TopVeg – growing veg,fruit&herbs

July 10, 2013

Early Potatoes

Filed under: Chef's Plot, potato — TopVeg @ 9:24 pm

The Chef has dug some more early potatoes on the plot. He sent a photo with the caption “Two roots of spuds.Not a good yield”



At least the plot has produced some potatoes – the first crop after digging up the lawn.  Next year should be much more productive as the soil will be improved by the root activity in the soil and by the vegetation being returned to the soil.

The main crop potatoes look very healthy but the Chef is leaving them to grow some more & “bulk up”.  The new potatoes in the photo  have grown a lot in the last week and are much bigger.There are still two more roots of early potatoes to dig.

July 6, 2013

Leeks planted following early potatoes

Filed under: Chef's Plot — Tags: — TopVeg @ 7:38 pm

The Chef has planted leeks on the Plot following early potatoes.



The seed potatoes planted on 2nd April have produced delicious new potatoes which have been lifted from the Plot and eaten.  In their place the Chef has planted some leeks.

The leek plants were grown in a seedbed by TopVeg!  The plants are about the diameter of a pencil, which is the perfect size for planting out.

  • the leeks are trimmed at the top (leaves) and the bottom (roots).
leek plants trimmed
  • the leeks were planted  23-25cm (9-10in) apart in the row with 45cm (18in) between rows
  • the Chef used a trowel to make a hole 15cm (6in) deep at each planting station
  • he then dropped the plants in the hole – but he did NOT  fill the hole in with soil
  • he filled the holes with water


leeks dropped in hole

For more information on how to grow leeks click this link.

These leeks planted following new potatoes will be ready for the Chef to use throughout the winter

June 30, 2013

Plot Update 30 June

Filed under: Chef's Plot — TopVeg @ 9:21 pm

The Chef sent an update on his Plot dated 30 June. Everything is growing well – with a good variety of vegetables in the garden.

  • potatoes – another root was dug today, with six new potatoes on it.  One had to be cut in half, not a bad problem, but a new potato should be just big enough to go on the fork to be eaten in one mouthful, any bigger and it is not a new potato. Today’s Maris Bard potatoes still had a great flavour and texture.  The maincrop potatoes are looking good, and have more stems on than the earlies, indicating a higher yield.

    potato plants

    potato plants

  • parsnips – are growing their first true leaves, they already have the seed leaves.



  • beetroot - is growing rapidly. One or two of the smaller leaves cheer up salads.
  • broad beans – the 2nd planting of  broad beans (Meteor planted 6 weeks ago) have not got as many flowers on as the Express Broad Beans sown in March.  So they will not be so productive.
  • carrots & onions – are both growing well

The soil where the new potatoes are being dug is in much better condition than when the potatoes were planted.  Potatoes have a reputation for being a good “soil conditioner” and are a good crop to grow in a new garden.  The soil will be much easier to work next spring after this crop of potatoes.

The Chef is thinking about planting some leeks in the gap left by the early potatoes.  If he can find some leek plants in a garden center they can be planted in the garden where he has dug the new potatoes, and the leeks will be ready in the winter.

The Chef dug up his lawn at the beginning of March.  This update on 30 June shows that in 4 months the Chef has produced some new potatoes and has a range of other vegetables growing in his Plot.

    June 27, 2013

    The Plot is Producing

    Filed under: Chef's Plot — TopVeg @ 8:50 pm

    The photo below shows how the Plot is producing.

    Plot June 27th

    Plot June 27th

    Three months after the Chef dug up his lawn he has a fantastic, promising vegetable garden.

    • The small seed leaves, (called cotyledons), seen at the front of the picture are a row of parsnips, which were sown on 1st June.  The Chef said ” The parsnips were a bit late sown, but I hope they make it.”


    • Behind the parsnips are the carrots.  The Chef chose to plant the carrot variety called Nandor and they were sown 6 weeks ago.


