Friday, May 30

He says he wants a revolution

For a recent birthday, Martyn bought 'us' James Wong's Homegrown Revolution. We haven't bought any gardening books for a while but we first saw this book when we visited Jayne at Bagend and since then James Wong has been cropping up in various magazines. Inevitably we were drawn in and this year we decided to try something from his range of seeds.
Cucamelons seemed quite popular so we decided to have a go at them and rather than just order one lot of seeds we ordered some Inca berry and garlic chive seeds. 
We've always liked to try growing different things. Back when we first started on our allotment journey we were viewed as a bit eccentric (odd) when we grew herbs and Jerusalem artichokes.


On browsing Homegrown Revolution, it turns out that we have been revolting for a while as we have grown two of the above before but under different names the Inca berries were cape gooseberries when we grew them ages ago and we have a small clump of garlic chives  which we now know is another name for Chinese chives in a herb box. Having read James description obviously they are not sufficiently content in such a restricted position to achieve their full potential.

Looking through the book we also seem to be growing, or have grown in the past, quite a lot of the plants mentioned although not always to eat!
We have also tried growing Goji berries but threw the plants away when there was some sort of problem reported in the media in growing them from uncertified stock - our plot neighbour grew them from seeds taken from shop bought berries. In the past we dabbled with tomatillos but seem to remember we weren't too impressed with them. 

I'd like to add three more of our plants to the the revolution, honeyberry and Japanese wineberry - although as yet these are unproven and may turn out as not worth the effort ...
...and jostaberry - which has provided us with fruit for several years.
Also thanks to a giveaway last year by Jo at - The Good Life we are growing some Mini Munch cucumbers - a first for us - which we look forward to tasting.
So James, you say you want a revolution. We say, bring it on!



31 comments:

  1. I have no idea about revolution. But I'm really interesting about the cucamelon and jostaberry. I have never heard before. I hope you will show me how about the plant's detail next. Mini munch cucumber... sounds so interesting too!

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    1. I will do posts on them later, Endah

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  2. Ahhh, cape gooseberries, so that's what Inca berries are. I remember having a go at them one year but they never ripened for me. I've got one of James Wong's earlier books, one which accompanied his tv show. I find him really interesting, he's very knowledgeable on plants which are a bit out of the ordinary. Glad to see that the Mini Munch are on the go, mine are putting on a bit of growth now, I hope they do well for both of us. Thanks for the mention.

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    1. I was surprised to find they were the same thing, Jo

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  3. Sounds to me like you started the revolution before him!! He stole your thunder by writing YOUR book! Those berries look lovely ,,, there's been 2 fruit bushes on the lane for 22 years now and I've never seen any fruit on them ,,, where are we going wrong?

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    1. Quite a few we didn't realise you could eat though, Patricia

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  4. Those mini munch cucumbers sound delightful will be looking on with interest

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    1. Don't they, David. Just hope we get to taste at least 1.

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  5. japanese wineberries are lovely and such a pretty plant. I now have a hedge of goji berries. they are so easy to take cuttings from. I got my first proper crop last year. I'm following a James Wong idea to avoid blight. Hope it works!

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    1. We've had our wineberry for a few years now and it hasn't grown much at all, FD. Not a taste of fruit even. What is the secret to success?

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  6. I tried a few things from his seed range last year and wasn't particularly impressed. The Tomatillos looked pretty but I didn't get much a harvest I didn't like the cueca melons too hard and too many seeds and nothing happened with the inca berries. This year I haven't bothered with any of them as space is at a premium and I would rather grow stuff that is actually useful and that we like. But it was an interesting exercise and I wish you luck maybe yours will be more successful.

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    1. Oh dear, Elaine that doesn't sound very promising!

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  7. Good to see you and Martyn are trend setters rather than followers Sue :) I do wonder if they give some of those plants new names to make them more appealing to the modern market.
    Good luck with all the new things you are trying this year. Those Mini much cucumbers sound delicious!

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    1. Trendsetters, Angie Wow. We've never been called that before. I think you may be right about name changes.

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  9. Did you like the book, I had it as a mothers day present last year I think. I must say I do enjoy his books its a pity he didn't make a TV series about the latest one. I'm trying the Tomatillos & the Popcorn corn this year from his range.

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    1. I did like the book, Jo. I obviously haven't read it cover to cover but will sis in and out. I'll be interested to hear what you make of tomatillos.

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  10. I quite fancy that book as well, it looks really interesting. My Japanese wineberry is looking pretty good, I'm hopeful that it's going to give a good crop. Haven't really tasted one yet, but they're supposed to be delicious.

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    1. How do you get your wineberry to grow, CJ. What type of soil is it in?

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  11. I like James Wong, I watched "Grow your own drugs" - hosted by him and I really enjoyed the programme.
    I've never heard of cucamelons, I must find the seeds in Poland and grow it next year. I love veggie garden innovations :)

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    1. I hopt that the cucamelons work out, Dewbury - I'll let you know.

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    2. I'll be checking on your blog :)

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  12. Hear hear!!! He is so refreshing isn't he, I've seen him on a few programmes.
    You amaze me with the sheer variety of plants that you grow, very forward thinking and ahead of the game.xxx

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    1. HIs enthusiasm rubs off, Snowbird.

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  13. I'm impressed that you push the envelope. It is good to try new things. You never know what you will like or what will be successful. You really have a diverse plot. I enjoy seeing what you are up to.

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    1. I don't think we'll be eating dahlia tubers or day lilies any time soon though Bonnie.

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  14. I have been drooling over James Wong’s section on Sutton Seeds, and I have seen all his programs on TV. I still can’t find one single ‘unusual’ plant that I can grow in my tiny space, without throwing out something I already grow. Most things require full sun and I don’t have that, I have afternoon sun on a tiny spot and the rest is pretty shady or dappled. I look forward to seeing your produce. Having said that, I have just received my first fuchsia grown purely for its berries, that must be rather revolutionary? It is just a baby still, and I have no idea when I can start harvest but it won’t be this year and possibly not next year either so it will be some time before I can report what they taste like!

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    1. Fuchsia berries are in his book, Helene so you have officially joined the revolution. We would struggle for fill sun in out garden other than the front flower bed but the plot is more open.

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  15. We got some of his seeds as a present from friends and we are trialling cucamelons and popcorn corn this year, unfortunately did not have room for asparagus peas or radish mooli. Really looking forward to cucamelons as we don't have a proper greenhouse and thus can't grow cucumbers. Your plot seems to have been very experimental and diverse!

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    1. We grow a cucumber called Burpless Tasty Green outside on the plot Pumpkin Lady. We have done for many years now and have had a crop each year.

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    2. Brilliant! Thanks for the tip!

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