Monday, March 23, 2009

Yacón, Lettuce, Rhubarb and lots of Tomatoes

After my trip, I spent the first day back home, in the garden.   It was a beautiful day and I spent the most part of it catching up on watering and just enjoying the great progress that had happened over the few days I was away.


Earlier this month, Patrick, of Bifurcated Carrots, let me have two Yacón tubers and this is the first one to appear.    It has also been on a short holiday, residing in a neighbours greenhouse...... well, actually their swimming pool house, which is like one huge greenhouse!  The other tuber is now safely back in the dark of my boiler room, where it will enjoy a constant temperature of between 17C and 20C until it, too, decides to come out into the world.

Joy's cos We had also sown some Joy's Cos Lettuce seeds before we went away and left a rather spindly collection of tiny seedlings to find their way in the big world.   I'm not sure someone isn't playing a joke on me as these cannot be the same seedlings that Kate and I left just over a week ago.
lollo rosso Whilst thinking about lettuce, this is a firm favourite of mine,  Lollo Rosso.  It's deliciously tasty and crunchy and is certainly enjoying this year's spring weather.

We also left a tray of Oak Leaf Lettuce seedlings.   Well, to be honest I thought we were leaving a tray of pots of soil with a few stalks in it. 
lettuce Look how they have grown.  I have a covered terrace area on the south side of my house.    It is open but enjoys full sun for a good part of the day and the roof keeps out the frost at night.   Whilst I was away, these seedlings were just left on on a table with a neighbour popping in occasionally and giving them a drink
pumpkin I saved some pumpkin seeds from the pumpkins which another neighbour has grown for many years.  I figure that if he is successfully growing them right next door to me then, even a newbie like me, should stand a chance.

They are obviously going to be quite tasty, because you will see that one of them has already been eaten. The others seem to be doing ok though.
Rhubarb Back in November 2008, one of our friends gave me three pots which she assured me had rhubarb seeds sown in them.  I carefully nurtured them over the winter and, to be honest was beginning to think they had failed me.  However, about a month ago, one of the pots showed the tiniest sign of life so I persevered.
Now all three are up and growing and getting ready to enjoy their new home.
tomatoes And then there were some tomatoes....  Last autumn I saved seeds from my cherry tomatoes.   I got advice from friends and bloggers in Europe, the United States and as far away as Australia.    They all gave me great advice about how to collect the seeds.... pick a tomato!!! and how to save them.... dry the seeds!!!  I followed this advice and saved my first seeds.
Sadly, all these people did not give me any advice about keeping the seeds, once saved, and when I came to sow them, I found my packet had got damp and there was just a collection of mouldy seeds all stuck to the paper.

After some discussion I decided to just sprinkle all the seeds onto a tray of seed compost and see what happened.   These seedlings are a tiny fraction of the result.   I have been giving away tomato seedlings to friends and neighbours now for about a month and still have far more than I can use.

I'm hoping that seeds from my cherry tomatoes will be the first seeds I am able to offer on the Blogger's Seed Network, from next year.


Kate said...

I can't wait to come back and help you eat all the produce Ian. I am glad to see the seedlings doing so well, even through those freezing nights on the terrace.

Snow Water Wool Works said...

re: tomato seeds. I have good luck drying my seeds on a paper plate and just leaving them there until I am ready to start them in the spring.

And, what is yacon (sorry, don't know how to get the diacritical mark)?


Snow Water Wool Works said...

Actually, I leave them on the plate and then store them in a manila envelope. I store all my saved seeds in paper envelopes (saved from junk mail). Yes, I'm cheap! Paper also breathes and the seeds won't go moldy as long as you keep them in a dry place.