The Veggie Group had the first meeting of the year at the home of Cilla Pickett yesterday, Tuesday, 26th February.
We had a good gathering, including two new members to the Group and received apologies from several of our regular members who will hopefully be able to attend the next meeting.
We sat in the sunshine on Cilla's terrace and poured over our packets of seeds. As usual, each person present was able to give an account of what had been successful last year and what the plan for planting is now.
Those of us who had planted broad beans and peas in November were delighted to report some good growth. It was mostly agreed that for such vegetables as beans and peas it is as well to choose a local French variety although with the French beans and runner beans most of those present were happy to grow familiar names - like Mascot, Purple Queen, Melissa, etc. The runner beans were grown by some of us but don't really do well in the heat and need to be watered regularly to get good results. Rosemary Robinson is going to try a white flowered variety which is supposedly more heat tolerant. Val Ford was able to show us some french beans that she had put in her propagator and were already growing.
There were also members who had planted garlic and onions earlier and I think it is still possible to put these in if you want a crop this year.
Lynda Creegan was harvesting her kale and we talked about the different brassicas.
Tomatoes are always popular with everyone as they do so well here. We agreed that the easiest way was to buy the plants at the end of April or beginning of May. There is an enormous variety to be bought here. Some of the favourites were Roma, Coeur de Boeuf, Annanas - the yellow pineapple tomato, and the Crimean Black.
Moneymaker, Shirley, Windowbox Yellow, Gardeners Delight - a prolific cherry tomato - were all mentioned as well loved.
Sandie Dearlove told us she had had great success in growing tomatoes in straw bales. It sounded fascinating. One must treat the bales with fertiliser and then remove straw to make a hole for the plant which is then filled with compost and the plant watered well in.
Peter Robinson had the idea that our Vegetable Group should grow vegetables suitable for making a dish for the many Bring and Share Lunches we attend. He quite rightly felt that dishes of vegetables would enhance a buffet table so we must bear this in mind for the Summer months.
Finally we discussed herbs. Debbie Williams is keen to make a herb garden and we talked about the different herbs available. One tip for coriander was to plant it facing North and put it in the shade. I think that was new to all of us and was gleaned from a French bio producer in the market!
Our meeting ended with a wonderful tea and Cilla had made some delicious cakes.
The next meeting will be on TUESDAY APRIL 30th and will be at the home of Joy Collett in St. Romain. A reminder will be sent but do please make a note of the date.