New Project - Could send me to the insane asylum

DThille

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If folks have time, Fantastic Fungi is worth checking out. There's a promotion going on where it is available for free over the next few days. It's just over an hour long.

My chipper/shredder makes fairly fine wood chips, so that isn't a massive issue...fallen branches that are hidden are another issue.
 

Mandy Onderwater

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Ah that's fair. I figured I'd give out the warning regardless. If you do notice the branches you can always chuck them in the wood chipper :D

If it's portable you could possibly offer it up to other gardeners for a small price (like a running fee - or more) and/or trades with fruit & veggies or seeds that you might not have. It could make a good point to strike conversation too, if you don't know them too well yet :)
 

DThille

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I spent most of yesterday in the country focusing primarily on cleaning up the weeds to appease my farmer neighbour. I went over some areas mowing with the tractor, leaving some spots where the cover crop was evident to follow up by hand. Some of those weeds are easily 2m tall. I did do some with the scythe as well, attempting to top them but the weeds are floppier up high so it didn't work as well and some of those stems are particularly tough. Even though it's a large area, we made a bit of a switch to cutting weeds by hand with pruners and shears and that did OK.

20220729DSC_0088SwissChard.jpg

Some of the Swiss chard was over 20" tall!

20220729DSC_0093Zucchini.jpg

Golden Glory zucchini...I'd harvested the largest the other day. We took the biggest one and plan on being out again Monday (long weekend here and Sunday is supposed to have showers) so will have more to harvest. We will need to look into preserving zucchini aside from shredding and freezing, which works well for baking.

20220729DSC_0095Harvest.jpg

Here's what we harvested from the garden. The other day I saw a method for pickling Swiss chard stalks so guess what I'll be up to shortly.... We did run to town to take in the farmer's market and pick up a few things for supper. We made a simple meal and I used a couple of the largest Swiss chard leaves as wraps. It was quite tasty.

20220729DSC_0096TidiedCoverCrop.jpg

Here's a dense planting of the pollinator cover crop after some tidying. I need to remind myself how to take video with the camera so that I can share the buzzing with you.

20220729DSC_0098CoverGrassHeads.jpg

The heads on this grassy plant are quite attractive. I'd need to look at the mixture to attempt to narrow down what it is.

20220729DSC_0100PersianClover.jpg

Persian clover.

20220729DSC_0104NorthGarden.jpg

We did a bit more cleanup in the north garden...it looks somewhat like a garden. You can see some of where I mowed beyond.

20220729DSC_0105SouthGarden.jpg

The south garden needs work, although some of the cucurbits are really out-competing the weeds.

20220729DSC_0106SpaghettiSquash.jpg

Spaghetti squash is developing nicely.

20220729DSC_0107PatissonPanache.jpg

The largest Pattison panache we saw with some fingers for context.

20220729DSC_0109PurpleTopTurnip.jpg

Purple top turnips are part of the cover crop mix...some of the seed got broadcast into where we are doing some gardening, so these were pulled and will be consumed. It's handy when you can eat some of your cover crop.

20220730DSC_0112BreakfastZucchini.jpg

Breakfast zucchini based on this Spanish Stuffed Zucchini recipe. We've done this a few times now and have really enjoyed it, although the cheese can make it oily...cutting back the cheese a bit might make it drier. I see he's got another stuffed zucchini recipe with tomato-based stuffing as well...we're going to have to try that. Of course, one of the young adults here doesn't like cheese and the other doesn't care for zucchini / squash, so this is just for the Boss and I.
 

Mandy Onderwater

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Be careful not to hurt your back cutting everything by hand - or do you have long tools?

Your plants look stunning and I'm happy you're getting such beautiful bounty from it :D
It's definitely grown a lot since you started this thread and it was all quite barren still. It's amazing what you've already done to the place in such a short time, especially with the winter you had.
At a quick glance I thought the spaghetti squash was a large egg! Oops. But it's looking good :D
And I don't thing I had even seen a Pattison panache before. Looks very interesting; is it edible?

Edible cover crops... smart thinking there!

Do you know what I could substiture for the manchego and goats cheese? We have some very picky eaters here too; I think it'd be very refreshing to eat zucchini like that!
 

