Leeks with a beetroot dressing!
The Basque or Gernika chilli pepper
We started harvesting our aubergines about two weeks ago and this year we are trying three different varieties. One is the standard “commercial” hybrid variety “Bonica” (meaning pretty) and the other two are non hybrids. At this moment the two non hybrids look very promising, they are producing beautiful fruits, but slightly different to what you normally see in the shops. One is Rosa Bianca (of Italian origin I assume) which is producing round pinkie white fruits on a short sturdy plant and the other Tres Hative de Barbentane (presumably of French origin) producing long thin dark fruits on rather a tall plant. If the two non hybrid varieties are successful under our conditions then we will be able to save seed from them.
Standard commercial hybrid "Bonica" aubergine
Longer slender fruits of "Tres Hative de Barbentane"
Pinkey fruits of Rosa Bianca
Another crop where we are trying different varieties is pumpkins. We grow both the Potamaron and the Butternut squash varieties as standards, as they keep well and can be used in winter and early spring. We’ve grown these two types for many years now as they normally perform very well.
Potamaron pumpkin, one of our standards
Butternut squash; the other standard.
We are also growing vegetable spaghetti or “Cabello de Angel” as it is known in Spain for a second year. In Spain the pulp from this pumpkin is preserved like a very sweet jam (which sticks to your teeth) and then used in sweet pastries and cakes! We will most probably serve it as a vegetable like a marrow, though we may do a few experiments preserving it.
Vegetable spaghetti or “Cabello de Angel”
We are trying a new type this year, the Vasca-Mallorca type, (variety Marina.) It appears to be the highest yielding of the different varieties we are growing producing lots of large dark green fruit 60 cms long with a brilliant orange flesh. The first fruits should be ready to pick in a couple of weeks and as they are meant to be very tasty so I cant wait to harvest one to see if it lives up to expectation. If they don’t taste good there will be lots of them to feed to the goat
The big Vasca-Mallorca pumpkin
One of the many problems with large industrial monocropping is that the number of varieties being grown of any crop is being reduced drastically. However with small diverse cropping systems it is possible and beneficial to grow lots of different varieties, many of which are no longer of interest to the commercial growers but very often are culinary delights. Growing different varieties helps maintain agriculture diversity which is so threatened today and incorporates resilience into the cropping system. The popularity of trying heirloom varieties with amateur gardeners these days is an encouraging sign of the renewed interest in tradition and diversity and may also reflect a rejection to the excess of uniformity industrialised cropping brings.
Harvesting fruit and vegetables ready for the evening meal, enjoy diversity!