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Saturday, 7 June 2008

Heavy Plant Crossing

Being a bloke, my garden isn't full of nice flowers and nutritious vegetables. Well it has some of those but it isn't full of them. No, in that typical male competitive way, I grow WOW plants which mainly means tall. Or possibly fat. Or just weird.
Kohl Rabi
Right, this thing glories under the name Kohl Rabi. It's a member of the cabbage family. The spherical bit is known as a "globe" in the trade and is actually a modified stem. The seed packet for this particular variety "Superschmelz" claims it can get to 10Kg without being woody. Of course I had to grow it. I harvested the one in the picture when it reached about twice the size, took it to a festival and cooked it for a group of friends using a large pressure cooker. Just before it went in the pot, a woman came by and said she'd never seen one that size before. I thanked her.
Jersey KaleAnother cabbage giant is "Jersey Kale". The record height is 18 feet and on Jersey they make them into walking sticks, Mine only got to 7 feet. Still a lot of cabbage though. The young leaves and flower buds were nice steamed. When it finally "bolted" and put on masses of bright yellow flowers, a brown haze of tiny insects surrounded it for weeks.

Echium Pininana x Wildpretii hybridI haven't grown an Incense Cedar (Calocedrus decurrens) but I'd like to. It's a very tall, very slim "pine". You can see them in any good tree museum. Instead, I've grown something similar in spirit if not in biology - a giant Echium. In a little over a year, it goes from seed to over 13 feet tall. It's frighteningly easy to grow although it doesn't like hard frosts. I first saw Echium Pininana in the Connaught Garden in Sidmouth and just had to have a go. So for a couple of years, I've gown Echium Pininana x Wildpretii hybrid each season. They delight the local bees and people alike.


Kohl Rabi "Superschmelz" seeds
Jersey Kale seeds
Echium Pininana x Wildpretii hybrid seeds

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