DThille

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The property is helping to keep me in shape, although there are days that do put added stress on. I do have a modern scythe that is longer, but it doesn’t do as well trying to swing it two feet above the ground where the stems bend over. That said, we have used hedge shears and basic pruners on some of the weeds. After some discussion over brunch today, She Who Must Be Obeyed is out picking up a folding sickle and we will see how that works. A machete could also be valuable, but I’m not sure how easy it would be to find one in these parts.

They do look like greenish eggs, don’t they? The big one is approaching the size that one sometimes sees them for sale so that is an indicator it’s getting close.

The Patisson squash is also known as Panache Jaune et Verte squash and it goes back to at least 1856. It is a pattypan type of squash and yes, it is edible. I have limited interest in growing the decorative gourd types, although those would cover the ground as well.

Generally, in the videos on YouTube (Spain on a Fork channel), Albert says you can substitute for what is on hand. She Who Must Be Obeyed doesn’t like the chevre style of goat cheese, but we will use feta if we have it on hand. We generally have Parmesan and cheddar on hand so have used those. Use what works and what you have handy...it’s more of a method of cooking than an exact recipe. Granted, when trying something new, I prefer to follow the recipe and then, if we like it enough, we will adjust to our taste preferences. Good luck with it.
 

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Let us know how you go and what tips you might have! I'm definitely interested.
For us you can get a machete in Bunnings, but I doubt you have one there. You can always try going to camping stores, or even farming related stores.

They really quite do! I don't think I've ever seen them (or have taken notice to them perhaps). I wonder what they taste like :)

Very interesting. I don't think I'd take much fancy to growing them decoratively either, but it'd still be interesting.

Thank you for letting me know! I haven't ever been too keen on goat's cheese at all, but that might be as it wasn't a thing we'd normally consume in my household as I was growing up. Cheers!
 

DThille

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So, the folding sickle we got worked well enough today, but there were some issues. As it's a folding unit, there are openings where seeds and bits of plant can get into...that made closing it back up again a bit challenging. Also, the plastic handle had a small bolt to attach it to the metal handle...being made in China, it was a cheap bolt and is now in need of replacing...I'd cut into a weed and all that stayed with my hand was the plastic handle. Just like the grease fittings on the roller, I'll replace it with a better quality piece and we'll be right as rain. That all said, it was raining when we arrived today. There had been a couple cells roll through this morning, but it didn't look like much on radar. However, when you start wading into waist high plants with some weeds that are taller than you, one gets soaked pretty quickly. I was surprised on a gloomy, drizzly day how much insect activity there actually was...I saw oodles of crickets (I should see about capturing some and selling them for reptile food) and heard some bees.

We did get more of the weeds hacked down. It looks like my calendar is free Wednesday afternoon and the weather should be drier, so perhaps I'll be out. Cabela's Canada offers some machetes and they do show some available at the Winnipeg store, which happens to be conveniently located on my way out to the country.

I can't say much about the flavour of spaghetti squash...their claim to fame is that, when cooked, they are easy to shred (sort of like pulled pork) and they naturally form into strands sort of like spaghetti, so you can put a sauce on them and treat them like a vegetarian / vegan form of pasta. We have at times eaten it with just some pepper and butter and they are quite nice.

I find it interesting...over the last year or two we've done more experimentation with food and gone beyond our typical childhood type of dishes and flavours. We are trying new things and new ways of putting them together (like the stuffed zucchini...growing up, we never grew zucchini and only occasionally had it baked into a chocolate cake or loaf).

Our neighbour out there has chickens ready that she will be picking up from the processor tomorrow...nice and big, unlike supermarket birds (most years 8 lbs give or take), dark meat is a different colour than the breast meat as it's supposed to be and it tastes so much more like chickens I remember from my youth (which we also sometimes got directly from a farmer and I recall one time helping with the butchering process). So, the next time I go out I'll be picking those up.
 

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I forgot I was going to add this...this rose is past it's prime...hares have taken their toll over the winters, but it's tough. It's a locally bred rose from the Morden Research Station of Agriculture and Agrifood Canada...I forget which one it is, but it's part of the Parkland series of roses bred for our conditions. From the photo, the leaves look less happy than they could be...time to set She Who Must Be Obeyed on a mission.

