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Yesterday at 09:18
'Chinese strawberries/Bayberries' are the fruit of Myrica rubra, a tropical tree in an entirely different order from Fragaria spp. No big deal in this instance, but please be very careful of misidentifying edibles in the future!
25 Aug 2017 09:53
This week in central Scotland I have sown:
Winter Spinach (Viroflex crops October - April if sown now) - A real winner and winter greens staple.
Chinese Cabbage - Wong Bok (WIll mature by end of October and can stand for a month or so after that), sow into September under cover for winter harvest
Several varieties of Pak Choi (will grow into winter if fleeced).
Land Cress - Crops all winter long without protection here.
Rocket - As above, but may need protection from hungry pigeons!
Purslanes and/or Miners 'lettuce' - heavy crops throughout winter if protected.
Lambs 'lettuce' - Grows fine without winter protection.
Hardy lettuces - I've found 'Winter Gem' to be a real winner - Sow from mid August to January (yes January) outdoors under a cloche or fleece for a fresh salad crop from November to May.
Japanese and Chinese 'Flowering Shoots' such as Tsoi Sim and Kailaan - Sow into September for delicious sweet 'Brocolli' whilst Western varieties are out of season.
Asian 'Mustards' - Group of extremely hardy plants widely grown for their leaves over winter in Asia. Eat raw or cooked as Spinach. Very Reliable and no protection required (good selection at realseeds.co.uk).
Erba Stella or Italian Plantain - Good as a salad leaf or cooked as Spinach - WIll crop till December, all winter in a polytunnel if sown now, but not terribly hardy.
Chard - Will happily crop all winter till April if sown now.
Coriander - A Hardy annual herb - Given a bit of protection you can harvest fresh leaves till December then again from February when growth restarts (I have found 'calypso' to be particularly hardy!).
Florence Fennel - If you have a patch of rich soil in full sun (Sunrise to Sunset) you can sow fennel now to harvest young in November.
Overwintering onions - I plant Japanese onion sets now, mainly for harvesting as 'spring onions' October to April.
Winter Radishes - Radishes such as Daikon mature quickly if sown whilst the soil is still warm. Many are very hardy and can stay in situ till harvest through till April.
#Think about planting garlic from October - Although to me Autumn planting is over recommended. Planting from December always produces healthier plants for me.
I have been growing all of these successfully for several years over winter here in central Scotland. There's no reason we all can't enjoy growing and harvesting more crops in winter! There are many hundreds of hardy winter vegetables which have been grown in Asia for Thousands of years and that us 'Westerners' are mostly oblivious to. If you can obtain the seeds for these brilliant vegetables there's no reason for winter allotment veg to be limited to Brussel Sprouts and Parsnips..
Last edited: 25 August 2017 09:56:08
23 Jun 2017 09:41
P.S. There are not many plants that can compete with the rapid growth and early fruit production of a happy courgette!
23 Jun 2017 09:39
Hi mickcarruk, have your butternut squash plants put on some growth in the last 10 days?? I find that butternut varieties are always much slower to get going than my other squashes..
Your plants should be sending out a main lateral growing stem by now and have some clear flower buds forming, even if these are male flowers. Especially given the warm weather the UK has been experiencing recently.
23 Jun 2017 09:30
Hi a1154. That is odd.. especially if you have experience growing other veg from seed. Chinese greens, and Brassicas in general are notoriously fast and un-fussy in their germination. If I had to venture guess I'd say your seed germinates fine, it's more likely slugs/snails getting your seedlings before you see them!
Last edited: 23 June 2017 09:31:25
23 Jun 2017 09:24
The best new variety I have grown this year is 'Winter Gem' , a baby gem/cos lettuce. From a sowing in September and another indoors in January, we have been eating delicious, large cos lettuces with solid hearts since mid December. Those sown in January are standing extremely well, not a single one has bolted yet.. unheard of in my experience. Well worth growing!
05 Jun 2017 22:34
I have been trying to identify this Hebe for some time now with no luck.. The pictures are of one specimen in the grounds of Stuart House (Isle of Bute on Scotland's West coast) and are dated the 10th of May. This particular plant had an open growing habit and was approx. 1.5-2 metres tall, considerable taller than any Hebe varieties I can see for sale here in the UK.
Does anyone have any ideas?? Any help would be much appreciated!
P.S. It is possible this particular plant or it's parent was collected in New Zealand since the grounds at Stuart House were established by a botanist..
Many thanks in advance.
10 Apr 2017 14:50
From my experience, the best seeds/varieties of fruit/veg seed can be found at:
realseeds.co.uk - seed from real reliable varieties, often grown for hundreds of years, no expensive hybrids!
seekay.co.uk - very cheap seed of a wide variety of fruit/vegetables. Sell many of the same varieties as Thomson and Morgan, Suttons, Marshals etc. but much more cheaply!
Last edited: 10 April 2017 14:50:39
17 Feb 2017 15:43
Start you seedlings off in your greenhouse/coldframe, you will get far, far better plants as a result. As others have said, plants such as tomatoes and beans sown in late March will be much stronger and will very often overtake earlier sowings. There are many hardy plants you can start now to grow on in a cold greenhouse.
17 Feb 2017 15:30
I do the same as Obelixx, my south facing kitchen windowsill is amass with many pots of 4 inch pea shoots! Delicious in salads, to top stirfry's, in a lovely pita with grilled meat/veg and tzatziki, delicious :) Ready to eat in as little as two weeks from sowing.
