Frost, Rain and Wind

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Ever the optimists, this week our second set of Cucumber, Sweetcorn, Courgette, Pumpkin and Gherkin seedlings have gone in to the ground, after our first batch were mercilessly killed by frost. Fingers crossed, but this bunch seem to be fairing well so far. We also continued with our flower bed planting this week, with Sunflower seedlings being planted, as well as Tagetes, Cornflower, Poppy and more Wildflower seeds.

One thing that doesn’t seem to mind the unseasonably cold and rainy weather, is our Jerusalem Artichokes. We planted a bed of these towards one end of our allotment, as being part of the Sunflower family (hopefully complete with bright yellow flowers), they can grow to between 1.5 and 3 metres tall. We chose to grow these this year as they are supposedly hardy and easy to cultivate (always a bonus !), and are also a healthy choice – especially for diabetics as they are rich in the carbohydrate inulin / fructose – and a good source of iron. The elongated crunchy tubers which are sweet and nutty can be used through winter until spring, as a root vegetable and substitute for potatoes – boiled, steamed, roasted, pureed into soup or raw in salads.

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Easy to grow, hardy, attractive, healthy, tasty – what could be wrong with these lovelies ? The English planter John Goodyer tells it like it is, with the words –

‘Which way soever they be dressed and eaten, they stir and cause a filthy loathsome stinking wind within the body, thereby causing the belly to be pained and tormented, and are a meat more fit for swine than men.’

Hmmmm, they’re not called ‘fartichokes’ for no reason – just a small portion for me then please !

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