Today – ‘Vary your Veg’ day in Healthy Eating Week – seems like a good day to brag … I mean provide an update on my first year of home growing. Over the summer, the garden peas became a daily treat. I didn’t cook them – I just picked them and ate them fresh from the pod, and they were so sweet.
The next up were the potatoes. I had just cut a leftover Charlotte potato from the supermarket in two and planted it in a soft planter with compost. I was quite late in planting it out and, although I got lots of foliage, there were no flowers, so I thought they had failed and had given up on them. However, when my brother-in-law, who is a bit of a potato expert, visited, he saw the plants and pulled them up, to find a fantastic crop hiding underneath (considering from just one bully potato!), which I was able to eat over several days.
Now, I have found myself with a fantastic crop of leeks, which was a bit of an unexpected success too. I had heard they weren’t particularly easy to grow, so wasn’t expecting much.
However, I now have 33 leeks of varying thickness, and have just harvested the first couple, and really tasty they were too. So, if I’m not going to
spend the winter eating leek and potato soup every day, I would welcome anyone’s ideas for different ways of eating them.
I am a total novice at home-growing, yet all of these have proved to be a success. And for anyone who doesn’t have a garden, I can recommend trying potatoes, which you can easily just grow in a bag. A supermarket bag-for-life would be ideal for this. Just make sure there are some holes for drainage and put in some compost – not too deep at this stage. Cut a potato/potatoes (salad-type ones probably easiest for our climate – something like Charlotte or Nicola) in half – try to ensure there are some eyes in each piece – and leave for a bit for the cut surfaces to dry out a little, then plant them in the compost, cut side down. Once the foliage gets to around 12-15 cm, add some more compost around the stalks (called ‘earthing up’) and keep repeating this each time they grow until the bag is full. This will give you a bigger crop, as the potatoes will crop all the way through. Because they’re in a bag, you can move them around too, to let them have the sun. Keep watering as required, then just wait for the foliage to start to wither and harvest your crop. I also put my used coffee grounds in with the water. I think that helped to keep the slugs at bay. Hmmm … slugs … anyone have any cruelty-free ideas for getting rid of these loathsome creatures from the garden?