Friday, 31 January 2014

State of the Union

Last Black Futsu Pumpkin from stores
Today may be fairly rubbish weather wise but its exactly the type of day to stay in, do big piles of boring paperwork and enjoy a pot of good soup. Unfortunately my pumpkins in stores are down to just a few, and today the last black futsu was sacrificed at the altar of pumpkin, veg and ginger soup. 

No I haven't put in the wrong photo. The futsu started off completely dark green-black at harvest time but has turned this lovely mottled orange colour in storage as it ripened and
Black futsu original colour
matured. It's amazing what a few months indoors can do. This very often throws off new growers of pumpkins who fear something has gone drastically wrong when they see colours changing. Trust me when I say that in my humble opinion its when they start to go soft, smell bad and cry all over the floor that you are in serious trouble. At that stage heed the warning the pumpkin is giving you and Do not eat!

I won't be sowing pumpkin and squash seeds until April but I am getting started on other crops like spuds which are chitting on my new dresser. My sister in law gave it to me when she did a huge remodeling job on her kitchen and afterwards discovered it would no longer fit. It's a beautiful piece of handmade furniture but even better than that it has a long obliging shelf the perfect width for rows of egg boxes with sprouting spuds. To be honest I liked my humble little dresser I bought at auction better with its open shelves and cream colour my mother and I painted it. And I feel bad that its losing its prime spot in my kitchen with no immediate hope of a new home. It suited me if you know what I mean, it wasn't pretentious or brassy just cheerful, simple and homely. This thing is a bit too posh for me, thank God my sister in laws kids scribbled in crayon and slightly thrashed it, I feel I have permission to paint it and soften the look of it! Plus its twice the size of my humble charlie. I'm ungrateful, I know!! I just like furniture you can live with, not have to mind. Already it's hard work keeping the new cats from jumping up on it to steal chillies!

Chitting first earlies

This year Garden World on Ellen street in Limerick city are doing 70+ varieties of potato! I seriously do not have the room for that amount in my garden but Chris one of my former students is set to grow about 74 varieties and is planning on another spud tasting open day at his farm. Last year he had people tasting spuds from early morning to 1am at night! It's a fantastic idea and I will be sure to mention it when he sets a date for this year. Hopefully it won't go all Copper faced Jacks on him on the day.

What I am going to try this year is growing spuds in potato grow bags and in large containers. Although I have always been very dubious about it- it is one way of maximising the types you can try in one growing season.A few of the new super fast spuds like "swift" and "rocket"are the ones I am most curious about. The have shorter foliage, tighter plant spacings and promise an even earlier crop. Definitely worth a try.

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