We also harvested the next golden zucchini...it's 10-11" long and about 3" in diameter...a good stuffing size. There were also a couple ripe cherry tomatoes, the first of the season. Yay!

20220801DSC_0120Rose.jpg
 

Mandy Onderwater

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Oof, such bad luck with your tools of late. Luckily it sounds like an easy fix!
The design sure sounds clumsy. Is there perhaps a technique to more easily shake the seeds out? I imagine using it when dry will also give different result as the seeds wouldn't "stick" as much.

I hope you get lucky and a machete you like becomes available soon.

I can't even imagine what spaghetti squash tastes like. Am I right in thinking it might have a similar flavour to pumpkins?

I've been having fun learning how to cook food as well. Back home we always had boiled potatoes, boiled veg and meat cooked in a lot of butter that would get mashed into the potatoes. Day in day out that'd be all we'd eat. The only spices used, really, were salt & pepper. I'm not saying food was bad, but I enjoy a larger range of foods, rather than everything being potato. Hence why I always encourage people to share their recipes! I love trying new foods.

Nothing like fresh food; including veggies, fruit and meat!
Are you thinking of maybe having chickens of your own? If not, you could possibly strike a deal with a neighbouring farmer to trade meat for some of the veg you produce. On top of that chickens often love digging through food scraps.

What a pretty rose! With a bit of loving I bet it'll look good again in no time :D

So happy for your harvests! My tomatoes are flowering again after being mostly dormant during the cold couple of weeks we've had of late. I'm excited to see how they'll go as this is my first time growing them in the ground and not in a pot!
 

DThille

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Unfortunately manufacturing has seen a race to the bottom, choosing to save a penny or fraction of a penny on things like inferior connectors all to either save a price point or pad margins that little extra bit. It’s unfortunate that I’ve had little choice if I want to purchase a new item. That said, there are vintage sickles available for sale locally, so I may get one or two that way now that it doesn’t need to be so expedient.

I should have worded it differently - the store has limited quantities available…that may just be a way for them to placate folks who go there when the web site says they have X available. I should have a bit of choice, but will stay with something on the inexpensive end to see how well it works for my purposes.

I grew up with a similar diet in many respects, although we didn’t have potatoes daily but they were a staple. My father didn’t tolerate anything spicy, so our food was very bland…perhaps that’s why I went a bit overboard with hot sauces and Mexican food after moving to go to university.

I can’t really say right now how spaghetti squash tastes…it’s been a while, but it’s only a matter of time now before I have it again.

Chickens and possibly goats would be on the table when / if we move out there. Until that time though it isn’t really under consideration as we wouldn’t be able to look after them properly.

The bloom was old, so past it’s prime…if I’d gotten a shot earlier it would have looked nicer. I need to prune away some of the dead material and it would be good to take the grass/weeds back from the base and mulch it…we’ll see how soon that gets done 🙄

Good luck with the tomatoes. Hopefully the weather stays appropriate for them for a while.

I’ll be going out this afternoon for a bit to pick up chickens and continue with the weeds. Hopefully I’ll be done with that soon…if things are dry enough I can see it being pleasant, but even though my boots are presently sitting out in the sun I’m not convinced they are dry yet…sigh.
 

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Yeah, isn't there a saying that's something alike the lines of "the poor man pays twice"? Basically, buying cheap means it'll likely need to be replaced soon, and in the end you'll end up spending more than if you'd gotten something of higher quality.
We struggle with it here too; our mowers, drills, etc keep shutting down as they were all bought cheap. If we'd spent a little more originall it'd definitely be cheaper in the end. Parts need to be replaced regularly and we've now stopped getting some items repaired as it's just getting too costly.

I've actually grown to dislike boiled potatoes quite a bit. Not because the flavour was bad, but because of the frequency we were eating it. Day in day out, always potatoes, except for the odd days that we ate spaghetti. But that was then done in a large pot so we could eat from it for days too. In all fairness, we grew up on the poorer side of things, and whilst we didn't have a lot of variety at times, we never went hungry.

