And I’m done… kind of!
I’m sat in my cottage and the log burner roaring; the smell of burning cat hair fills the room- Martha once again has attempted to melt her tail on the fire door. Outside the leaves have all but dropped and my beard is a scruffy mess!
It’s been a while since I last managed to sit down and excrete horticultural information. The past few months have been even more hectic than the previous year!
I feel slightly lost now that I don’t have to harvest, water and tend to everything 7 days a week.
So apart from abusing your facial hair, what has been happening Sam?
Well, Cucumber Armageddon is complete. I feel rather elated and proud of what I’ve achieved. The plan was to grow every cucumber needed for every meal at the pub- that’s a lot! They regularly serve 300+ meals a day and most include a salad garnish. Apart from couple of days in mid-summer, I did it!!! 1678 straight, wonky and green cucumbers from 86 plants. That’s 19.5 per plant, which isn’t bad. It wasn’t easy but it proves other small businesses could do the same achieving great success.
The most successful varieties from this year are:
Golden Sweet Mange-tout that’s well…sweet.
Shiraz Mange-tout that’s well…purple.
Candied Beetroot with its vibrant growth rings.
Heirloom Rainbow Carrots picked small and fried in a pan.
Every new crop I trialled at the pub gets reviewed by myself and the chef, every September. This gives us a chance to find out what worked and in some cases what didn’t. We then discuss new varieties and I ramble on about random tropical fruit that might be the next big thing in 2018……keep an eye out for Actinidia arguta (Hardy Kiwi).
The one tropical fruit I’d recommend trying next year is Horned Melons! These peculiar climbers originate from Africa and have been a great talking point in the polytunnel. Once ripened, you can use the pulpy interior to flavour jelly, desserts or cocktails but it is rather ‘snotty’ in texture! The taste is a weird but good fruity banana ish thing.
Finally, I’m currently trialling Bluemoon and Redmoon radish in pots. You can just about get away with it in a polytunnel/greenhouse/window sill. It’s a good way to test varieties you might have missed in the summer.
Now I better put the kettle on, light a scented candle and clean burnt cat hair off the fire!!
Having trained at Duchy College in Cornwall, he then spent 10+ years on and off working at The Lost Gardens of Heligan. In between Sam has setup a garden at RHS Hampton Court show, lived and worked on large private garden in New Zealand and worked for the BBC as a Natural history cameraman.
Sam now advises, designs and builds vegetable gardens for businesses, allowing them to grow their own crops. He tends to grow slightly more unusual crops and loves experimenting!