Saturday, 22 January 2011


Long established protocol dictates that all gardening articles need a topical punning title, whether in old media like newspapers or new media like blogs. Some things don't change!

January and the new year is of course the time to review last year and look forward and make new plans. As the years pass and allotmenteers get older, we refine our favourite varieties, and perhaps become set in our ways. Regular readers will know that I set myself a challenge each year to grow something new, to keep me learning and staying young! And after two years of trying celeriac, i'm admitting that maybe the damp east edinburrgh climate just doesn't haar-ve the warmth required to bulk up the tubers. Pulled the roots last week and they've not even grown to the size of a golf ball!

Not so with the leeks. For five years i've grown the same variety: MUsselburgh, and finally i've cracked the secret of a good leek - the seeds need to be planted ina container with a good four inches of sandy loam rather than in modules as the roots need loads of room to establish strong seedlings. Although some former denizens of the royal burgh remain oblivious, these leeks as the name suggests, seem ideally suited to the local climate, and last weekends haul was a good start to the year, quickly made into leek and tattie soup. This year, i'm looking to build such local loyalties: Ailsa Craig onions, Pentland Javelin spuds, Musselburgh leeks: traditional scottish allotment fare. You can keep your Pixie's, your Red Rookies and your Picasso's this year I'm looking back to go forward!

And the challenge:well this year it time to reclaim that much maligned veg, the cauliflower. Hell, it would achievement enough to grow sometime that shape, but i'm sure fresh cauliflower would be deliciously crisp! And the variety?, you're asking: North Forelander sounds suitably intrepid to me!

Good luck to all in your gardening exploits for 2011- be brave!!