Tag Archives: vegetables

Growing Taunton – Update

Great progress has been made to the slope around the planters at Somerset Square.  The idea was to transform the slope into a series of terraces using recycled materials. We used plastic vegetable boxes filled with stones from the very area we were digging… it was full of stones! The vegetable boxes came from the local green grocer Granny Smiths.

The plan is to lay black weed suppressant cloth over the beds and the gabions and around the plants and vegetables.  This will suppress the weeds and save on some watering. Bear with us until we get this finished.

What do we have growing in the planters?

Planter nearest ‘Eat the Bird’

  1. Phacelia – we grow Phacelia as a quick growing hardy green manure.  It comes out in purple/blue flowers.  It smothers weeds and has an extensive root system that improves soil structure. It is listed as one of the top honey-producing flowers for honeybees and is attractive to bumblebees and hoverflies (which eat aphids).
  2. Oca – One of the ‘Lost Crops’ of the Incas, this is a wonderful plant still widely grown in Bolivia & Peru. Oca is planted and cooked just like potatoes (although they are smaller, the size of new potatoes) and it has a lemony taste like potatoes with lemon butter mixed with a slighty nutty taste.  Apparently you can also eat the leaves though I have not tried yet. Find out how to grow at: http://downtheplot.com/oca.php , and how to eat at: http://fastcheapgood.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/oca
  3. Ruby chard – this is a great addition to our vegetable plot here. Easy to grow and very delicious.  When it is young you can use as a salad leave and when bigger cook stalk and leave like spinach.  Chard is part of the beet cultivars along with beetroot and sugar beet and is a descendant of the sea beet. Check out this great recipe – Inzimino di Ceci

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    Alliums growing amongst the mint

4. Mint is growing here in such abundance.  Please come along and pick and eat… great in a cocktail or chopped and added to yoghurt.

5. Broad beans are nearly ready… got some good healthy pods growing.  When ready please come along pick and eat.  Want a great recipe with broad beans.. try this: broad bean falafel.

5. Strawberries… this fantastic fruit certainly adds to the colour of the vegetable bed.  Please pick and remember to wash throughly. Great to eat on their own or in a risotto… yes… strawberries are great in a risotto.

Middle Planter

6. The peas are coming on strong.. you can eat the pea shoots (great in a primavera risotto or addition to a stir fry) or wait for the beautiful pods to develop.  Not ready yet but should be shortly.

7. Just planted these french beans that hopefully will grow healthy beans that will be a great addition to a stir fry.

8. These lettuces are prime for picking… please come along and grab yourself a lettuce.  Remember to wash throughly.

9. Lavender – we plant this to encourage the pollinators.  Plus it is so fragrant.

10. Courgette – just planted this courgette plant…. should be ready late July to August. We are growing in a cloche at the moment to save on the watering…

11. Fennel –  flowering plant species in the carrot family. It is a hardy, perennial herb with yellow flowers and feathery leaves.  Pick for the leaves to flavour your salad or produce a wonderful aniseed pesto.

12.  Rosemary… pick this as a great accompaniment to meat or vegetables… I think it is best with chickpeas, garlic and tomato puree with spaghetti. This is a great plant for these planters as rosemary is so drought-tolerant.

3rd Planter

13. Swiss Chard…. we already have the ruby chard.. .well you will find swiss chard as well in the planters.  Incredibly easy to grow and something that is so versatile to cook.  Swiss chard is something like spinach but with a slightly more earthy taste.  The stalks are larger in chard than spinach but is something you should not throw away. Why don’t you pickle them.   Ready to pick now… just pick the leaves and remember to leave some for others.

14. Sage – another great herb great with meat and beans.  Drought-tolerant but can tolerate most weathers.  Ready now.

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3 rd planter with strawberries under cover.

The Slope

15. A new addition this year is the planting of the slope.  We are turning the slope into a terrace of vegetables and fruits.  The first plant being the potato.

16. Lemon Balm – unusual herb Lemon balm is an easy to grow herb that not only attracts bees to the garden, but is also a great anti-viral with relaxing properties that are helpful for soothing frayed nerves and calming hyper children.  Pick the leaves now. Find out about the herb here.

