It’s now August and much of the mid-summer produce has already been harvested and seeds are now setting on some of the vegetables. With the noticeable signs of daylight hours diminishing, there is no hiding it from the fruit and vegetables. Their little clocks and calendars know the times for them to get ready for reproduction next year. There is an impulse to collect every seed in the place but I did make my mind up to be ruthless and only collect seeds from plants I really wanted to grow again.
I have sown seeds for Chioggia beetroot which looked an interesting vegetable. I like beetroot but it is relatively cheap to buy in the shop so I thought I would go for interest instead.
The Chioggia gets it’s name from a village in Italy, grown initially for it’s leaves it wasn’t until after 1600 cultivation for the roots too became popular. According to one site I found, it says dye from the beets was used for fibres and food and the Victorians used it to dye their hair. The modern miss thinks that a scarlet hair colourant is a modern style so she will probably be a bit disappointed to know it was possible their great, great, grannies were modern misses before them and as most grannies were savvy shoppers, they would not pay hundreds of pounds for their hairdo when they could get the same effect free of charge – and eat the dye.
Not a lot can be said about the Spring Onion, it’s just a little vegetable which seems to get on with life. Although much against my principles, the variety I chose was a hybrid, TXS8516 Darcy. It’s said to be a mildew-tolerant bunching onion, dark green, upright and uniform. It is in a pot in the greenhouse at the moment and will be one of the many pots getting overwintered there. It will be spring before I will know it was happy in the greenhouse. I may give it a trial with cold planting after New Year then I can compare methods.
The seedlings I have which are looking quite healthy at the moment are Komatsuna Japanese Green Boy, Jozai (Chinese Greens which I don’t know any alternative names for) and Shungiku which does have an uninspiring alternative name of ‘Chop Suey Greens’. Perhaps better known winter vegetable is Claytonia (or Miner’s Lettuce or Purslane). I’ve grown it before and when I reused some of previous year’s compost, a little plant developed into something totally different from what I thought it was. I had sown Golden Purslane a couple of years ago but only reused the compost this year and there must have been a couple of seeds lurking in the dark.
There are two varieties of Collards I will be trying this autumn, Georgia Southern and Champion. I will save Yates until the Spring before sowing. Collards apparently are a cultivar of wild cabbage (Colewart), and actually looks very much like Spring Greens and being a cultivar of Brassica oleracea they are part of the cabbage, kale, broccoli group.
Each of the varieties of Collards differ just slightly with Champion being the toughest cookie which should withstand our winters just a bit better than the others. My only problem with them is the lack of space as they like to spread themselves out a bit. However there won’t be so much competition with other vegetables in winter.
Replacing another empty space left in one of the containers by the kale, will be Snowball Turnips. A traditional variety that will grow and mature quickly. It will take only a couple of months until they can be pulled as mini vegetables.
These are some vegetables which will be going into the pots and containers so it will be interesting to see what comes out at the time of harvesting.
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