Monday, 1 February 2010

And so it begins......again!!

Well the 2010 growing season is now upon us so I've been a busy little bee ordering seeds for this year. Unfortunately my camera is broken at the moment so this will be an extremely text heavy entry. We had a bit of bad news recently as with all the snowfall in ireland over the past month and subsequent thaw our lovely allotment was severely flooded. We had been told by someone who was up there a couple of weeks ago that the entire plot at one stage had literally turned into a lake under a couple of feet of water and there were even sheds bobbing around the area. I would imaging the avonmore river at the back of the plot must have burst its banks as the snow thawed, some parts of Roundwood were under a few feet of snow!! We haven't yet been up to survey the damage but we hope to get up there soon and check. I think I can take it our autumn sown garlic and shallots will have unfortunately washed away.

We took a trip over the weekend to Johnstown garden centre and stocked up on this years seed potatoes and I have just ordered a load of seeds from who come highly recomended by many people on the gardenplans ireland forum. As our chillis were so successful last year I'm determined to try a few new varieties this year. I have been looking for a mild chilli without much heat but with tonnes of chilli flavour and was recommended Numex Suave, which is a type of habernero chilli. Apparently this chilli has all the flavour of the habernero but very little of the heat. I'm hoping to make a nice sweet chilli sauce from them. I found it imposssible to source seeds for this in ireland so I've just put an order in with The Chilli Pepper Company in the UK at They have a huge selection of all things chilli be it chillis, seeds or chilli products. I also have some jalepeno seeds, serrano, and the two apache chilli plants that served us so well are currently overwintering on the window sill and are even beginning to show the start of some flower buds for this season!!!

This year we opted to do potatoes properly as last year we hadn't intended on doing potatoes and threw some generously donated seeds in which tasted fantastic, even if we did get blight.

So this years seed potatoes are as follows:

Earlies: 'Orla' and 'pentland javelin' both a firm waxy potato full of flavour and perfect for boiling and salads. I got two varieties here as I got a little over excited about being in a garden centre again and managed to slip them into the basket before Cillian saw and set my head straight!

Second earlies: 'Kestrel', These seem to be very popular as a good all rounder for mashing, boiling, chipping and I believe are particularly good for roasting as the flesh isn't too floury and doesn't take up too much of the fat.

Maincrops: 'Maris piper', again another very popular and highly recommended potato for flavour and storing ability. Our potatoes last year easily lasted us a few months in storage in spite of getting blight so a full crop should easily keep us until after christmas into the new season of 2011, how's that for forward planning.

As for the rest of the veg going in this year:

Cabbage: Greyhound for summer, apparently a very quick maturing cabbage that lives up to its name, can be sown early spring for summer or late summer for autumn, we'll be sowing these in the next week or two, and Ormskirk, a savoy cabbage for Autumn harvest.

Carrots: 'Solar yellow' and 'Nantes 2'

Parsnip: Tender and True, supposedly large roots up to 3 inches across and very tasty.

Beans: 'purple queen' which grows purple pods to add a bit of colour on the plot, and some other type of green bean I haven't decided upon yet, and we'll also throw in some more of the yellow wax pods we grew last year.

Peas: 'hurst greenshaft' as these are supposed to be very well suited to early sowing and are relatively tolerent of our cooler weather.

Turnip: 'snowball' These small white turnips just look so tasty and are supposed to be quite sweet and mild, I'm not a fan of very strong flavoured turnips or swedes.

Beetroot: 'Boltardy' apparently resistant to bolting and quite tasty.

Courgette: 'F1 Ambassador' which apparently has a nice long productive season.

Leeks: 'Autumn Mammoth 2 Hannibal' a summer leek which matures quite quickly, as far as leeks go, and we'll try 'Musselburgh' again for winter. These failed on us last year as we couldn't get them started early enough but we're going for it again this year but sowing in the next week or 2, a good 2-3 months earlier than last year.

Brussels sprouts: 'Bedford Darkmar 21' a new variety for us to try. We grew F1 Trafalgar last year with resounding success and exceptionally tasty sprouts for christmas so we thought we'll just try another variety this year and see if we can get the same success.

I'm sure there will be plenty more as the season progresses, the above list I must stress is definately not all of it. There will be quite a number of additions to it but its enough to get started with. Its early yet in the season and the allotment will have to share my time this year with my wedding planning for my impending big day out in July so please forgive me if I occasionally say that I 'planted out the new laboutin 5 inch high heels that go perfectly with my dress' instead of the 'lovely 6 inch leeks' which I hope to have ready for planting out in June/July!!!