Archive for July, 2010

View from the shed – July

July 27, 2010

Lots of activity in this shot…a couple of volunteers putting back the netting after doing some weeding, the compost being turned down the end of the site and a spot of harvesting on the high raised bed. And if you look very carefully, you’ll see the sage being attended to behind the red orache – the very tall growing plant in the middle of the photo…

We’ll be taking out the red orache next week, as once it grows too tall and starts going to seed, it becomes a little too tough for the salad-chomping jaw…


Leaf of the week – carrot leaf

July 14, 2010

Most of us only know carrots for their roots but this year, inspired by a wonderful project up in Manchester, I decided that we would give edible carrot leaf a go. Every year we aim to trial at least one usual leaf in the bags. This leaf has a lovely carrot-y flavour and gives a delightful texture to our salad bags. You wouldn’t want to eat a whole bowl of the stuff, but that’s why we call it a mixed salad bag! Apparently you get more Vitamin K in the leaf than the root, so even more reason to toss it in.

We’ve been growing it at our Allens Gardens site. I think it could have done with being planted a little closer together as the plants are fairly small – not the biggest yield from the bed this year.  In the crop rotation we follow, carrot leaf sits in the ‘others’ year. Ida and Sophie are also growing it at the Castle microsite. Ida’s been keen to try the little carrots that form, despite the constant plucking of the leaves. They look small, like baby carrots, but they are not nearly so tender, as all the energy has been going into producing the leaf. Maybe, when we’ve exhausted the leaf, they’ll be perfect for the stock pot?

If you want to grow it yourself, we got the seed from Nicky’s Nursery. Make sure you cut them while they are young or they’ll be a little tougher. We had to get permission from the Soil Association to grow non-organic seed on our sites, but we think it was worth the effort.

View from the shed – July

July 13, 2010

And here’s the site in July.

The green manures in the first bed are establishing themselves well. The red orache, which you see in the fourth bed in, is rather gangly at this stage in the season. It’s still rather tasty though so we’ll be cropping it for a couple more weeks, at which point it’ll make way for the rainbow chard which will see us through to next spring.