It will take some time and a lot of work, trying to curb my enthusiasm for growing too much in a small space. Some things work, but there is no point in attempting to grow things again which didn’t make much effort the first time. I like pushing the limits a bit and experimenting with what might grow and even better if I get results. Sweet potatoes can be grown in south-west Scotland but really best in a polytunnel although I did grow them in covered containers and got results, but it was at the expense of space.
Oca and Yacón also need a long time before they produce anything but they are absolutely no trouble at all and look nice in the long term. Oca with it’s clover-like leaves makes an attractive addition to the garden. Yacón, a relative of the sunflower has big showy, but the softest velvety leaves imaginable and would be an excellent addition to a sensory garden.
Cucamelon provided an excellent harvest and with their thin, winding stems, fine leaves and tendrils with the strength of steel wire are happy to cling on to absolutely anything, so they can be happy in the greenhouse, wandering at will. I grow Tromba di albenga outdoors when the frost has gone, it is much hardier than expected and the long, bent fruits have a milder, more buttery flavour than ordinary courgettes. Another variety I grew last year with delicious success was Tondo di nizza, a round variety.
Nibbling fruits such as achocha fat babies and Kelvendon peas were nice enough to continue to keep on the menu. Some of the berry fruit didn’t produce much at all, Japanese wine berry had one or two offerings and wonderberries would have provided enough berries for at least one pot of jam if I hadn’t left them too long before I tried to use them. They are quite prolific and I was a bit concerned about growing them. A relative of deadly nightshade, they are highly poisonous when green, then I thought of all the other relatives of deadly nightshade such as potatoes and tomatoes and I decided no need to worry if there is a pot of jam at the end of it.
The Chilean Guava produced many small, hard berries and none of them edible, they just didn’t fill out or soften. It is reputed to have been Queen Victoria’s favourite fruit although with my offering, she would probably have broken her teeth! I will re-pot the shrub into a bigger pot in the hope that a bit of TLC will work it’s magic on it this year.
On the greens side, I like kale for soup and will plant the dwarf curly kale as I think it has the best flavour and is quite compact. I also want to add the tall, elegant Nero di Toscana again.
Spring garlic is now planted, I have three varieties, Mersley Wight, Picardy Wight and Solent Wight. This may seem excessive when I can only grow in containers but I am hopeful that if it can keep vampires away, the slugs and snails won’t go near them either.
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