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Wonderful trio of vegetables

Ratte potatoes. Pictures by Roseanna Wright

Ratte potatoes. Pictures by Roseanna Wright

Richard Wright

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017 - 13:30

RUNNER beans, my new favourite ratte potatoes and baby globe beetroot — now that is a vegetable threesome made in heaven.
The first two are normally problem free for me, potato blight being the only fly in the ointment, although that has not been an issue this year.
Runner beans have been, and still are, prolific during high summer after plenty of bees have done what they do so well.
But beetroot, and indeed carrots, have been real problems in recent years.
Germination has been sporadic and a moth-eaten row not only looks rotten but it wastes valuable space.
This year, County Press columnist, local historian, author and keen gardener, Alan Stroud, and I both tried an experiment, with varying results.
In recent times, we have both had very patchy germination of both carrots and beet so we thought we would try germinating them indoors in pots and planting them out as seedlings when they were big enough to handle.
This is not a recommended technique.
Most of the experts say root veg do not respond well to that sort of treatment and it proved not a great success in the Stroud plot, but I can smugly report of all the seedlings I planted there were only a couple of failures.
My little baby globe beetroot are sweet and lovely, and they make such a gorgeous accompaniment to either a roast or salad, seemingly completely untroubled by re-planting.
Garden wisdom is to give beet plenty of space but, with D. T. Brown’s baby beet action, they can be thickly planted because they are best when only the size of a table tennis ball but they can be grown on for fully mature beet.
These are the archetypal beetroot, perfect globe shape, smooth skinned and uniform. They are great to eat and good on the showbench too.
You don’t need a big vegetable patch for beet because the foliage is attractive in a pot or interspersed with bedding in a border and, of course, it can also be eaten, like spinach. Now is just about the limit for planting beetroot seed for harvest in late autumn.
To prevent bleeding the goodness out of beet, twist off the tops, don’t cut them with a knife.
Baby beet action has proved popular and has sold out this year.

 


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