Friday, 18 May 2012

More Vegetable Heaven


After our ‘live’ posts from the Malvern Spring Garden Show, we bring you news of some exciting additions to the Dobies range of vegetable plants and seeds – all helping keen and dedicated gardeners to beat the spiraling cost of food, and to be able to eat produce that is tasty and totally fresh. Many of the new varieties are particularly colourful – you can adopt a painterly approach as well as a culinary one. Perfect for those who enjoy a mixed potager-style of producing food.

Or containers for that matter. Dobies have a world-exclusive on their Pepper ‘Sweet Sunshine’ – looks hot but isn’t! It can be grown outside the kitchen door in a hanging basket, window box or on a raised plant stand. With its trailing habit and vigorous growth, it will soon be producing masses of small tasty pointed fruits which ripen from mid-July through to the first frosts. Available as pot-ready plants – and with wicker basket as well if required.

Pots on the patio do not have to be confined to flowers! Vegetables can be just as attractive – but must be nurtured and not left to their own devices. All Dobies plants and seeds are supplied with excellent instructions for cultivating. Right now you can sow the new F1 Squash, ‘Butterbush’ – a compact cobnut-type British bred variety and an early cropper. Squash are becoming a bestseller in Dobies list, and no wonder, they are so versatile and suited to making soup, steaming or baking, and making sweet dishes as well.

Ideal for growing in a large pot, raised bed or open ground, the attractive Courgette  F1 ‘Piccolo’ is another summer delight; for it can be used as either a courgette when small or grown on as a baby marrow. Again British bred, its spine-free foliage will ease harvesting (no more scratched hands and arms!) The stripy fruit will endear it to children, who will hunt for the fruit and can be encouraged to let you know when it is ready for picking.

Have you tried Pak Choi? I have to admit that I haven’t but will be sowing the new F1 ‘Rubi’ which attracted so much attention at Malvern. Its looks alone would tempt you to plant it in potager or containers – or the flower border, for its unbelievably deep purple leaves (which change colour somewhat according to the amount of sunshine) literally glow. As to what you do with it, pick the young tender leaves for salads and stir fries, and use those grown to maturity as a cooked vegetable (somewhat like Chard) using both the leafy portions and the thick stalks and midribs.

Continuous Cropping: isn’t it frustrating when all the plants in a row or patch of veg mature almost simultaneously? Dobies have introduced the ingenious idea of ‘Continuity Collections’ for a number of vegetables, with varieties that can be harvested in succession. Perfect, too, for couples who do not need a large quantity of veg at any one time; as for families, double up on collections, and still take advantage of a continual – and much larger – supply. Dobies are offering ‘Triple’ packs of Broccoli, and also 'Continuity' Leeks – that valuable winter veg that can be sautéed, braised, or roast whilst also forming the basis of many a hearty soup.

Dobies will be having an even larger display of vegetables at the RHS Hampton Court Show, and WiFi permitting, we’ll blog live from there, too. But that’s not until July (3rd-8th), and meanwhile there’s gardening to be done.

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