Monday, July 28

Podding

The blackcurrant bushes have now been more or less pick over and I'm sure the currants that I have missed will be spotted by the blackbirds. This doesn't, however spell the end of the soft fruit harvest as the alpine strawberries and thornless, Loch Ness blackberry are keeping us supplied.

I'm also picking a few blueberries whenever we visit the plot. I'm taking a tip from the blackbirds and picking any blueberries that are just beginning to ripen. I've found if I pop them in a tub they quickly ripen away from the plant. The small amount below are the pickings for the whole week. For some reason our bushes are not very prolific - especially one of the four. Any tips on how to increase the yield will be appreciated.
So far Sungold is the only variety producing ripe tomatoes - including twins. We are picking from both the garden and plot greenhouses. In the plot greenhouse Sungold hasn't succumbed to whatever ails the tomatoes growing in two of the grow bags.
Below is what happens when you forget to pick the courgettes on one visit to the plot. You end up with mini marrows (marrrettes?). So far we have off loaded some onto, my sister and our next door neighbours at home and on the plot - fortunately the plot neighbours are new and haven't grown any of their own yet. I've at least one other recipient earmarked but if you live in the Wakefield area and are willing to give a home to some of our excess then drop me an email!
The Woodblocx raised bed in the garden has started to produce some salad pickings. Just a few salad leaves at the moment but things are looking promising. An update on this deserves a separate post which will come shortly.
We then have the exotic additions to the harvest. We maybe left the figs, ripening on the Brown Turkey fig plant in the garden greenhouse, a little too long but we still managed a small harvest. We'll be a little more diligent next year. Fortunately Brown Turkey is self fertile and so there is no danger ending up eating more than we bargained for.

We like to try new things and one newbie for this year was the cucamelon. We'd heard lots about them and couldn't resist the seed suppliers description

I quote:
"Already a firm favourite amongst James' fans and gracing the dishes of many a TV chef, these tiny watermelons lookalikes have a refreshing flavour and bags of personality. Plus, their lush vines will produce masses of fruit throughout the summer with a ‘cucumber and lime’ taste, Ready when they are grape-sized and still firm to the touch. "

Too late, we read the negative opinions of fellow Bloggers - the seeds had been sown. We picked our first two fruits this week and agree that they definitely don't live up to the hype. Maybe out taste buds lack the required sensitivity. Apparently the fruits can be pickled like gherkins so if we end up with more fruits, I'll try that.
We are now both suffering from podders' finger. We have stripped the second lot of broad beans from the plants. The peas really aren't enjoying the hot dry conditions and so we also had to quickly pick peas from our second lot of pea plants. The peas and beans have been duly podded and are now in the freezer. Also in the legume team the climbing French beans - Cobra are beating the runner beans into production. 
If you look carefully in the photo above you will see the under ripe blueberries that I picked at the weekend and that have now ripened. When we remember we also bring back a couple of lettuce from the plot. These are pulled up with the root and popped in a bucket of water and kept outside. We can then harvest fresh leaves as required.
I picked the first gladioli this week and other spikes are not far behind. I cut them when colour starts to show on the floret at the bottom of the spike. The sweet peas are now in regular need of cutting to avoid any seed pod formation which would cut short the flowering period. I usually buy packets  of mixed sweet peas but this year I went for a collection of named varieties chosen specifically for cutting. All except Beaujolais have incredibly long stems but the dark burgundy colour of the Beaujolais flowers makes up for the lack of stem length. I'll be interested to find out whether the length of the stem is maintained as the plants get older as often later produced sweet pea flowers have shorter stems.




39 comments:

  1. That is a whopping load of squash. I, on the other hand, am ecstatic if I harvest 3 or 4 squash per week. This year I changed up a few things in the hopes of a better harvest, but the plants are just plodding along...sigh. Those figs look scrumptious - I hope to get a fig tree at some point, although in our climate, it would have to be grow in a pot and lugged indoors to overwinter.

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    1. They do look like squash don't they, Margaret? Nut they are actually overgrown courgettes or zucchinis. WE picked another box full this afternoon.

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  2. Another great harvest. My runner beans are producing well now, I've already frozen some as there's too many for us and my parents to keep up with. The slugs got the Cobras when they were planted out, but a couple of plants escaped and I've managed a very small harvest from them this week. I had to laugh at all your courgettes, perhaps you don't need quite so many plants next year.