    • At the end of the carrot row is the bean tripod made out of bamboo canes.  The climbing beans are starting to twist round the canes.
    • The potatoes look very healthy but the Chef is disappointed in the yield of Maris Bard potatoes.  He has decided to harvest them all now, or at least, he will dig them as fast as he can eat them.  They are a good size (and very tasty) but there are not many new potatoes on each root.


    • The broad beans can be seen, staked behind the potatoes.  The tops of the beans have been pinched out to prevent blackfly infesting the plants.
    • Right at the back of the photo of the plot are the onions.  These were some of the first veg to be planted and it will soon be time to lift them.

    Six different vegetables are growing well in the Plot.  The Chef will have plenty of variety in the kitchen from the produce of his Plot.

    June 16, 2013

    First New Potatoes on The Plot

    Filed under: Chef's Plot, potato — Tags: — TopVeg @ 9:36 pm

    Today The Chef harvested the first new potatoes on The Plot.  This is the first produce taken from The Plot, since The Plot was created on 16 March 2013.  On that day The Chef dug up his lawn to create a veg patch.  It has taken 3 months, but it has been worth waiting for!

    The Maris Bard potato seed was planted on 2nd April.  The biggest potatoes harvested are about the size of a duck egg.  The photo has a 2 pound coin beside the new potatoes to show the actual size.

    first new potatoes

    first new potatoes

    The Chef said ” Poor yield but excellent flavour.  The poor yield was not unexpected.  The number of tubers was poor.  There were only two or three on the largest potato plant.  This was probably due to too much apical dominance on the chitted seed.”

    A new vegetable garden takes up a lot of time and is very hard work.  But now the first new potatoes have been dug on The Plot it all seems worth while!

    June 12, 2013

    Himalayan Poppy

    Filed under: Chef's Plot — TopVeg @ 8:23 pm

    This Himalayan Poppy is growing beside the Chef’s Plot.



    Will the Chef have this Himalayan Poppy on the table whilst he enjoys his gourmet meal of new potatoes grown on the Plot?

    May 27, 2013

    New Potatoes forming

    Filed under: Chef's Plot, potato — Tags: , — TopVeg @ 1:53 pm

    The Chef has seen some new potatoes forming in his vegetable garden.  The tiny white stems in the soil (stolons) are swelling at the end to form tubers.



    The largest plant in the Maris Bard potato row had a little potato the size of a marble.



    The plant next door had a new potato which was as big as a pigeon’s egg.

    Click this link to watch TopVeg checking if his potatoes are ready to dig.

    Now The Chef has a dilemma!  How soon can he dig them and cook his first new potatoes?  The Chef says he does not want to murder them, but hopes to harvest them in two weeks time.

    The Chef is planning a gourmet meal, now that his new potatoes are forming in the Plot!

    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 19, 2013

    Vivaldi Potatoes Emerge

    Filed under: Chef's Plot, potato — Tags: — TopVeg @ 7:33 pm

    The Vivaldi Potatoes that were planted on 30 April have emerged in the Plot.





    The stems will grow and the new leaves will get bigger, producing what is known as the haulm.

    The Chef planted the Maris Bard earlier because it is an early variety.  They are getting a bit leggy, and this often happens when plants are covered up.  The Chef did cover the Maris Bard with fleece for a while to protect against the frost.



    The Vivaldi potatoes have emerged as the weather is warming up so we hope they grow well.

    May 15, 2013

    Frost threatens Plot

    Filed under: Chef's Plot, potato — Tags: , — TopVeg @ 9:27 pm

    Frost is forecast and threatens to spoil the potatoes in the plot.

    So the Chef covered his potatoes with fleece tonight.  This will trap the warm air that is around the potatoes and act as a barrier against the frost.  If the frosty air hit the potato leaves it will kill them



    which would be a pity after all the tender loving care they have received to get them this far.

    The Chef listens to the weather forecast every day so that he can take action to protect his crops if frost threatens the plot.

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