TopVeg – growing veg,fruit&herbs

June 20, 2013

Australia- Carrots?

Filed under: root veg — Tags: — TopVeg @ 9:05 pm

These carrots from Australia are proof that they can grow carrots down under.



I am very proud of my godson who sent me this photo of the carrots that he has grown in Australia.

May 24, 2013

The Plot Beetroot Emerging Day 14

Filed under: Chef's Plot, root veg, salad — Tags: — TopVeg @ 7:13 pm

The beetroot that was sown in the Plot 14 days ago is just emerging.  The variety sown was Bulls Blood.  The leaves of this variety are as valuable as the beet.  The leaves can be eaten in salads, and are very colourful.  The leaves can also be steamed and eaten hot.

The temperatures have been unusually cold so it took 14 days for the beetroot to emerge in the Plot.

May 12, 2013

Chef plants Carrots

Filed under: Chef's Plot, root veg — Tags: — TopVeg @ 8:22 pm

The Chef has planted one row of Nandor carrots in the Plot.

Nandor is a first class F1 carrot variety which produces high quality carrots.

Nandor  carrots are:

  • very uniform and stumpy
  • with a clean, smooth skin
  • a deep orange colour
  • cylindrical roots 15 – 18 cm long and 2.5 – 4 cm in diameter
  • strong in the top
  • easy to pull out of the ground
  • resistant to carrot fly

Nandor carrots taste sweet and have a wonderful flavour. They are very good cooked or eaten raw in salads.


The latin name of carrot is Daucus carota. Nandor is a popular variety of carrot.

May 11, 2013


Filed under: Chef's Plot, root veg, unusual veg — Tags: — TopVeg @ 8:42 pm

One row of beetroot was sown in the Plot this morning.

The seeds were sown:

  • in a shallow row
  • 1cm deep
  • 15cm apart

The seeds were covered lightly with soil and watered in.

The variety of beetroot was Bulls Blood, a heritage variety introduced in 1840 which has:

  • vivid burgundy leaves
  • baby leaves which add colour to salads
  • fat round purple beetroots

Bulls Blood beetroot seeds are available from the Telegraph Garden Shop.

Planting beetroot now will ensure a supply of beet for summer salads

October 20, 2012

Anyone can grow carrots & parsnips!

Filed under: root veg — Tags: , — TopVeg @ 7:51 pm

Gill has just sent in this photo saying :  

Proof that if I can grow a prize winning carrot and parsnip anyone can!! You can use on TopVeg as proof of how helpful your website is : )

novice grower

novice grower

Thanks Gill!  I know you took up vegetable gardening four years ago.  Haven't you done well! Your photo will inspire new gardeners - knowing that anyone can grow carrots & parsnips!

November 8, 2011

Planting Autumn Onion Sets

Filed under: root veg — Tags: , , — TopVeg @ 7:52 am

Shakespeare is a good variety of onion to plant as sets in the autumn.

shakespear autumn planting

shakespear autumn planting

Onion sets are very small bulbs which will grow into mature onions.  Onion  sets are often planted instead of onion seeds as they are thought to produce bigger onions.

Shakespeare - this variety of onion has:

  • dark brown skins
  • excellent skin quality
  • good sized bulbs
  • stores well
  • harvest from early July
  • over winters well
Planting site:  Firm, well drained soil in full sun.  Do not apply farm yard manure to the soil before planting onions.   Onion sets grow well in raised beds, in fact they prefer this to wet ground.


Planting method:  Plant the sets so that the tip of bulb is just protruding through the soil surface.
Plant in rows with a space of 10cm (4”) between each bulb, and 30cm (12”) between each row.
onion rows marked out

onion rows marked out

Shakespeare onions  are an autumn planting set.

July 11, 2011

Beetroot in the Microwave

Filed under: root veg — Tags: , , — TopVeg @ 4:19 pm

Carol has asked if it is possible to cook beetroot in the microwave.

We think it is much quicker & easier to microwave beetroot.  Boiling takes so long!
Put 4 egg-sized beet in a microwaveable bowl, add about 3 tablespoons of water and cover. Microwave on full power for about 8 minutes, turning half way through cooking.  Remove the beet from the oven & rest for 2 minutes.  Drain then cool the beet in cold water.

Has anyone else tried microwaving beetroot?

May 16, 2011

Gro-Sure Challenge

Filed under: root veg — Tags: , — TopVeg @ 8:01 am


We have joined the Gro-Sure Challenge!

The Levis leek seed we have just sown were particularly easy to plant because:

  • the seed have a clay or polymer coating making them larger and easier to handle than the normal tiny seeds – & they don’t blow about!
  • seeds are coated blue – easy to see & easy to space in the row.

It was such a relief to have a stress-free leek sowing session that I took another look at the packet. They came in a Gro-sure packet so I decided to look Gro-Sure up to see what it meant– I am usually more sceptical of gimmicks!

 Apparently, Gro-sure seeds have been selected to provide:

  • high germination
  • disease resistance
  • increased yields
  • high quality
  • longer flowering periods
  • less bolting

If Gro-sure seeds fail to please, you get your money back!

The Gro-sure Challenge involves “trying Unwins Gro-sure seeds and seeing what great results you can achieve”!   There are monthly prizes to be won – so we have joined the Gro-sure challenge & here’s hoping!

October 11, 2010

Mammoth Onions

Filed under: root veg — Tags: , , — TopVeg @ 9:53 pm

The craze for growing mammoth onions continues.  In fact the size of the ‘biggest’onion is increasing.

In 1975, the world’s heaviest onion weighed 4lb 15oz. The record  onion in 2010 is 16lb 8oz!!

William Robinson started the craze 100 years ago when he began developing giant vegetables on his father’s nursery.  He prefixed all his large vegetables with ‘Mammoth’.  Onions were one example of his mammoth veg.   The seed company grew and W Robinson & Son still sell the mammoth seeds, including onions, all over the world.

October 3, 2010

How to Avoid Leek Rust next year

Filed under: root veg — Tags: , — TopVeg @ 7:39 pm

Eliza has experienced leek rust for the first time & has asked TopVeg how this can be avoided next year.

For the first year ever, our leeks have rust disease.  Have you any advise for the prevention of this disease for next season?  Also is it OK to eat the parts of the leeks that aren’t affected by the rust, i.e. the white part?
Would appreciate your comments



TopVeg answered:

We are sorry to hear about your rust problems on leeks.  How bad is it?  Mild symptoms do not render the crop inedible – we just cut the affected leaves off before cooking.  The white bit will be fine.
There are several rust resistant leek varieties, such as Bandit. 



Causes of leek rust are:

  • * crowded plants
    * high humidity
    * excessive soil nitrogen
    * insufficient soil potassium
    * poor garden hygiene – all plant debris must be removed from the beds so that the fungus has nowhere to hide.  Burn effected leaves rather than putting them on the compost heap, just in case the heap does not heat up enough to destroy the spores.

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