More autumn wonders

I’ve been away on a trip to Higland Perthshire – a birthday treat for my husband to traipse around various historic sights and take in some autumn mountain air. As well as history and landscape there were plants. We visited the Fortingall yew tree: 5000 years old but with tiny signs of new growth and full of tweeting birds. We went to the Loch Tay Crannog Centre, recently damaged by fire but with a vibrant visitor centre and information about prehistoric vegetables, of which there were very few it seems. Nearly everything seems to have been introduced by the Romans … Continue reading More autumn wonders

In praise of peas

It’s time for the annual pea admiration festival. For this week’s #SixonSaturday I’ll tell you about my six (so far) favourite peas. This undervalued vegetable is nice enough though a little boring when it comes out of packet in the freezer. When you grow your own in the garden though, it grows fast, climbs quickly, produces magnificent flowers and tastes devine – almost a different vegetable. I discovered growing peas almost by accident. I had always grown mange tout and thought they were pretty ok – usually I grow ‘Norli’ which provides a sturdy if unexciting little pea Until I … Continue reading In praise of peas

Yet more peas

I’ve been sorting out my saved pea seeds, hoping this year to not get them mixed up. I’m storing them in separate containers. In the picture above, bottom left, Duke of Albany, bottom right, Blue Prussian, top, Salmon Pink. Duke of Albany in full growth here: Blue Prussian here (with some photobombing soft fruit): And the slightly crazy Salmon Pink: These were all heritage peas which I acquired at seed swaps over the last few years so I’ll be delighted if they all grow again next year. The saved peas have been sitting on a sunny windowsill for a few … Continue reading Yet more peas

Seed saving

It’s been a great pea season again this year. Despite a slight mix up with varieties – see here – the Prussian Blues, the Salmon Pinks, the Norli and the Dukes of Albany have been very productive, providing us mainly with pea salad but also a couple of soups and some pea and broad bean guacamole. I used to grow just mange tout peas because I couldn’t see the point of growing whole peas. Now I know that the peas straight from the pod are so delicious they are almost like a different vegetable to the ones that come in … Continue reading Seed saving

Seeds

The seed palace is now populated! I had a small window of time this morning to sow some seeds, resulting in two small trays of oriental salad and one of sweet peas: I also sowed some broad beans and spinach in the surprisingly warm ground. The sun is deceptive though and I have covered these with a cloche: Just to show that I don’t always, or even usually, rush out and buy new stuff, you will be pleased to know that this cloche is constructed from a twenty-five year old frame and has a cover from another defunct plastic seed … Continue reading Seeds

Saving seeds

Despite today’s rain, I went along to the allotment this afternoon to see what was up. The apples have now all been harvested though there are several bags sitting waiting to be consumed. The courgettes are still coming slowly, there are handfuls of raspberries each week and there are winter brassicas waiting their turn. But most of the harvesting is now over. So today I planted some autumn onion sets and overwintering broad beans.  I did take a photo: That’s an onion bed with anti-bunny wire netting.  I admit it’s not very exciting but it excites me to think that … Continue reading Saving seeds

Not knowing what you’re growing

This years the peas have been spectacular. We’ve been eating pea salad and green soup nearly every day. I have three varieties this year – the reliable ‘Sugar Pea Norli’ which I’ve grown for several years. It has white flowers and continues for weeks, turning out lovely little mange tout peas:   Then I have the slightly mad but beautiful Carouby de Mousanne, which I grew for the first time last year. It has glorious flowers and is worth it for those alone: The peas are nice but not quite as good as the shy little Norli and the plants are a … Continue reading Not knowing what you’re growing