I was wondering why you had two properties. Is the country side one not in a good enough state to live in? Or is it too far from work and more aimed towards as a retirement home. If you don't mind me asking, of course.

The weather should slowly be getting warmer from now on, so they should start thriving again soon enough. My first cherry tomatoes (I've tried killing this plant many times... it just won't so I'm now mostly ignoring it) are turning red as well. I'm thinking of starting up some small cherry tomato plants and bringing them to our local community stall so other people can enjoy them. I don't love the taste and they are too seedy in my opinion to cook up. And there's not enough flesh left to make it worthwhile if I scraped them out.
I did have a friend recommend making chutney out of them, but I'll have to see.

Soggy grounds... I hear you! I do most of my gardening barefoot or in flipflops; they dry quicker. As kids we used to stuff our wet boots with newspaper before putting them in the sun. We were always told it'd help them dry out faster.
 

DThille

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So, I was out to the country this afternoon, in part to pick up frozen chickens from the neighbour, as well as continuing to knock down weeds before the seeds scatter everywhere.

20220803DSC_0127Tools.jpg

I'm not sure whether I have a new favourite tool or not...it was effective and I have all my extremities, but I did use muscles that haven't seen that sort of workout recently and I gave myself a blister on my soft hand.

20220803DSC_0128SickleFixed.jpg

Sickle handle fixed...it's a bit bigger than was necessary, but it was on hand.

20220803DSC_0129Zucchini.jpg

Zucchini plants...there's some physical damage to the golden plant...I'm not sure if something stepped on or landed there, or wind or what. Those two zucchinis were harvested.

20220803DSC_0131NorthGarden.jpg

The north garden...after knocking down the remaining tall weeds it looks a lot more like a garden.

20220803DSC_0132GaleuxDEsynes.jpg

The beginnings of a Galeux D'Esynes winter squash.

20220803DSC_0133GaleuxDEsynes.jpg

Galeux D'Esynes plants.

20220803DSC_0134KajariMelon.jpg

A Kajari melon is forming.

20220803DSC_0137Spearmint.jpg

One of the spearmint plants thriving reasonably well.

20220803DSC_0139Cucumber.jpg

One of the cucumber plants...they aren't climbing as readily as I'd prefer. Every time I'm out I tease them to go up somewhat.

20220803DSC_0140CoverCrop.jpg

Some of the pollinator cover crop after clearing weeds out.

Today I harvested some zucchini, Swiss chard, dill, and broccoli (starting to flower in some cases). On the weekend, I made a jar of pickled Swiss chard stems and tried them tonight...I was quite pleased, so can see doing that again. Being a refrigerator pickle, it isn't a long term keeper, so not for the off season, but it will allow us to do something different with the stems and some of the leaves get beat up, so the stem is about all that is left.

My wife isn't a huge fan of potatoes...unless they are prepared with some flavour, she finds them boring. I'd say we fit into a similar economic demographic of lower middle class - we never lacked for anything we needed, but definitely didn't have all our wants.

We bought the acreage in 2008 as a place to store the car collection. It had grown enough that what I was paying for storage was similar to what I'd pay in property taxes, so it made sense at the time. Then we spent to put up the big shop...and filled it with more Buicks. The children were 8, 10, and 12 when we purchased it so sort of treated it like a cottage. Our initial attempts at gardening there didn't go over terribly well with not being able to keep up with weeding and rhizomatous grass taking over (we actually had rhizomes grow through carrot roots). Commuting wouldn't be a great idea right now - She Who Must Be Obeyed is in health care so needs to be able to get to the city daily. The highway can snow in pretty badly in winter and is regularly one of the first roads closed in a bad storm. Right now we are thinking of retiring out there, but that's some time off, so we aren't making a definite call yet.

Happily my boots were dry. It was a lovely day to be out...mainly sunny, and in the low 20s so pleasant enough to work.
 

Mandy Onderwater

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Glad the fix was easy!

The way your zucchini plant looks, kind of looks like what my plants do when it gets too hot and there is not enough water. I'm not sure if it has an official name, but I sometimes refer to it as sun wilting.

I've got spearmint growing too; it loves heat and water, and grows like a weed! I even put the whippersnipper on it when it gets too big for my liking - and I love the smell when I do so.

