Vegetable Garden

Grow Something Different in the Vegetable Garden

July 24, 2011

squash in the polytunnelIt’s good to grow something different.

You can see how plants grow and experience new flavours.

Whether it’s an unusual vegetable or just another variety we always try to add to the list of tried and tested here in the Greenside Up garden. This year we’re trying a few new ones, starting with a yet unnamed variety of squash.

We saved the seeds from a squash that was bought from a local farm gate last autumn. Searching through the seed catalogues has us thinking that they might be of the ‘Blue Ballet’ variety but until the plants mature we’ll  just have to wait and see (and if they were F1 seeds they’re unlikely to develop true to type anyway). The two plants sown are romping away in the tunnel, so much so that I cleared away the Phacelia this morning that I’d sown in front of them to attract the pollinating bees in.

florence fennelNext up is Florence Fennel. This is the bulb plant and not the wispy herb. It was touch and go whether any would survive as the tiny seedlings resembled the weeds growing close by and many were inadvertently pulled up. A few have survived however, and we’re looking forward to cooking the aniseed flavoured veg when it matures.

Grow Your Own Kale

Grow Your Own Kale

We’ve grown a couple of different varieties of kale over the years, and always try to sow the hardy curly kale for some winter veg. This year we’ve added red kale to add some variety to our dinner plates and some Black Russian just because it’s a different shape.

kohl rabiI’ve been looking forward to sowing some wacky looking Kohl Rabi so this spring added them to the beds too. They’re still pretty small and we lost some due to the rampaging cattle that visited recently but I love them for their individuality and colour…

Last year we grew a tall variety of French beans in the polytunnel. They grew so rapidly we could have climbed up them to meet the giants. They were also full of strange-looking spiders and it was left to our 10-year-old daughter and a friend (invited around for tea lots that month) to pick them.

Looking After and Planting a Polytunnel in Winter

Three Sisters Planting in August

This year I’ve chosen a dwarf variety so that I can pick them myself.

Lastly we’ve added to the companion plants with the introduction of Poached Egg Plant sown directly into the bed in front of the broad beans, which have always suffered with the little pest black bean aphid. This pretty little annual attracts hoverflies whose larvae eat aphids so fingers crossed they’ll arrive in time!


  • Reply Lisa McGee July 25, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Wonderful photos- so inspired. Next year I'm going to try and nab an alotment as just don't have the space at home but there is a wonderful alotment just down the road from us so you've got me really thinking about all the wonderful things I could plant- love squash- so yummy sauteed as a side dish and for soup.
    Top on my list to plant- beetroot, butternut squash, courgettes, carrots…at home I do have raspberries and they've really come along this year.

  • Reply Mr. H. July 25, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    Everything looks great, it's always fun to try a few new things in the garden. That red kale is something we are also trying this year and I have been surprised at how much I liked it's flavor.

  • Reply Jono / Real Men Sow July 27, 2011 at 7:52 am

    I'm growing the purple kale for the first time this year. My kale has always a real staple in the winter months, and when I saw the purple one I couldn't resist. It looks great.

    I've also grown the dwarf French beans, and I can't keep up with them!

    I'm trying runner beans in dwarf too, but they're not doing as well. There is a few on there, but not like you'd expect from those growing up wigwams.

  • Reply Greenside Up July 27, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    Thanks Lisa, we have a few failures here too (and one day I might be brave enough to put up those pic)but lovely to hear you talk so enthusiastically about growing your own. The Kale for us is a staple Mr H and Jono… I've already started harvesting the odd few leaves and all being well will continue until the spring. Lovely to have the change of textures and colours in the veg patch.

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