Saturday, 11 January 2014

2014: The year of the rainbow diet



I think we’re going to be eating a rainbow in 2014. Orange raspberries, scarlet carrots, purple asparagus …

The multi-coloured carrots have been requested by my son who enjoyed enormously our forays into purple carrots a couple of years back. Nowadays we think of carrots as being uniformly orange, but until the 1500s people would have eaten white, yellow or purple carrots. Orange carrots were bred and popularised in Holland to reflect the Dutch national colour, and spread across Europe.

This year I’ve sourced some purple carrots and also a bright red variety, Atomic Red, from Seedaholic in Ireland, as well as some yellow and white ones from Seeds Of Italy. We’ll try to outwit the carrot fly with some companion planting, with fleece and with growing them up high where the carrot fly can’t reach them. In theory, anyway.

I’m planting out a new asparagus bed this year and I’ve heard that the purple varieties are sweeter than green, so have ordered 10 Crimson Pacific crowns from Victoriana Nurseries. I’m not giving up on the green version though, still growing my favourite Connover’s Colossal as well.

I’m buying one year crowns which I’ll plant out in the new bed this spring although they shouldn’t be harvested either this year or next (I bet I won’t be able to resist trying a spear or two next year). So I’ll keep the old bed going as well and won’t dig that over until 2016!

I’m refreshing the raspberry canes as well after ten years. We’ve now got creeping cinquefoil (Potentilla reptans, I think) in the bed which is proving mighty difficult to remove without damaging the existing canes so I have decided to get rid of the dastardly weed as a first priority and replace any canes which have to be sacrificed to the cause. 


I've been looking at multicoloured options here as well: All-Gold raspberries are available from several supplier, as well as the purple Glen Coe, although these are eye-wateringly expensive compared to the red and yellow varieties. 





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