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Green Magpie

Every year I decide to try to grow at least one new vegetable, and I have to say I've been disappointed with my recent efforts:

Celtuce - bitter green leaves with no point or interest to them.

Asparagus peas - didn't thrive, stayed tiny and produced only a few, tough little pods.

Chicory - mine turned messy and slimy, and tasted horrible

Petit Posy, a sort of sprout-kale cross that turned out to have the worst features of both.

Scorzonera - long rope-like tubers that were almost impossible to dig out of the ground and tasted of nothing when cooked.

Now you'll be thinking it's just me, but I grow lovely carrots, tomatoes, courgettes, chillis, peas, beans, parsnips, potatoes and salads. I just can't seem to be successful with anything more unusual (unless you count the chilllis, or land cress). Perhaps they are unusual for a reason ...

Anyway, I am undaunted and this year I'm trying cavalo nero (black kale).

How about you?


I grow lots of the same types of vegetables every year in my land (I mean the plants, are not for sale, only our kitchen garden). I also like to try new things as often as I can. It's fun to experiment. But there are a few that I grow year after year, only to end up wondering why I continue to grow them. I don't know if I feel obligated to grow them, or if I'm too stubborn to give up, or I feel overly optimistic in the spring, or I just want to use up the seeds, or... Maybe I have a small idea for you (include me). Try to grow vegies as a THEME. It's mean like MEDITERRANIAN, or upper north folks (as Canada or Finnland), or, if you can a tropic/subtropical area, or a water area with water spinach, etc....I don't no, but you understand, what I mean?I have to think about this, now...greetings, ThaiGer.


Green Magpie, i agree with you about Scozonera and Aparagus Peas. I love cavalo Nero, and have some growing at the moment, I treat it as a cut and come again plant. I roll the leaves up tightly and slice them fine and then steam.


I tried asparagus peas and they were small and tough too. I always try to grow brussels sprouts for Christmas but they always fail and I buy them. They worked so well when I lived in Kent!


Celeriac.  Massive in the shops, I never grew them like that.  Swedes much prefer to grow in a field - buy them.


Green Magpie

Yup, I had already dismissed celeriac because I can imagine how small and lumpy mine would turn out (plus, it sounds as if you have to start them in modules or something). And swedes - well, how many swedes can you eat? I buy one occasionally (most recently to have with haggis!) but not very often.

But, to be positive, I am going to plant my shallots soon. They always do well.

I have come across this thread in my search for information regarding celtuce.  I don't know if you green magpie will see this but here's hoping you do!  I am a market gardener in surrey supplying fresh produce to the restaurants in London.  they are always after the unusual!  celtuce is now a crop that I am growing. I am picking my first stems now after a very painless growing process.  when I first tasted it I thought it was foul!  the leaves bitter and the stem even more so.  I found out what to do with it though and it is fast becoming my favourite veg!!!   just discard the leaves as the true beauty is in the stem. it must be peeled however and then its delicious raw and even better cooked. last night I lightly fried some in ginger, honey and soy and it was divine.


anyway that is my 2 pennies worth!




having just taken over my allotment I have grown a variety of species and varieties, I will not be growing,

celeriac (my ground just killed it - even when it was 4 inches tall in a module beforehand)

Shetland black potatoes -2nd early's (they didn't taste as nice as the charlottes I grew)

Pentland javelin potatoes- 1st early's (the red Duke of York's tasted nicer and grew better)

I have an extensive list with what grew well, what didn't and what tasted nice!



Summer sprouting Purple Broccoli - had a couple of good years with this - however this year - massive plants and virtually no sprouts !  Too much nitrogen ? They were sown and planted out this year.  Louise

Had this same conversation with my step brother at christmas, am yet to find anyone who likes asp pea! Aparently samphire tastes like grass! I grew asparagus lettuce last year, it grew well, but i never got round to eating any!
Have grown most things over the years, but love trying new things, okra is on the agenda for next year, i have just planted a pomegranite and am considering chick peas and soya beans, what do you want to bet i will be back on here this time next year, moaning that its all vile!
Louise, did you grow your purple sprouting in the same place as the year before?

Thanks bekkie - I try to move all veg round year on year but the plot is not so big so just might have been near the previous year's crop - how would this affect ? Louise


I tried yellow beetroot once but we found them too earthy and prefer the sweeter red ones.   Have grown and loved cavolo nero but it doesn't cope with our usual winters so gets zapped.   When I started our veggie plot I made a whole asparagus bed but it never came to anything cos of the winters.  Ditto globe artichokes.

Jerusalem artichokes do well but Chinese artichokes are a waste of time.   Grew asparagus peas years ago - just the once.  I grew parsnips once but they liked the conditions so much they grew huge whereas we like them smaller and juicier.  

Radicchio does well and so do assorted Chinese greens.   Mizuna was horrible - tough and bitter.

We love purple sprouing but need a mild winter to get a good crop here and those are rather rare.

It shouldnt really matter now and again, it just may have put higher demands on the ground for that particular set of nutrients, but you are probably correct, with too much nitrogen, although it could also have been one of those things, some times its just a dodgy batch
Edd, i dont have a clue what it tastes like, but will have a bash, like you say, it has pretty flowers

If my OH ever builds the raised bed i was promised, i will make it into a hot bed and have another go at sweet spuds and melons

I once grew gherkins outside, huge crop, nothing wrong with them at all but at the end of the season how many pickled gherkins can two people eat ?

Advertisement   psb is a great crop for our winters.  if you choose the right variety then its the cold weather that leads to the production of the purple spears.  all the varieties from tozers can be found in small pack sizes on the net. I use summer purple, red spear, red arrow and cardinal and this covers October until may.

Ive grown a few plants of ps this year, i like it swimming in butter which kind of defeats the point of growing nice healthy things!

Greg S - great looking selection but they won't do in my normal winters of -15C if I'm lucky and more usually -20C and below in Jan and Feb.  I did try it again last year with - ever the optimist - and had a great crop this spring because it was a mild winter but I'd need a polytunnel for normal years.

I'm told the trick with scorzonera is to grow it in rich sandy soil in a tub.  When the time comes to harvest it (preferably after a frost), you tip out the contents onto a sheet of plastic, when it's easy to separate roots from soil.

All well and good -- if only the seeds would germinate, and the seedlings not damp off.  Can anyone tell the secret of getting scorzonera to grow at all?