Saturday, 27 February 2010

Carrots and Leeks

I was determined to get some home grown veg this week so during a brief dry spell this afternoon I've just been to the plot and dug up these leeks and carrots. You almost wouldn't know the carrots were there, the foliage is so ropey it blends in with the surrounding weeds, but the carrots underneath are pretty good I think you'll agree? These leeks were the biggest four I could find, and as you can see, they are not even as big as the carrots. They have a month left to grow before I dig them all up to make room for the potatoes.

Talking of potatoes, the chits on the Anyas are getting quite carried away. This particular one only had the one sprout so far, but I have now removed it, in the hopes that some more will develop. The others all have more little ones coming so they should be alright if I remove the biggest ones. As I've said, there is still a month to go before planting.

We finally ate the oyster mushrooms. There were about four large-ish ones between six of us for breakfast last weekend. (It was hardly worth it!) They were mostly stalk, which was quite tough and chewy, and on the whole, a little disappointing. Still, a fun experiment to keep me going while nothing much else was going on. I have thrown the straw into the compost as it was starting to develop green mould and once I had cut the biggest mushrooms, all the others started to shrivel up, so I've called it a day.

The purple sprouting brocolli, the ones that are still alive, look as if they might start to sprout soon, but I think they will take a battering during the storm that is coming our way tomorrow....

I could see little pink buds of rhubarb coming up, as far as I can tell the blackcurrants that I planted a couple of weeks ago are still alive, and the overwintering onions and garlic are still soldiering on. My main concern is the unidentified weed that is growing amongst the strawberries and fruit bushes at one end of the plot. It spreads via its root system and I think I may have to try and control it with glyphosate, as it seems impossible to dig up a plant without breaking off the root and leaving half of it behind. Also it has now started to encroach on the next patch along, where I will shortly be putting the onions in.

In the greenhouse, the broad beans I put in a few weeks ago still haven't come up. I went to look this morning, thinking that the last few days of milder weather may have got them going, only to find that there was fuzzy mould growing round them, and I think they are rotting. I'll leave them a little bit longer, just in case one or two survive, but I think they may be gonners. No sign of the sweet peas either.

There was me thinking I would have the whole of February for ground preparation, and I think I have managed about 3 hours in total in the whole month. Oh well, planting will have to be somewhat delayed this year I think. The Easter holidays are coming up so fingers crossed for some dry weather soon.....


Jo said...

I thought I would have had my allotment prepared by now too, but the weather has had other ideas. I think we will all be planting later this year. What a shame about the mushrooms, at least you've given it a go. It's nice to be still digging up home grown veg at this time of year. Mine has all gone now but this year I intend to have more growing through the winter months. My leeks never really bulked up either, but they were still tasty. I'm trying a different variety this year.

Damo said...

Your carrots are good, can't seem to grow them hoping for better this time round.

Kella said...

My over wintered carrots were decimated by carrot fly grubs, guess what its the only year I didn't use a raised barrier around them, so its back to old habits this year.

Here is an idea that you can use to get more out of your mushroom kit.

Get some clean sawdust from the pet shop and sterilise it with boiling water.

Then find a nice shady cool area in the garden or on the plot, dig a shallow hole and pour in some of the damp sawdust into the pit about 2" thick.

Then break up your kit into smaller pieces but leave fairly chunky and spread it out in an even layer as possible over the 2“ thick layer of sawdust. Then pour the rest of your damp sawdust onto it, water and leave it to do its own thing.

This is just an experiment, I have never tried it but I don't see that you can lose anything and if it works you'll gain.

The bigger the pile of sawdust the longer you'll get crops and I suppose you can slowly add to the pile over time as it settles, so the fungi will always have fresh substrate to feed and grow from.

Another thing you can do is to pour boiling water directly into the hole to help kill off any 'weed fungi spores'. Some might say to cover the treated sawdust pile with a piece of black plastic to keep in moisture till the fungi has grown but I would be inclined to leave nature to just get on with it (I suppose you could cover and when there is evidence that the fungi has grown and can be seen then you could cover with a fresh set of damp sawdust then leave the pile open to the elements.

Something just occurred to me I wonder if mushroom kits fail because of tap water use???

Anyway I better go now before I overstay my welcome ;)

Rachael said...

That sounds like a good idea in principle Kella - only trouble is the straw has now been buried in the compost bin for about a week, and I wasn't sufficiently impressed with the mushrooms to give it another chance.

After I had scrubbed the dirt off my carrots I discovered they were also very badly affected by carrot fly grubs, in fact I had to pull the grubs out of the carrots as I peeled them! I had never actually seen the grubs before, only the damage they leave behind.

Kella said...

Oh what a pity but you never know you might get some oyster mushrooms growing in your veg beds in the future and at least you'll know where they came from.

The grubs are quite disgusting when you have to dig them out aren't they, blech!

Anonymous said...

I am planning this weekend for a bit of gardening! Mr Veg off to Newcastle for the footy, so me and the dogs diggin in the garden (and me chasing the dogs with mouthfuls of manure in their mouths...)...ahhhh, a serene weekend ahead.