Wednesday, 7 March 2012

I Couldn't Resist

I know I said that I was only going to grow one variety of potato this year, but when I saw packets of seed potatoes in a shop window display at only £1.00 per packet I couldn't resist. So, as well as the Arran Pilot potatoes which I've already got chitting, I now have some Nicola. There were six tubers in the pack, which is ideal if you want to give a variety a try without having it as your main crop. Nicola is a salad variety so should be good for boiling. They'll get planted up in to containers just like the Arran Pilot.

Hubby dug up all the remaining parsnips and leeks from the allotment at the weekend, par boiled them and they're all now in the freezer waiting to be used up. I was very surprised at the amount of parsnips we had left in the ground, it's quite hard to judge just how many are there after the leaves have died down over winter. This year is the best we've ever done with parsnips, they were sown direct last year and I think this has made all the difference, we'll be sowing direct again this year but the soil needs to warm up a little first. The leeks never really put on much growth, but they're still tasty, and those now in the freezer will cook well in casseroles.

The next seed I sow will be leeks. I've never really had a good crop of leeks and I think one of the reasons is because I plant them out too late. This year I'm hoping to get them in the ground a little earlier so I can see if this makes any difference. It can't hurt.


  1. Now why I am I not surprised that your good intentions have been thwarted Jo :) Have not grown Nicola - will be interested to hear what you think further down the line. Hoping to pick up some seed potatoes locally this afternoon having finally managed to track down the variety I want.

  2. Hi Jo!

    Simlarly to you I insisted I was only going to grow Maris Piper, but since then things have changed and we now have an allotment to fill. We picked up a sack of about 20 pentland javelin as our first earlies so that is good! Haven't tried or know anybody who has tried Nicola, but they look nice on the packet so that has to be promising.

    We sowed leek seeds a couple of days ago too. Our Leeks last year didn't do much in our small patch but hopefully we will get a better crop this year.

    Great blog post as always!

    Martin :0)

  3. I guess I should get leek sowing too. They seem to take a long time don't they? I was given some little leek plants around August last year from a guy on the allotment. They did fairly well but were quite small in August when he gave them to me. I can't believe he sowed them in March, that would make them the slowest growing veg.

  4. its so hard to resist a bargin like that, I would have done the same!
    last year my leeks were looking good until we had that hot spell in october, when all my leeks got attacked with leek moth and had to ditch the lot as they were destroyed in little under 3 days. hoping for a better crop this year.

  5. I really must grow my own leeks and parsnips one year but as it is with generous plot neighbours I haven't had to so far! Flighty xx

  6. We still have our parsnips and leek to dig up -hope they haven't spoiled.

  7. All my parsnips are out (and eaten) but I still have lots of leeks - and yes, they are all relatively small for 10-11 months of growing time. A few are decent sized, but nothing in the region of what you'd buy in a supermarket. Never mind, it means we've got 3 weeks of baby leek recipes ahead of us...

  8. I can never understand that among the piddly little leeks there is always one big strong leek. Now why should that be when all have been sown from the same packet? Most of our leeks this year were small and weedy except, of course, the BIG one.
    Love from Mum

  9. Nicola is one of our favourite potatoes and it usually produces us a good crop.
    I reckon sowing leeks now is a good idea. I sowed our on 8th April last year and we got some reasonable but not spectacular leeks. It was pretty dry for them though last year but I'm going to sow our seed in the next few days.

  10. I don't think anyone had a good leek year - mine were all fairly piddley and they went in early. I think the weather was against us.

  11. yes you cant beat lovely fresh parsnips so much sweeter. I really must get a move on as i havent got any potatoes yet, and yes my plots still need to be dug over i managed 1 but then the weather changed to horrible windy wet conditions yuk.

  12. I've been putting off sowing seed but need to start soon. I think I'll grow leeks in containers as well as in the ground this year.

  13. Yes' it's nice to be able to get potatoes in small quantities. Usually they are sold in 1kg packs, or packs of 20, which is too much for the likes of you and me, who only want a few for their containers.
    I had the same experience as you with the parsnips. Even though I thought they had all gone I still found a few more when I prepared the bed for my shallots and garlic. I always sow mine direct, but now I have got those long cloches I have no qualms about doing so.