Given how mild, and dry! the winter has been here in central Scotland, there's still spinach (viroflex), lambs lettuce, claytonia and land cress aplenty coming out of the allotment. Thankfully pigeons haven't touched anything except for a little of the landcress (which surprised me given it is rather peppery, but perhaps the birds don't taste it the same way we do..). In short it's definitely worth sowing these in late August/September to fill the 'hungry gap' now!
In terms of looking forward,my first sowings of Asian greens are growing on nicely in coldframe (Kailaan, Pak Choi, Komatsuna, Wasabi mustard), first true leaves forming and seedlings very happy. The Pak Choi and Komatsuna is likely to bolt before nice big leaves form, but this really doesn't matter to me as the young plants will be harvested whole before the flowering stems toughen up..
Kailaan is highly recommended as it's primarily grown for the flowering shoots, so is perfect for growing when the days are lengthening so quickly like now. I tend to germinate these early brassicas inside and immediately move the seedlings out to a coldframe. This way there is no hardening off required later, and I get no leggy seedlings as they get maximal light outside from dawn to dusk.
I typed much more than intended, but hope it helps inspire some ideas!
Last edited: 17 February 2017 15:33:47
05 Dec 2016 12:58
Here's my crop from this year from 6 plants. Enough for about 40 meals for my partner and I, and very easy to grow!
05 Dec 2016 12:54
If you are looking for reliable pumpkin varieties, go for either a hubbard type (uchichi kuri is very reliable for me) or buttercups. I've never had any bother growing enough to last throughout the winter here in central Scotland. Another upside is that these aren't huge and so are very easy to store and use as needed.
15 Nov 2016 18:45
Many salad leaves can easily be grown over winter, however it is important for the plants to get a good start before the short days really take hold.. I would suggest that you are too late to get 'cut and come again' plants started for this winter. That said, you may still successfully grow rocket, lambs lettuce etc. for use throughout winter if you sow seed little and often in your greenhouse as day time temperatures will allo germination no problem. Using this method, once two or three leaves have formed, simply harvest everything at once :) and mae sure your next batch have germinated!
Next year, you can sow large leaved spinach (such as viroflex), rocket, lambs lettuce, land/water cress and many varieties of lettuce from early September to early October for lovely fresh leaves throughout winter. Hope that helps!
P.S. I would recommend investigating the edibility of many of our so-called 'weeds'. There is an abundance of wild leaves available throughout winter and early spring if you know what to look for :)
Last edited: 15 November 2016 18:49:33
24 Sep 2016 23:34
It sounds to me like you done everything right when preparing the soil with manure and mushroom compost before planting. The fact that you had lots of bees visiting your garden, and even saw them visiting pumpkin flowers, pretty firmly rules out a pollination issue!
You also live in a warm area so there's little reason for pollinated flowers not to set fruit.
Where exactly did you get the seeds from? If they were saved from a store bought pumpkin, I'd say with a degree of certainty that's why they did not produce fruit.
If seed (any seed) is bought from a reputable breeder, there are very few reasons, other that uncontrollable disease, that you shouldn't have at least some degree of success.
Last edited: 24 September 2016 23:38:02
20 Sep 2016 19:13
Hi anyacolo, I'm assuming in central Ontario you get very cold winters and quite hot summers? Pumpkins are my absolute favourite crop so that sounds great! There are so many varieties available with different sizes, beautiful shapes, flavours and textures. So try some unusual ones if you have the space :)
When did you start off your pumpkins and sweetcorn this spring?
As for other crops, tomatoes will do pretty well I'd imagine, as will beans. Assuming you get very hot summer days like Toronto, I'd probably avoid growing heat sensitive plants. Lettuces for example are likely to bolt very quickly in summer, so grow these in early spring or fall.
Hope this helps :)
20 Sep 2016 18:30
Pumpkins, courgettes, sweetcorn and beans all still going strong! Winter veg really coming on now too. Completely agree with scroggin, it's from March till Late May that it's slim pickings on the allotment, we tend to eat a whole lot of greens in March and April, the odd cabbage and leek left by then, but that's about it.. Any suggestion for ideas filling this gap would be much appreciate :)
29 Jul 2016 18:10
Still plenty of time! Spinach, lettuces, Pak Choi and other Asian greens can all be sown now. Carrots/beetroots too if you are quick and have a good spot in full sun. If you can get hold of plug plants, cabbages, brussells and brocolli can also go in now. Hope that helps!
29 Jul 2016 18:05
Sorry to hear about your troubles Mixymax! Have you had any slug damage on other crops this year?Can't say I've heard of any local carrot issues this year down the allotment. Personally my earlier sowings (late march) have been the most successful even though these took several weeks to germinate. Plenty carrots being lifted from fields around us here this last week also.
27 Jul 2016 16:18
You don't have anything to worry about. The 'pinky' bits on your potatoes are characteristic of King Edward's, completely normal! Your plants look fine, the top growth looks good and healthy. As for the yellowing leaves on the bottom, that's simply the plants getting older. Your plants are putting most of their resources into producing tubers at this point, those leaves are the oldest and therefore not worth maintaining (from the plants point of view)..
I don't see any sign of disease or blight :) I hope you enjoy a bountiful harvest of King Edwards soon!
21 Jul 2016 17:12
Hmmm I agree those certainly don't look like strawberries!