeable beans. Even then there were not many beans inside the pods, but I did got a couple of bag-fulls into the freezer. Of course my over Wintered (Aquadulce type) plants had produced their Beans earlier than everybody elseís as theirs are only just coming ready now. However, as mine flowered so much earlier in the season it may be that the Bees werenít about then to pollinate them Ė hence the part empty pods.

The next vegetable to harvest, will, I think, be the Potatoes. When the late frosts took the tops at the end of Spring I panicked a little and thought they might be a complete failure, but they re-shot OK and are starting to flower, which is a good sign. As usual I am already growing a few trays of seedlings to plant in the space when the Potatoes do come out. Beetroot and Khol Rabi are two of my favourites vegetables that are quick to harvest from seed, but I will by sowing some Radish Mooli as well!

 

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