Sunday 24 August 2014

The change of the season

carrot seed and garlic bulbils

There is a perceptible change of air this week. The swallows are nearly all gone, just a few late fledgers from the second broods gathering strength until their parents gauge them fit to travel, the nights are drawing in, there is mist on the grass in the mornings and the warmth is abated.

With a forecast of almost continuous rain for the next couple of days I've been taking some rapid harvests of things that will spoil in high humidity. Lots of raspberries, beans for drying, inevitable pickling cucumbers and courgettes and some carrot seed and garlic bulbils.

The carrot seed is of two colours, unremembered varieties except as yellow and orange. I'm really not that bothered with the purity aspect here. It's an experiment to see if I can save viable seed (seems easy enough so far) and carrots are something I don't find particularly nuanced in texture or flavour for most of the widely available sorts, so there seems little to preserve except to keep them separate from wild carrot back crosses which is unlikely to happen as we have no wild carrot here.

The garlic flower bulbil heads were 'forced' by stress on overwintered garlic that was so rusty I didn't even bother to harvest it. I'm hoping to grow on the little bulbils and produce a clean crop in a couple of years time but that's possibly a hope too far.

Other seed saving I'm intending to make is of this wild plant which I can only identify as a purple Heracleum sphondylium or Common Hogweed. Search engines are obsessed with the noxious Giant variety and I've had trouble tracking down any examples of the Common with colour variations but this is such a striking plant even from a distance I'd like to increase its incidence around the farm. Even if only a few seeds breed true it's a lovely thing.

purple hogweed

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