I’m obviously not getting out enough these days. While visiting one of the few remaining commercial nurseries in Canberra over the weekend I was somewhat surprised to see a woman leaving with a very large potted kale (Cavolo Nero) plant. Indeed it was large enough to get a good meal off and still be a decent size plant. Further exploration revealed that for $14.95 you could also purchase well established broccoli and cauliflowers in 20 cm pots. At least brassicas should be hardy enough to survive the transplant at this size if they were well looked after. It seemed odd but really this is just a step along from selling advanced tomatoes. I had assumed that this was a clever move by the smaller nursery to keep ahead of the retail giants until my friend M said she’d just purchased some advanced Cavolo Nero, not quite as big as the nursery ones (and nowhere near as expensive), in individual pots at Bunnings. What will they think of next?Well I can tell you that too because the next thing that hove into view were a selection of black truffle-spore impregnated oak trees! Yes you too can give an unusual present to the gourmet in your life for a mere $145. The trees I saw were Holm Oak, otherwise known as Holly Oak (Quercus ilex) one of the trees traditionally used as a host to grow truffles. You can keep these in quite large containers or even as a hedge but do be warned that according to Wikipedia they can grow up to 27 metres tall, so probably not a specimen for your courtyard garden. The producers of these trees do say that it will take several years for the truffles to be produced and that you should sniff the ground around the tree in winter so you can tell whether truffles are present. Might be hard to explain that behaviour to the neighbours! Meanwhile at Chez Fork TB has been labouring manfully to convert last years polytunnel into this years ‘glasshouse’ (polyhouse?). TB has been suffering severe glasshouse envy ever since we visited the Stirzaker’s Open Garden?? . As you can see the structure is just about there, minus the plastic sheeting. You can guess who was responsible for the colour scheme!
TB has also done further major digging for the new beds, although we are still in some discussion over the placement of paths – all in good time. I think I’m finally getting to grips with planting a sufficient quantity of plants to provide a reasonable return. I planted out 30 broad bean seeds Aqua Dolce (otherwise known as Leviathon Longpod) an heirloom variety from the 1840s.I’m hoping for a good germination rate. The broadbeans will be the first crop to go into the new beds.