I harvested the kiwi fruit recently. They are a bit small to eat out of hand so I turned them into jam. Because I have only one kiwi – Jenny, the fruit develop parthenogenically so have almost no seeds. That is also why they are a little small. I wonder whether an actinides arguta or kolomitka would cross fertilise with the kiwi (a. deliciousa), or whether it would be worth getting another self fertile kiwi so they could fertilise each other? I did a little bit of research into kiwi jam recipes online, and then made it up. Most of the sites seemed to agree that kiwi fruit are low in pectin, so need some added to obtain a good set. I decided to use lemon and lime eather than apple which I usually use. I had about 2 lb of kiwi fruit, and over did it a bit on the citrus (2 lemon and one lime) which resulted in a jam that was rather more like a marmalade. I had to add more sugar than intended also, to counteract the sourness of the citrus, and have ended up with three jars of rather precious and tasty kiwi and citrus marmalade.
Some people like to be sure to have their own sprouts for xmas dinner. I’m never that organised, but I do like to try and include some home grown produce. This year we had a starter of my own globe artichokes from the polytunnel. They had been blanched and in the freezer since the summer. A bit fiddly to eat, they made a nice change. I also went out in the morning and dug the first mashua tubers from the polytunnel. Roasted with other root veg they went down perfectly pleasantly. Although they do tend to go soft rather than crispy.
I have now dug up all the mashua from outside. I had four tubers planted in the fruit garden, four tubers downhill from the tea garden below the barn, and four tubers in the dog resistant garden. There were two in each location from each of the tubers I grew last year. I knew the ones in the tea garden hadn’t done wonderfully – there was very little visible growth amongst the buttercups. All the upper growth seems to have died back now – including that of the ones in the polytunnel.
Four tubers appear to have completely disappeared. One of the tubers in the fruit garden had more usable tubers than all of the others put together – several had no usable tubers. So I guess I can certainly say that the harvest is variable. I had labelled the tubers from the two supplied last year, however, the ones that did better this year were apparently from the plant that did worse last year. So either last year’s results were down to variability, or I mislabelled all the tubers! Just as well I didn’t name any names!
|Supplier||upper growth vigour||usable tuber weight (Oz)|
|Dog resistant garden|
I must admit I’m a bit disappointed with the yield outside. I haven’t dug the tubers from the tunnel yet, but believe they have done much better. Maybe Mashua just need a bit more warmth than we get on Skye. I would say overall that the weather in 2017 was not bad for Skye, not too wet, not too dry, not too windy. It could have been warmer – the best weather as usual was in May. I suppose the fact that one plant did fairly well gives some encouragement. I’ll dig up the polytunnel plants next – that will give me plenty of tubers to replant for next year. The other thing I noticed is that last year the tubers grown in the tunnel had patches of quite dark maroon markings. These tubers grown outside are all completely white – maybe indicating a lack of maturity?
I’m going to try outside again, hopefully with tubers from each source (I may try to get hold of some other varieties as well). This time I’ll plant some nice ones straight away, as well as in pots to overwinter in comfort to see whether getting an early start makes a difference. My feeling is that the later part of the season is more significant, but we’ll see.