My cucumbers are just starting to throw off "tentacles" to start climbing - only I didn't prepare anything for them to climb onto! I'm trying to figure out if I can make them climb up my timber fences instead! I was working on making a trellis+roof at some stage, but birds built a nest in it so progress has been halted.

Fries are one of my favourite foods in the world, so potatoes can definitely be delicious. When I make boiled potatoes, I usually like to throw them in the pan I cooked my meat in and toss it around for a couple minutes. Makes it look a lot tastier and the remaining flavour in the pan will absorb into the potatoes. Delicious, easy and no extra cost to make them taste a little nicer.

Keeping both properties does sound like the right choice for your families' needs right now. Healthcare is an amazing, but also taxing job.
Eventually, especially if you come to enjoy the garden when it's all a bit more established and the weeds are mostly knocked down, it looks like a lovely place to retire on. Plenty of time to think that over yet.

Glad your boots were dry!
We're having a warm day today. It's winter, but it's 29C out. Too warm for my likings, haha. But it's probably why my tomatoes are looking so happy!
 

DThille

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We had a similar temperature today…in the middle of our summer.
 

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Hahah, yeah... Welcome to the sub-tropics, haha.
If you drive into town (half an hour out) there's literally a sign saying "Welcome to Tropical Queensland".
 

DThille

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We were out today to continue with the attack on weeds and other general garden puttering. It finally feels like I'm getting the tall weeds under control and it's so refreshing to uncover the pollinator cover crop and see it flourish with more light. In going through with a machete, I did scare up a whitetail fawn...I was probably within 20' or so before it spooked...considering the cover was taller than it, it wasn't long before it disappeared from sight.

20220807DSC_0145FeherOzon.jpg

Peppers, featuring Feher Ozon, a paprika pepper.

20220807DSC_0148Fish.jpg

The variegated variety Fish is showing pod development. Black Hungarian is as well, but the photos I took aren't very good. Overall, a number of varieties of both sweet and hot are developing well.

20220807DSC_0152Cabbage.jpg

Cabbages progressing...the one to the right is probably fist-sized or so.

20220807DSC_0153BrusselsSprouts.jpg

Brussels sprouts

20220807DSC_0155SpaghettiSquash.jpg

Spaghetti squash...this is getting exciting...it shouldn't be long now. We are starting to see these show up at farmer's markets as well.

20220807DSC_0156KajariMelon.jpg

Kajari melon, a honeydew type...I counted five developing on this plant.

20220807DSC_0158GaleuxDEsynes.jpg

Galeux D'Esynes winter squash seeing female flowers.

20220807DSC_0159GaleuxDEsynes.jpg

These plants are definitely getting big.

20220807DSC_0162BoothbysBlonde.jpg

A Boothby's Blonde cucumber...I'll likely harvest this, and another one on the same plant, the next time I'm out.

20220807DSC_0165PollinatorCoverCrop.jpg

One view of the (now slightly less weedy) pollinator cover crop.

20220807DSC_0167GrassyCoverPlant.jpg

I do need to go over the list of plants in the mix and properly identify these...there are a number of interesting plants.

20220807DSC_0172PinkCoverPlant.jpg

This pinkish flower spike was interesting to see.

20220807DSC_0177Sunflowers.jpg

Sunflowers are starting to get busy...this area I'd seeded just with the black oil sunflowers we use for bird seed.

20220807DSC_0178Sunflower.jpg


20220807DSC_0181Sunflower.jpg

There's something about sunflowers that just makes me want to smile. Perhaps it's the Vincent van Gogh influence...or perhaps they make me think of the Dr. Who episode with Vincent.

20220807DSC_0182PinkClover.jpg

Hmm...I thought the focus was better on this pink clover...if I recall, this is Persian clover.

20220807DSC_0183CoverCrop.jpg

Another general view of cover crop with volunteer canola in the foreground.

20220807DSC_0186RedClover.jpg

A red clover.

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Phacelia...these blooms are really pleasing...and it doesn't hurt that the bees really seem to like them.

20220807DSC_0208SugarLumpWatermelon.jpg

A baby Sugar Lump watermelon.

