My Allotment – Brassicas and Leeks

I swear that the cabbage white butterflies followed me from home to the allotment. I had never seen one there before, but no sooner had I unloaded my trays of brassicas from the van and taken them to the allotment; a host of cabbage whites appeared out of nowhere!

It poured this morning, so I hoped that the soil would be moist, but no luck. I had dug the soil again recently when it had rained and broken down the lumps as much as possible, but after the downpour this morning, the lumps were as hard as ever. The weather was quite cool but became muggier, so it was ideal for planting; or as good as it gets lately.

I had grown my brassicas on at home and transplanted them into small pots. The Cabbage Whites had quickly discovered the plants and laid their eggs. I prefer not to spray my food with chemicals, so I checked daily for problems. I wiped the eggs off from the underside of the leaves and squashed any caterpillars that I found. You never find them all, so on my return from a weekend long historical gardening event I found lots of brassicas with little leaf left between the more sturdy veins.

I set the brassicas, cabbages and broccoli, in lines and planted them in good sized holes with a good amount of water.

My leeks had become over-crowded in the seed tray but I was not going to waste them. I used my homemade dibber to plant them. I had seen a similar dibber on the internet at £40 because it was old. I made my own from hazel and after smoothing the wood I rubbed in some Danish Oil. The handle fits nicely into my hand and is easier to pick up quickly than a D handle dibber. I watered in the leeks once I had dropped them into the dibber holes.

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My Homemade dibber. the wood is hazel that I treated with Danish Oil.

My next task was to pick something to eat later in the day. There were a few broad beans and peas. I ate most of the peas as I worked as there were not that many left. The ruby chard leaves were riddled with holes, but I cut some stems to cook in a similar way to asparagus. Two courgettes were approaching marrow size. I shall look up courgette/marrow recipes to use them up; or I may invent my own…

Lunch was Asparagus peas. The first picking had been a bit stringy, but his time they were perfect. I put the pods in a small pan with a mere splash of water and serve them with a dab of butter and a splash of Worcester Sauce. If you don’t like the pods, the plants look good in a planter as they are usually smothered in small red flowers. It is still best to remove the seed pods as this encourages a longer flowering period.

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The Asparagus Pea can be grown in a container as a decorative plant, but you can also eat the pods. They are best steamed or heated in a splash of water. Remove the pods evenif you are growing the plant for the flowers as this will encourage more flowers.

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I am a garden historian, but a practical one. I resarch how gardening was carried out in the past, rather than just researching gardens. It can be very interesting. Some things that I learn seem to be rather unbelievable. Some other methods are still very practical. Visit my web site- www.historicgardener.co.uk

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2 comments on “My Allotment – Brassicas and Leeks
  1. Jan says:

    Never tried asparagus peas,but they look very pretty. I am growing purple French beans this year, but they are very slow to get going. Sounds like you need to add loads of compost to your soil, here in Ashton, the ground has Been cracking open like concrete, the rain just disappeared down the cracks!

  2. Karen says:

    The asparagus pea’s blossom is lovely.

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