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At AutoPot we don’t just grow to show, we also cultivate to masticate. Our Research and Development facility provides a wealth of fruit, veg, pulses, herbs and spices for our lucky staff to take home and ingest at will. As well as encouraging in-house harvesting and staff requests for varieties we also get our staff involved in growing themselves as far as possible. Enter Rae Jones, our Accounts Assistant, on a riotous raft of green goods.

Spinach and Kale looking healthy and not a little furtive

This month Rae has been dabbling with Kalettes, the gorgeous, gnomic, gastronomical glories. Don’t know if you’ve noticed but Christmas is just around the corner and Kalettes heavenly and versatile union of crunchy Kale and savoury Brussels sprout could be a dinner table game-changer for YOU! Kalettes, AKA Kale Sprouts or Flower Sprouts are imbued with just enough of the nutty, sweet notes of sprouts and preserve the first-class texture and range of preparation options inherent to Kale. With Kalettes you can say goodbye to the woody hard stalk detritus of Kale, and bon voyage to the labour of cooking sprouts. 

How did this come to pass? The extensive hybridisation process of getting sprouts and kale into bed together – so to speak – took fifteen years of graft on the part of Surrey vegetable breeders Tozer Seeds, and they say pandas are reluctant bedfellows! This gradual process came about as a result of an insistence on traditional, non-GM cross-breeding techniques and exhaustive calibrations in taste and texture. Time well spent if you speak to Kalette followers.

The large edible outer leaves of the Kalette plant fall away to reveal the Kalettes themselves within

1Pot Systems with their ease of repositioning and capacious 15ltr / 3.9gal pots provide exactly the kind of flexibility and space required for these exquisitely cultured plants. A Biobizz substrate plus GHE Three Part Series Feed have respectively played host to and powered the Rae’s grow. Rae reports that the growing process is rather interesting to witness. At first it seemed that her endeavours had resulted in nothing more than a very large-leafed kale plant. The immense and pleasingly edible side leaves do, however, fall away to reveal intricate little Kalettes forming along the length of a central stalk. Once matured and harvested they can be gobbled down raw, boiled (and buttered?), stewed, roasted, fried or stir-fried. 

On the subject of traditionally cross-bred crops Rae has also been excelling at Pak Choi cultivation using easy2grow Systems. Apart from being of interest as a miraculous derivation of mustard, Pak Choi appeals to our superhumanly healthy staff for its qualities of quick growth (we can’t get enough) and its immense nutritional value, making it an absolute staple at AP HQ. The same GHE feed has been deployed here along with a CANNA substrate so that Rae can get the feel of how different growing media work.

Aim of the game: Yard-Long French Beans at full stretch can extend to 50cm / 20in

For yet more variety Rae has started growing yard-long French Beans in easy2grow Systems. easy2grow is the ideal AutoPot system for growing vigorously climbing plants where supports are required. The plants themselves will eventually reach around 2.5m / 8ft with pods of up to 50cm / 20in. To achieve a worthwhile crop these beans are almost always best grown indoors in arrangements similar to those used for runner beans. Yard-long French beans provide an object lesson in the benefits of allowing plants to control their own watering. Such varieties are perfectly happy growing under dry conditions and inexperience can often lead to over-watering. As AutoPots only supply water when a plant has exhausted its previous supply there is no chance of this kind of mis-step occurring using our technology. For the purposes of deliciousness Yard-long French beans require the lightest of culinary touches when cooked, a quick boil and simmer until tender is all you need.

Rae’s Yard-Long French Beans begin their journey skyward

The customary, rich and decadent fancies of this very special time of year are all well and good. But there’s a whole world of fresh, delicious and healthy foods out there that are an absolute synch to grow and enjoy. Why not give it a go?

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