Sowing Cauliflower ‘All The Year Round’ seeds

Last year I didn’t grow any cauliflower and if I’m honest, I kind of regretted it. You really notice the difference between homegrown cauliflower and cauliflower bought from the shops. The variety I’ve chosen to grow is Cauliflower ‘All The Year Round’  which, as it name suggests, is a type of cauliflower that you can grow… All the year round.

I’ve grown Cauliflower ‘All The Year Round’  before and I was pleasantly impressed with the results, they were low maintenance, produced fantastic crops and were frozen without losing any of it’s flavour or texture.

The packet suggests that I can plant these seeds straight into the ground, but I’ve decided that as it’s still a little bit nippy outside, I’m starting these off inside of the cold frame. I’ve averages around four plants per cell and will look to thin these out when the seedlings start to poke through.

These seeds don’t look that much different from broccoli seeds, so a word of advice – be sure to properly label your trays otherwise you mind find yourself getting a little bit mixed up.

 

Cauliflowers have a history going back thousands of year. It’s believed they originated from southern Europe and after breeding by growers over several hundred years, the cauliflower as we know it today came to be in the 15th Century.

Cauliflowers were given the name Brassica oleracea by botanists and growers and is a mix of different words. The

The word Brassica comes from the Celtic ‘bresic’. Oleracea refers to a vegetable garden herb used in the kitchen. The name cauliflower comes from the Latin ‘caulis’ , translating to ‘stem’ or ‘cabbage’, and the Latin flos meaning ‘flower’.

Let’s face it, you can’t beat a bit of cauliflower cheese with your roast – but that said, there’s a lot of recipes out that I’d love to try for myself.

How do you like to cook your cauliflower? Leave a comment and let me know 🙂 .

 

Sowing Daucus carota Karnavit Carrots

You may have read here that I’m in the process of getting rid of some old seeds in the back of the shed and the second type of carrot is called Daucus carota ‘Karnavit’ Carrots. Find information on this variety of carrot is something that I’ve struggled to achieve, in term of it’s origin and history.  When I typed ‘Daucus carota ‘Karnavit’ Carrots’ into the RHS, this is what I found.

All I’ve found out about this type of carrot is that the term Daucus carota means that it’s a wild variety and that Daucus carota Karnavit Carrots are an F1 Hybrid, created by the breeders at ISP International Seeds Processing GmbH based in Germany. But please, if you have any other information on Karnavit Carrots, please do let me know!

According to the chaps at Kew “Wild carrot has delicate white flower heads and a thin, wiry taproot bearing little resemblance to the fleshy, bright orange root vegetable produced commercially.” It should be interesting to see how these turn out and I’m hoping this could make a great addition to a salad as a garnish. It certainly sounds different to the Autumn King variety I’m growing as well.  It’s a little bit different to what the image packet suggest too!

 

This particular packet of seeds was brought from the local pound shop, and as much as I love the pound shop finding information on the varieties they sell there can be a real nightmare.  None the less, it must have only cost me a pound, so you get what you pay for.

Click here to read more about F1 Hybrids – but in short, F1 Hybrids are the result of crossing two inbred lines of seed so that you can improve yield, vigour and other properties.

I made sure that the bed was dug and weeded and relatively free of any stones or anything that would cause the carrots to fork and dug drills of around half an inch deep and about a foot apart. I sowed the seeds into the drills and covered excess soil. Germination is expected within 15 to 20 days.

Sowing Autumn King Carrots

What a week it’s been weather wise, starting off with highs of up 18 degrees, only to be blown away toward the tail end of the week by storm Doris.  To date, I’ve not managed to sow much into the ground or into pots this, but that’s because it’s been a bit too chilly. I’ve managed to make up for my lack of sowing this weekend by sowing spring onions, three types of carrots, two types of cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower and broad beans.

On top of the seeds that I’ve purchased especially for my victory garden, I’ve got stacks of half full packets of seeds in the back of the shed that I’m going to be growing – waste not! Some of the seeds might not even germinate if they’re old or past their use by date, but I figure, what have I got to lose? Nothing really.