  14. Hope you managed to get the potato variety of your choice, Anna. I'm so weak willed when I see a bargain.

    Thanks, Martin. I've grown Pentland Javelin before and was really pleased with them. You'll be able to grow a good variety now you've got an allotment.

    Leeks do seem to take an age to grow, Wellywoman. I'm hoping for better results this year.

    I'm a sucker for a bargain, Stacy, all my good intentions go out the window. Hope the leek moth don't find you this year. It's quite worrying the damage they can do, and so quickly too.

    Sharing is what allotments are all about, Flighty, or what they used to be about. It sounds as though you're on a good site as sadly, many sites are no longer like that.

    Fingers crossed that your parsnips and leeks will be fine, Sue.

    It's a good job that small leeks still taste delicious, Suburban Veg Gardener. It's also a good job that I planted plenty last year otherwise I'd have only got a couple of meals out of them.

    I've never noticed that, Mum. I'm not lucky enough to get even one big one. I'm hoping that changes this year though.

    I'm glad to hear a good review of Nicola, Martyn. I couldn't pass them up at that price. I shall get my leek seeds sown at the weekend, and I might even sow some other things too now we're in to March.

    I've never had a good leek year, Elaine. I'm afraid I can't blame my failure on the weather as it's been the same story ever since I've had my allotment. They're still edible and still tasty though, so all's not lost.

    You're not alone in still needing to dig over your plot, bears footprints. I had intended to get mine dug over before winter but it never happened and I've still got it all to do. Parsnips are one of my favourite veg so I'm really pleased that they've done so well this year.

    We're in to March now, so I'm going to start getting some more seeds sown, Kelli. It can be a good idea to grow in containers as well as the ground, a sort of insurance policy.

    Your cloches are great, Mark, they come in for all sorts of things. I would look in to getting some myself, but I wouldn't want to leave them at the allotment. Smaller bags of potatoes are a great idea if you want to try lots of different varieties too. I bought a large bag of Arran Pilot, but I'd have probably gone for a few different varieties if I knew I could get smaller bags as reasonable as I did.

  15. Haha! You're just like me Jo :) I swore I wasn't going to buy soft fruit bushes then happened to see some for 2.50 each so couldn't resist.

    I've been planting my leeks out too late as well so got advice from a friend at the lottie. This year I've sown them at the beginning of January and they're already a few inches tall - you can see pics on my latest post. Fingers crossed for a decent harvest!

  16. You're making me want to start gardening again! Actually not much of a garden...just some pots on my balcony :)

  17. I too had a good crop of parsnips this year Jo...different method of planting though so maybe the weather was good for them. I did well with my leeks but still have some to dig up yet. Hope you get a better crops of them this year.

  18. This will be my first year for growing leeks and parsnips. I am really nervous!

  19. Dear Jo, I guess it's a gardener's illness -- not being able to resist seeds and plants we didn't intend to buy. I hope to get started in my vegetable garden this week. P. x

  20. It's hard to resist a bargain, Tanya. I've got my leeks sown now, I hope we both do better this year.

    Thank you for visiting, Mr.Pineapple Man. It's amazing what can be sown in a few pots. I've got an allotment but I still use containers for some things.

    I've had my best crop of parsnips this year, Tanya. They're much straighter than usual too, not so many contorted ones.

    Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, Angela. Good luck with your leeks and parsnips, hope they do really well for you.

    I think all gardeners suffer from being unable to resist a bargain, Pam. Hope you manage to start your veg gardening this week.

  21. I did the same this year. I only ever grow early potatoes, Red Duke Of York. But this year I am also growing a blue/purple variety called ‘Salad Blue’, which is a Maincrop and also
    ‘Mayan Gold’, which is an Early maincrop.

    Fun times!

  22. Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, Beep. I think gardening is all about trying out new things. The Salad Blue sound interesting. I grew Blue Danube one year, but they didn't cook very well.

  23. Jo I am such a newbie and avidly reading your posts, have potatoes chitting on my windowsill, how long do I leave them (about 3 weeks so far?) all such a new adventure....but fun x

  24. They can be left until little shoots appear, Grace, but it's not really too important to chit them so don't worry about how long you've given them.


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