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Skirret harvesting in the sun

Three year old skirret plants

Skirret harvesting…It’s early March and we have been busy lifting some of our mature skirret plants. We left these to grow for three years undisturbed as an experiment to see what size roots would develop. The plants have produced quite sizeable clusters of good sized eating roots. The ones you can see in the images below had a nice snap to them and a sweet crunchy taste. The plants produced some very healthy looking offsets too. Offsets are the growing tips that cluster and naturally multiply around the top of the crown. These can be pinched off with a little bit of root attached and popped into a pot of compost to develop before being planted out in their final position. You can propagate and increase your stock very rapidly this way and offsets grow into mature plants in a short space of time.

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Ulluco tubers – how to grow

Yellow, Pica de Pulga, Ravelo Lisa (green) and Purple Ulluco tubers.

About Ulluco

Ulluco (Ullucus tuberosus) are exquisite looking edible Andean root tubers and are members of the plant family Basellaceae which includes Malabar spinach. After the potato it is one of the most widely consumed of the Andean tuber crops, but is almost unknown outside the Andean region where it is grown. Ulluco has many varieties and colours such as the vivid green Ravelo Lisa, the mottled red and yellow Pica de Pulga, Round purple, Chugua Roja, Colombian Long Red, Long Yellow, white spotted, Cusco Market ( an orange variety with pink flecks) and many more. They are found in Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, Argentine and Venezuela and are known also as Papa Lisa, Olluco, Ruba, Chugua and Melloco. Continue reading Ulluco tubers – how to grow

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Perennial Nine Star Broccoli

Perennial 9 Star broccoli

Perennial Nine Star Broccoli – Brassica Oleracea Botrytis Asparagoides. Is an amazing hardy vegetable that produces a central large creamy white cauliflower type head with a myriad of sprouting side shoots from as early as February through to May. To keep the plants sprouting year after year you have to cut off all the florets for eating and any flowers that try to emerge so you don’t allow the plants to go to seed. Continue reading Perennial Nine Star Broccoli

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How to Grow Cardoons

Perennial Cardoon plants with purple thistle flowers

How to grow Cardoons – article first published in Grow Your Own Magazine May 2015 growfruitandveg.co.uk

Cardoons are fantastic edible, ornamental and bee friendly plants. I’m obsessed with resurrecting long forgotten varieties and started growing Cardoons 6 years ago after discovering they were stars of the vegetable garden in Britain right up to Victorian times. I thought it was time for these architectural edimentals to make a re-appearance.

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Skirrets – the long forgotten vegetable

Freshly harvested skirret root grown from Skirret seed

OUR SKIRRETS WERE FEATURED ON BBC TWO’S GARDENERS’ WORLD WITH MONTY PLANTING OUT OUR SKIRRET CROWNS IN HIS TUDOR VEGETABLE GARDEN. More info here BBC Gardeners World. Latin name Sium Sisarum, Skirrets are hardy perennial root vegetables. They date back centuries, pre-dating the potato, and were one of the main root crops eaten across Europe before potatoes were introduced. They fell out of favour because potatoes were easier to prepare, not because of the taste. Skirrets actually taste somewhere between a Parsnip and a carrot with a hint of pepper. Continue reading Skirrets – the long forgotten vegetable

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A stunning winter harvest of edible tubers

Freshly harvested Ulluco, Yellow, Pica de Pulga, Ravelo Lisa and purple varieties.

December is an exciting time for lifting our edible tubers and discovering the buried treasure that has been busy growing under the earth. Vivid red Oca tubers, stunningly beautiful Ulluco tubers, Chinese Artichokes and Jerusalem Artichokes are a welcome harvest when there is not much else to gather in the veg patch.  Continue reading A stunning winter harvest of edible tubers

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Tuberous Chervil – what a find!

Tuberous Chervil

I have just sown some tuberous chervil Chaerophyllum Bulbosum. This is a root vegetable with a chestnutty earthy taste. Seeds can be sown in the Autumn or in the Spring after a period of stratification ( they need a good 8 weeks of cold to germinate ). The tubers will grow over the summer months and can be harvested in the Autumn/winter but benefit from a period of frost. Continue reading Tuberous Chervil – what a find!

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Spigariello, wavy ringlets of tasty greens from this heirloom variety

Spigariello heirloom greens

Spigariello, also known as Cavolo Broccolo a Getti di Napoli, is a beautiful leafy green that produces abundant ringlets or ribbons of dark leaves that you can steam, saute, toss into pasta or put on top of a pizza. This is an old Italian heirloom variety which has a long sowing period and can be cut over and over again as the ringlets re-sprout before eventually producing a white central flower head a bit like sprouting broccoli. Continue reading Spigariello, wavy ringlets of tasty greens from this heirloom variety

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Chinese Artichokes – How to grow

Amazing edible Chinese Artichoke tubers against the dark earth

Chinese Artichokes are also known as Chorogi, Betony or Crosne. They are prolific producers of delicious knobbly crunchy tubers and have a bushy top growth of fuzzy leaves that grow up to 50cm tall. They are related to the mint family. BUY NOW  in our online shop.

How to grow Chinese Artichokes

Being hardy things tubers can be planted out between October and April. Alternatively you can keep your tubers in trays or pots of slightly damp compost in a light place and leave them to sprout. You will see leaves appearing and when the plants are about 3 or 4 inches tall you can plant them out. Slugs do like the plants when small, so getting them going in pots first ensures that they can survive pests until they have got established. Plant about 25cm apart and a 7.5cm deep in rows of 45cm. Continue reading Chinese Artichokes – How to grow