The swede taste of success!

gilfeatherFor me it was momentous. I took off the mesh to weed the mess that is the winter veg bed and will you just look at these! The Swede Curse is lifted!

best ever, 2013

best ever, 2013

I’ve been trying, and failing, to grow a decent swede for 3 years. Usually I have to pick the whole crop to get scrapings for one meal. Not this year. The best performers this year are the Gilfeathers, which I got in last year’s A4A seed circle and are a cross between a swede and a turnip. They’ve grown into pretty hefty things – my handfork is there for scale. The ‘proper’ swedes aren’t as huge, but they do look like swedes should and are big enough to cook, rather than the small, twisted, spindly offerings (photo above right) I’ve previously managed.

I can’t tell you how pleased I am. I must have stood staring at the bed for about 15 minutes, grinning till my cheeks ached. Then tucked them back up under the mesh with a little fertiliser (BFB), green manure seed and a few slug pellets. If I can just crack parsnips and caulis my cup will be runnething over…


One thing I did notice is that, while there were an awful lot of weeds – particularly baby docks, there was not a trace of the leaves I turned into the bed back in July. But. just under the surface. there are tons first leavesof fat worms and the soil does seem lighter. At home our lovely gardeners have left more builders’ bags of leaves for me to take up to the plot. Given that I’ve a good supply of leaves this year, I will definitely do this again.

shetland kaleIn the same bed are some Shetland Kale. I got the seed from the Heritage Seed Library, not realising that they are a heading kale (in my head, ie a loose-leaved cabbage), supposed to head in their second year. Well they seem to be making an early start.

The poppies are still flowering away and this seemed appropriate. Lest we forget.


3 replies

    • I really hope so! Parsnip’s are on 4 years of failure so far. Am looking forward to this year’s circle – might need (yet) another seed box.