Archive for ◊ March, 2009 ◊

• Wednesday, March 04th, 2009

This was probably the discovery of the year 2008: curly kale. I had never cooked it or grown it before and the idea came about when I watched a television cooking programme.

Curly Kale Seeds

Curly Kale Seeds

Also, I like to try new vegetable seeds every year and since the purple curly kale seeds were on offer with Thompson & Morgan I thought I did not have much to lose (69p).

It has always been a bit of a challenge for me to grow vegetables from the brassica family (i.e. any cabbage related plant) since wild rabbits regularly devour them. And my cabbages have also suffered greatly from the white butterfly caterpillar.

I seem to remember that it was Jamie Oliver who suggested cooking curly kale in a very simple way by blanching it and then frying it in olive oil with garlic and chilies. Now the taste is absolutely superb, it has a fresh mineral flavour and it accompanies any other vegetable such as potatoes really well. It’s really worth growing!

Since then, I have bought curly kale from supermarket but the taste is not as good as the home-grown one.

This year I plan to try the Tavola Nero kale since other chefs have recommended its great taste too.

If you have any tips that you would like to share for growing cabbages successfully I would love to hear from you.

• Sunday, March 01st, 2009

I have just received my Gardeners’ World magazine and noticed an article about whether people prefer to grow flowers or vegetables, with Alan Titchmarsh and Carol Klein sponsoring their favourites. There seems to be a lot of surveys happening at the moment as I have also seen a Gardeners’ World awards which is a survey where gardeners can vote for their favourite plants and nurseries.

You can take part in the Gardeners’ World survery on their web site.

Personally I like to grow both vegetables and flowers and as you can see from the seeds that I am growing in March – I enjoy growing a wide variety of both. But if I had to chose then it would have to be vegetables because nothing compares to freshly home-grown vegetables and the sense of satisfaction which comes from cooking and eating quality vegetables.