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Adam Rubinstein's forum posts

Total number of forum posts: 17

roots don't like being disturbed

from Adam Rubinstein

Root vegetables really don't like to be transplanted as the fine root hairs get disturbed very easily. I recommend that you sow them directly in your bins and cover them in plastic to help them germinate. you can then thin them out a necessary. I would be very surprised if you get anything worth scrubbing if you transplant them from trays. Good luck. Growing in bins is a good idea but they do need a sandy mix and not too rich or they'll fork.

  • Posted: Wed. 9th September 2009 23:10

Broad beans in Cumbria

from Adam Rubinstein

I've always grown a dwarf broad bean previously because of the wind where I am but have always had disappointing results ( about 2 meals from a 3ft square bed. This year I tried 'Optica' which has been very successful and hasn't been too badly damaged by the wind. We've had quite a few meals and they're still coming. they're tender and very tasty.
We steam them and then dress with garlic olive oil, lemon juice and black pepper. Delicious

  • Posted: Wed. 9th September 2009 23:03

potatoes in tyres are very demanding

from Adam Rubinstein

Hi Liz,
When in the ground, potatoes send out a wide network of fine roots to gather nutrients and water. They can't do this in tyres so you have to make up for it by giving them a really rich growing medium and lots of water.
In tyres they will drain very quickly so they would need regular, generous watering if it hasn't rained or if they're too sheltered (by trees).
My guess is that they also don't have enough sun. Being in the shade until 3.00 pm won't be helping them at all. Earlies need to grow quickly so they want lots of sun and rich compost.
Also it sounds like they went in a bit late.
I have also tried growing in tyres with limited success.
My best ever crop of potatoes was from an old potato left in my compost heap, I got 2 carrier bags full. Real compost (rather than the stuff that comes in bags) is really rich and that is ideal for potatoes in tyres, the stuff you buy in bags is really just a growing medium and doesn't have very much nutrient.
I wouldn't hold my hopes too high for potatoes dug up and then re-planted in the hope of them getting bigger. They have a fine network of roots which are likely to be damaged.
I am planning on trying tyres again next year.

  • Posted: Wed. 9th September 2009 22:43

Watercress soup

from Adam Rubinstein

Hi Georgie,
Yes it does lose it's heat and has a quite distinctive flavour which may not be to everyone's taste but I love it. I think it would make a very good dahl or a sag dal (instead of spinach) if you're into Indian cooking in a big way, good idea.

  • Posted: Sun. 26th July 2009 21:04

Watercress soup recipe

from Adam Rubinstein

Actually I make it up as I go along when I cook but one this started with an onion chopped finely and fried with 4 cloves of garlic (I see you grow your own garlic as well) and some ground corrainder and fennel seeds in a large pan.
Thoroughly wash the watercress (loads) and chop and add until wilted. Add 500g of washed red lentils and quite a bit of water. Simmer until the lentils are soft (you may need to add more water) and add tomato puree, salt and pepper to taste (I usually use a bit of tabasco to give it a bit of bite but I forgot this time).

  • Posted: Wed. 22nd July 2009 18:39

Grow garlic

from Adam Rubinstein

Garlic is the greatest crop.
It is in the ground over winter, doesn't suffer much from pests (some rust just before harvest but bulbs aren't bothered), lots from a small area, keeps for ages.
Find the biggest bulbs you can and break into cloves to plant in a grid system with 4-6 inches between cloves in both directions. Plant in Autumn and harvest when the foliage dies back in June/July. It likes a rich soil so plenty of manure or liquid feed in March/April/May. Keep your best bulbs to plant next year. I've been eating the same two bulbs from the South of France for 20 years but this year bought two more on a market in Florence and planted them in February, they've done even better.
The nearer ones are the Florence ones and the furthest are the original ones from France. they're drying under old windows (I do live oop North)

  • Posted: Tue. 21st July 2009 17:36

veg from scratch

from Adam Rubinstein

Hi Toby, well done for taking the plunge, you'll never regret it.
It sounds like your are doing what I did about 10 years ago only mine was in the corner of a field.
Do take note of the other responses regarding stones and turfs. I removed the biggest stones but the smaller ones are an important part of the soil structure.
I operate a no dig system on raised beds but they only need to be raised a few inches to make a difference, this will help drainage (I'm on clay) and also keep a definition of where you are walking which is very important in no dig.
Areas that you are planning to use in future should be covered in black plastic (see reply to Emma above).
One problem is the paths getting weedy and dropping seeds onto the beds. I use strips of old carpet (bathroom is the best as it is impervious). you can cover this in bark chippings, wood shavings etc or just have a carpeted veg plot. I find that I need to add a new layer of carpet every 3-4 years depending on the quality and how careful I am when I'm weeding.
Old window panes are useful to create mini cloches for tender seedlings especially if you have an exposed site like me.
In the photo you can see (from right):
Rhubarb, white and red onions, soring onions, garlic drying under old windows, leeks, broad beans, cellery, florence fennel, beetroot, salads, rocket. I don't do well with carrots and parsnips because the soil is too heavy.

  • Posted: Tue. 21st July 2009 17:25

Early preparation

from Adam Rubinstein

Hi Emma, my no 1. tip, if you are going to do veggies next year is to cover the ground with black plastic or thick cardboard weighted down RIGHT NOW. This will kill the weeds and make it much much much easier to dig in the spring. Also as it will be warm weed seeds will germinate and then die with no light. growing your own veggies is the best thing in the world (well nearly) but there is loads of work involved so do make it as easy as you can on yourself.

  • Posted: Tue. 21st July 2009 17:09

growing figs

from Adam Rubinstein

I know that figs need two things.
1. they like to have their roots restricted so if you're growing it in a pot it should be fine.
2. They do need lots of water, I mean really lots so it you think you may have let it get too dry you probably did. I would give it a bucket of water a day in the summer but don't let it stand in water, it needs to drain through.
good luck

  • Posted: Tue. 21st July 2009 16:49

Watercress from cuttings

from Adam Rubinstein

Hi all, I planted a bit of watercress from a salad bag in my stream and it's trying to take over, it'll certainly grow in Georgies way as well. I have to gather up huge quantities twice a year to keep the stream clear but it's very good for the compost heap. It will very quickly put out roots from the leaf axils. I just made a load of watercress and lentil soup to freeze yesterday yummie!

  • Posted: Tue. 21st July 2009 16:30