20220807DSC_0209NorthGarden.jpg

The north garden, looking east...potatoes on the left, root crops in the middle, and beans to the right...at the far end of many of the rows I sowed sugar beet seed.

20220807DSC_0210NorthGarden.jpg

A more southern view of the north garden with kale and Swiss chard in the foreground...the straw farther right is among the Tip Top melons (a cantaloupe type).

20220807DSC_0213PatissonPanache.jpg

We harvested the two biggest Pattison Panache squash.

20220807DSC_0214Harvest.jpg

Aside from zucchini, this is what we harvested today...my wife pulled the short carrot (Purple Dragon), so I pulled a second so that all four of us would be able to have a taste...it was nice, not overly sweet as some of the new varieties are, and so fresh. We gathered any cherry tomatoes that were starting to turn as I don't know exactly when I'll be out again...if it isn't until Friday, then we'd likely lose some.
 

Mandy Onderwater

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Your paprika's look great! I thought they were a warmer climate plant, but it seems to be doing great over there!

I've never heard of a "fish" plant before, and google didn't help me either. What is it/or what does it do?

Those cabbages have a gorgeous colour! Do they stay purple like that?

I was actually interested in growing brussels sprouts, but I don't think I'm in the right climate. I never knew how they grew until about two years ago; it was much different from what I thought it'd be. When do you know they are ready to harvest?

I'm loving all the other crops and flowers. Your garden looks like it's thriving; an absolute bee heaven! :D
The veggies look great too; I don't think I've ever eaten carrots with that colour. Do they have a different taste? I love me some "sweet" carrots (without added sugar).
 

DThille

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Paprika is a variety / varieties of pepper...it's the processing that turns them into the powders we know. From a YouTube video I watched a while back, both hot and sweet paprika come from the same peppers.

Sorry for the confusion...Fish is a variety of hot pepper...the leaves of the plant as well as the pepper pods are variegated.

Yes, red / purple cabbage stay that sort of colour, although the stem parts are typically white, which is quite interesting when you cut through one.

If you can grow brassicas like cabbage, broccoli, or cauliflower, you should be able to grow Brussels sprouts. Harvest is based on size / firmness of the sprout. The ones closest to the root are ready first - you can harvest them individually or wait until you decide enough have gotten big enough for you and harvest the entire stalk.

These ones are just purple on the outside. There are varieties (purple, red, yellow) that can be more uniform throughout. I found that scrubbing them faded the purple (there were some stubborn bits of soil). The core of the longer one was yellow, so the cross-section was quite interesting, while the shorter one was more uniform. I forget what this variety does, but I know some lose their colour with cooking and fade to orange in essence. Since we sampled them last night, I'd say they taste like carrots...nothing particularly special. Almost everything we are growing this year are heritage varieties, so to a degree they pre-date the hybridization movement that looked for sweeter and sweeter carrots. That said, they were nice, although from a flavour perspective, nothing to write home about.
 

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That's very interesting, thank you for letting me know!

I feel like I've had purple cabbage before... though it was cooked. In my country we call it "rode kool" and it's cooked with apples (and some more ingredients), as a side with potatoes as veg. I wasn't too keen of it as a kid, but started to appreciate it a bit more as an adult.

I haven't been successful in growing cabbage, broccoli or cauliflower yet as they are the first to get eaten by bugs for some reason... they love it. My seedlings never make it, as the second they see open air; the bugs are on it. Naughty critters. Just lost the last 6 of my broccoli seedlings yesterday. I found a little green catepillar on them, but the leaves were long gone on all of them.

Do they stay purple if cooked? Someone mentioned that some of them turn back to the "normal" orange colour once cooked. I think I'd love some coloured carrots just to look fancy; definitely something on my list now. I think I'd love to roast multiple coloured carrots and serve them with a lovely roast meat and maybe some mashed potatoes.
I feel like you could also trick kids into thinking that they are eating something other than a healthy vegetable.
 

DThille

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I forget whether these carrots are supposed to maintain their colour…I think perhaps not as it’s only skin deep. Some coloured carrots have are uniform throughout, and I’d think that type should maintain their colour.

One supplier I’ve used has a “rainbow mix” with orange, yellow, and red…I don’t recall if they also have purple or not.
 
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