2020’s veg varieties

2020’s veg varieties

2020’s veg varieties 1024 682 Pascale Store

part 1: In the greenhouse

Obsessed with Seeds..
My obsession with growing vegetables started on a holiday in Cornwall when staying in a cottage on the Porth En Alls estate, when we were delivered a trug filled with heirloom vegetables. It was 18 years ago but I will never forget marvelling at the purple and white and yellow carrots, the beautiful chard and bunches of spinach. Back then, with only a tiny, very shady garden and no greenhouse, growing my own vegetables was a pipe dream which manifested itself in a passion for seed catalogues which I longingly perused with the same level of attention my husband gave car brochures full of fancy cars we were never going to own. Now I live in the countryside and have a vegetable garden and greenhouse, I study seed catalogues with a whole new level of excitement and enthusiasm. This year has been (unsuprisingly) fairly different. I normally try 4-5 new ‘out there’ tomato varieties which I order from Tomatofest, a brilliant website in the US (we grow A LOT of tomatoes) however this year we are just using up all our old seed packets which has been quite gratifying.

To give an idea of how many different varieties we grow here is a selection from September 2016 I posted on Instagram @pascaledepascale 
You can tell they're organic by my Birkenstocks
To give an idea of how many different varieties we grow here is a selection from September 2016 I posted on Instagram @pascaledepascale
You can tell they’re organic by my Birkenstocks

Usually we try one or two new things just for fun, things like agretti or cime di rapa, but this year we are sticking to all the tried and tested varieties we plant year in year out.

Seeds for planting in Pascale Smets' greenhouse
Using up all the seeds : Franchi (Italy), Thompson & Morgan, Tomatofest (USA), Victoriana Nursery and Sarah Raven 

My Vegetable Varieties for 2020 IN THE GREENHOUSE

As well as raising all the seedlings we use the greenhouse for some of the tomatoes and a small, thin skinned cucumber variety called ‘Socrates’ plus early cut-and-come-again salad, chillies and herbs.

The cucumbers are planted in 3 wooden boxes on the greenhouse bench and are trained along wires on the ceiling. They are absolutely delicious and so prolific we run an annual competition to guess the number of cucumbers in a growing season. The prize is…. a cucumber.

This is 2017 blackboard count showing the previous year’s tally.

Tomatoes are planted everywhere, not just in the in the greenhouse but also in adapted cattle troughs by the barn and in raised beds in the vegetable garden.

In the greenhouse beds: Hazel Gold, San Marzano and Aunt Ruby’s German Green.
The tomatoes stay tiny - about the size of a pea. These are in the greenhouse but there are some outside too.
‘Spoon’ a variety we didn’t repeat as it was too annoying to pick

This Year’s Tomato Varieties:

* denotes varieties from TomatoFest

*Aunt Ruby’s German Green – a green beefsteak tomato with an excellent flavour but needs to be clearly labelled so you know it stays green and remember to pick it! Looks lovely in a salad.
San Marzano – the most famous Italian plum tomato. Great for sauces.
Sungold – a very familiar, excellent, sweet, orange-yellow cherry tomato – we grow every year. 
Tigerella a delicious large red and orange/green  striped tomato, another favourite.
*Gold Medal– a medium sized tomato. Looks like a peach, all soft yellows with a rosy blush. A favourite.
*Dagma’s Perfection – a medium sized, yellow tomato with a delicate fruity flavour
Black Cherry  – small round, deep purple, mahogany-brown cherry tomatoes. Great flavour and they look excellent mixed with other tomatoes
*Hazel Gold a yellow beefsteak variety that grows well even in cooler climates like ours.
*Flamme – a golf ball sized, French, yellow tomato – great flavour
*Kellogs – proper orange beefsteak tomato with great flavour.
*Black Krim – A very dark, reddish brown beefsteak tomato with green streaks and a green gel surrounding the seeds. Deliciously tart and beautiful too. A favourite.
*Super Marmande – Heirloom, French beefsteak tomato a soft pinky red.
*Amy’s Sugar Gem – a sweet, very prolific, red cherry tomato.
*Brandywine – largish, red tomato, with a smooth almost buttery texture

Some interesting varieties we didn’t repeat
Spoon a tomato the size of a the size of a pea. The novelty appealed to me, they looked great and very cheffy but you couldn’t really taste them and they were so annoying to pick

Like last year we’ll squeeze what we can into the greenhouse (about 15 plants) and the rest will be planted outside in the coming weeks.

The first cucumber of the year, curiously way ahead of any of the others !
Image from last year – no cucumbers yet.
A tray of Greek Basil. It  forms a ball and looks a bit like a Box hedge
A tray of Greek Basil. It  forms a ball and looks a bit like a Box hedge.


Chillies – a mix

Herbs – Newly grown from seed in the greenhouse this year – Greek Basil, Chervil and Coriander. Everything else has overwintered outside.

The Greenhouse Today

Cut-and-come-again salad, flower seedlings (Cosmos, Zinnia, Corn Parsley) and all the waiting vegetable seedlings.

Next time

PART 2: IN THE VEGETABLE GARDEN

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