Growing Taunton – Saturday 3rd Sep

somerset-square-1

Taunton Transition Town will be holding another Growing Taunton session in Somerset Square this Saturday.  We have got a lot growing this year…. tomatoes, sweetcorn, cabbage, kale,mint, rosemary, chives, thyme, lovage, tarragon, courgettes and oca.  Come along and help tend, nuture and water this glorious produce; right in the heart of the Taunton.

  • Date: Saturday 3rd September
  • Time: 10.30am
  • Where: Somerset Square, Near Brewhouse Theatre

We might possibly move on to our other plot in Vivary Park.  This plot features medicinal herbs as well as some very unusual edibles.

If you cannot make it then you can always lend a hand when it is dry. We keep some buckets in planters to act as water carriers. If you can spare five minutes whilst you walk past the planters please stop by and grab a bucket – you can gather water from the river and give those thirsty plants a good shower.

Gardening is the most therapeutic and defiant act you can do. Plus you get strawberries.

Ron Finley – Gangsta’ Gardener from Los Angeles

Growing Taunton

Growing Taunton

Growing Taunton

The next Growing Taunton event will be on Sat 1st August in Somerset Square (between the Brewhouse and the Somerset Cricket Ground – the planters have all sorts of vegetables growing; sweetcorn, broad bean, peas, french beans, pumpkin, courgettes, strawberries, radish, parsley, rosemary, chard. thyme and nasturtium. Plus there is an abundance of flowers to bring the bees in; marigolds, wallflowers, alliums, agapanthus, oxe-eye daisy and phacelia.) Meet by the planters at 10.30 am.

Come the autumn we need an essential re-design for the planters to minimise the amount of watering that needs to be done in the summer.  Looking to permaculture design wicking beds look like the best option.

The aim of Growing Taunton is to get more fruit and vegetables in our public spaces. We promote how everyone can have access to local, sustainable food.

There are no members only the motto: ‘If you eat, you are in.’

Growing Taunton
Growing Taunton

Growing Taunton @ Vivary Park

Another growing party is going on at the Old Aviary, Vivary Park on Saturday 4th July. 10.30 am

The aim of Growing Taunton is to get more fruit and vegetables in our public spaces. We promote how everyone can have access to local, sustainable food.

There are no members only the motto: ‘If you eat, you are in.’

The Old Aviary, Vivary Park – if you come in through the main park gates and bear right and follow the path around.  On the right you will see a raised bed surrounded by trees near the picnic tables.  This the Old Aviary. In this spot you will find medicinal, culinary and edible plants.  Currently growing is an assortment of mints, rosemary, lemon balm, goats rue, angelica, sweet ciciely, sweet woodruff, wild garlic, hostas, jacobs ladder, marshmallow, globe artichoke, cardoon, lungwort, and wild strawberries.

So bring along a trowel and gloves and enjoy some planting and hopefully some harvesting!

Growing Taunton
Growing Taunton

Rough Guide to Gardening

Rough Guide to Gardening

What to Grow

Basically I would grow what you like to eat. Remember if you are short of space main crop potatoes and onions are cheap to buy. Potatoes can be sourced locally and onions nationally. Try and grow things that are expensive to buy or include a lot of food mile in getting to your plate. A few examples that you might like to follow

Root Crops

First early potato’s Arran Pilots

Second early Pink Fir Apple, Anya

Carrots. Early types, Nantes, Amsterdam Forcing

Salad Crops

Mixed lettuce seed sown fortnightly, Rocket

Radish, Spring onions

There are some very good cut and come again types that are grown in pots

Peas and Beans

Broad beans are a good crop that can over winter. Aqudaluce and Bunyards exhibition are both hardy verities

Runner beans and Borlotti beans can be grown up canes saving valuable space.

Dwarf French Beans are a tremendous crop and easy to grow. There are the standard green beans but also yellow and blue.

Also standard peas and sugar peas are good crops

Onions

Lots of varieties available. If you are short of space consider growing shallots and garlic which are more expensive to buy. A good winter crops are Leeks they provide fresh veg in the winter

Brassicas

Lots to choose from. Again remember if you are short of space try and grow Broccoli and Cauliflower which are more expensive

General

We have just touched on the subject. Other things to try are Sweet Corn, Courgettes, Squash, Pumpkin, Parsnips, Turnips, Swede

Strawberries, Rhubarb, raspberries, Blackcurrant and gooseberries can take up small corners and add to the extent of your diet

Finally

Don’t be scared to ask. If you have any questions please feel free to ask me

Bob Rawle