Among the packets of seeds is Autumn King Carrots – a well known, grown and reliable variety. Autumn King holds and RHS Garden Merit Award, meaning that these plants will perform well under UK conditions. I’m hoping to harvest these carrots from late summer onward, but I’ve been reassured that these can also be left in the ground over winter without the risk of them swelling or splitting in the cold, frosty conditions.

Sowing Autumn King Carrots is dead easy and as a general rule of thumb, they tend to dislike freshly fertilized beds, so I haven’t dug in any material from the compost bin. I first weeded and dug over the bed and created drills of around half an inch deep and about a foot apart. I pinched the seeds into the drills and covered with the excess soil.

I’m hoping that germination should take place within the next 10 to 20 days, in which case I’ll need to thin out the carrots once they’re big enough to handle. Fingers crossed

Smoky Vegetable Goulash

If you’re looking for a hearty vegetable goulash recipe, then this is the recipe for you! This vegetable goulash also helps you to lose up any spare vegetables in the fridge. You can basically make it with just about anything!

Ingredients
1 Large onion, diced
3 Carrots, peeled and cut into coins
3 Garlic cloves diced
2 Peppers
2 Sticks of celery
2 Potatoes
Half a savoy cabbage, shredded
1 Litre of vegetable stock
Olive oil for cooking
1 Tablespoon of flour
2 Teaspoons of smoked paprika (sweet paprika will do)
Salt and pepper to taste
Sprinkle of dried oregano or basil

Method

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or cast iron casserole dish and cook the onions, garlic, carrots, celery and potatoes for around 4 minutes or until the onions are soft.

2. Boil the kettle, and mix the vegetable stock and make sure this is well dissolved.

3. Add the cabbage and peppers to the mix and cook until this all of the ingredients are soft.

4. Turn to a low heat, and then add the flour, paprika, oregano. Stir and then season with salt and pepper.

5. Turn up the heat to medium and slowly incorporate the vegetable stock.

6. Bring the whole mixture to the boil and then turn down to a simmer, cook the whole mix until the potatoes are soft.

Serve with crusty bread and enjoy!

My Victory Garden Plan

OK so you may have read that I’m on a mission to grow and build my own victory garden to see if I can live off of the allotment as much as possible.  Even though I’ve only planned for 12 months – I suspect that this will be a two year project as I would like to grow some onions and raspberries toward the end of 2017, within my designated victory patches.

The plan hopefully ensures that I always have something growing –  but also things that don’t take up room for too long.  I’ve also factored in the rejuvenation of the ground. So far I’ve only managed to do prepare the ground and dig in some well rotted material from the compost bin.

 

What on earth shall I grow?

Well I’ve studied the RHS Grow Your Own Veg Planner and picked things that I can start growing in February onward. During my victory garden research I found that this could be a good opportunity to a little bit of good for the world (all be it indirectly) from my humble allotment. This is why I’ll be buying the majority of my seeds from Groseeds.co.uk, who are a fairly young company, who by their own admission are on “a mission to impact lives by inspiring people to engage with the natural world through the regular involvement of gardening.”

Not only that, but they believe in giving something back and have put this ethos at the forefront of what they do. They’re part of the Global Giving Initiative Buy1GIVE1, which means in short – every time a seed packet is bought from them somebody somewhere receives access to life-saving water. Cool huh!

Here’s a list of what I’ve ordered…

Broad Bean – Karmazyn
Brussels Sprouts – Darkmar
Turnip – Snowball
Carrot – Berlicum
Beetroot – Cylindra 
Savoy Cabbage – Winterking 
Pea – Hurst Greenshaft 
Tomato – Gardeners Delight
Tomato – Beefmaster F1
Cauliflower – Igloo
French Bean – Neckargold
Cabbage – Dutchman F1 

Now that the weather has started looking up I’m really itching to get something in the ground and get the whole process underway. I haven’t managed to sow a dot yet and it feels like time is slipping away, like grains of sand through my fingers.

Have you had any experience in growing a victory garden? What challenges have you faced? What are your triumphs? I would love to hear your experiences!