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February 2018

By Nick Nutter | 27 Sep 2018

Romanescu

I am really pleased with my Romanesco. Planted as plugs in October they are now coming ready. Steam or boil them. They taste like a cross between cauliflower and broccoli. Over the month I have planted red onion sets and more lettuce, leeks, beetroot, red cabbage and cauliflower plugs.

Potatoes

I have been keeping an eye on my Spanish neighbour. He put his potatoes in mid January. His method is simple. Make a wide flat topped ridge, one you can straddle comfortably, dig a hole with a mattock and drop a spud in, shuffle forward and repeat. Anyhow I had a word with him and it seems he is expecting to dig his potatoes around May time and the ground will be then be ready for sweet potatoes. OK I will give that a shot. I planted reds and whites on the 14th January and they are both showing as I write. I also sowed a row of radish on top of the potato ridge. They are coming on nicely and will all be out by the time the potatoes are ready.

Julie brought me back a bag of Maris Peer and Arran Pilot first earlies from Morrisons so I have a row of each of those in as well.

Peas and Broad Beans

I am still picking peas and broad beans with plenty left to go. The broad beans, The Sutton, have not produced a massive crop. Many flowers are failing to set, perhaps the variety finds Spain a little warm or the right insects are not about ot more likely I sowed too early, mid September. They have grown very rapidly. Last year Perla, planted a month later in October, were not ready until March and they gave a good crop. Lesson learned.

I have sown a row of Oregon sugar snap peas and a row of later broad beans, Bunyards Exhibition this month. We shall see if they do OK.

Herb Garden

Parsley, flat and curly, sown as seed last autumn is at its best now. I have just sown another row of each. Two sowings per year will give you all the parsley you need.

I also spotted some coriander grown in pots at the viveros so I put three in a sheltered spot. They seem to be doing well. I will sow seed in the open about April. Keep your eyes open for the first Italian style basil plants, that’s the one with large dark green leaves. They should be appearing soon.

Spring will soon be here. I am preparing ground for all the hungry plants by digging in compost as soon as it is ready, the compost that is. Plants such as squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and courgettes cannot have enough. All like a well drained soil so the more you can work it between now and planting time the better it will be.

Pea and Lettuce Surplus

Try my French Pea recipe, a real spring flavour.

You need peas from about a kilo of peas in the pod and a small or half a large crispy lettuce, washed. One teaspoon of salt, one of sugar, a good knob of butter and 2 tablespoons of water. Put the whole lot in a pan. Put the lid on and simmer for 20-30 minutes until the water has evaporated. Throw in a handful of chopped mint at the end if you like. (You can use frozen peas, just as good).

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