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    1. You know how it is, Jo. We like to have different varieteis and you can't just sow on seed of each as it may not grow. Then they all germinate and you give some plants away but can't bring yourself to throw away any seedlings. Some may die anyway and if you don't plant out all the young plants some may not grow - then what happens? They all thrive. Someone in our greengrocers said hers were doing nothing. I slipped up their and should have taken her name and address.

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  3. Lovely harvests. And I can't believe how much squash you have. That would be hard to give away except to a food pantry. I dream of figs, but I haven't been very successful at them. They aren't hardy here and I refuse to pot them up and lug them into the house every winter. But I keep trying.

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    1. Our figs are i npots and are now living in the greenhouse, Daphne, They will survive outside but seem to appreciate the added protection. They'd need keeping in a pot outside anyway to restrict their growth.

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  4. I love all those beans! Great harvests this week!

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  5. That is some harvest you have there! That is a great tip for keeping a lettuce too. I keep telling myself that next year I'll be better organised and produce more quantity and variety like you have.

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    1. At least by growing a variety of things, Deborah it seems something thrives whatever the weather.

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  6. The word prolific springs to mind and those sweet peas wow

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    1. We picked more today, David and the stems were already much shorter - I wonder if the weather affects them

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  7. I like the idea of picking the lettuce with the root on, and keeping it fresh in water. It's not something I need to do with my garden being right outside the door, but it's a tip that many allotment-holders would benefit from.

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    1. Do you just pull leaves off rather than cutting the whole lettuce head, Mark?

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  8. Great harvest Sue! I love your blackcurrants, blueberries, raspberries. Your zucchini are so big, mine are growing now as well. I don't pick lettuce with roots, only the lower leaves, because lettuce will grow more juicy leaves.
    Have a nice garden day!

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    1. We do try and pick courgettes (zucchini) small Nadezda but they grow so quickly

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  9. What a glut of courgettes you have, wish I were local. Fanbloomingtastic harvest! I haven't many blueberries this year, about 20 in all on four bushes. Must remember to relish each one. What a marvelous tip re keeping lettuce fresh, I must try that.xxx

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    1. I wish you were local too, Snowbird

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  10. That is quite a haul of courgettes! Your friends and relatives are lucky to share your bounty. Our blueberries are just beginning to ripen. ~ Rachel @ Grow a Good Life

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    1. I'm not sure they think that way when they see ,e with a box of courgettes, Rachel

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  11. I'm impressed Sue :) So many cougettes! How many cougette plants you've got on the plot? I know that you have 4 varieties, but how many plants?

    This year I planted various scallopini squashes for the first time. I regret to plant only 1 plant of each colour; yellow ones, sunburst, turned out to be the best: crunchy and delicious when very small, and there are too few of them. Next year I will definitely plant more.

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    1. We have twelve plants, Dewberry - three of each. We like yellow ones too

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  12. That is a ton of courgettes! It's amazing how quickly they grow when you turn your back. I'm guessing you don't have the lovely vine borers in your part of the world.

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    1. We don't Julie bit no doubt they are booking tickets as I type! I looked them up and they are very striking.

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  13. Wow. We have a old joke here in the states when the courgettes start to really produce. Don't keep your car unlocked at night or you may find courgettes in it int he morning! Your flowers are also stunning. I think that a garden isn't complete with out veg and flowers too.

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    1. That's an idea, Lexa - plenty of open tops around at the moment. :)

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  14. Wow, amazing harvest, all of your hard work is really paying off. The yellow stripey courgettes look lovely. My plot neighbour gave me some courgettes the other day, as he'd not managed to look at them for a while and they were suddenly huge. Do you give your blueberries masses of water? That might help. I've lost all of my blueberries to a family of blackbirds this year, they've been here every day for ages helping themselves, and I don't have the heart to stop them. Can you sell/give away your courgettes at your garden gate? I really like buying home grown things like that.

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    1. Thanks for the blueberry top CJ I had thought of a box with help yourself on it but we live in a cul-de-sac and tucked on a corner too so no-one passed our housre

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  15. Blueberries prefer soil on the acid side, could that be it?

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    1. The soil is acid, Jessica the wallflowers hated it. They are also planted in ericaceous compost and I feed with an acid loving plants food. The plants themselves are healthy enough

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  16. I'm starving now after reading your blog post. Must get some breakfast in :)

    Jean x

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    1. Hope you enjoyed breakfast Jean

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  17. Sorry for the typos in some comments - I think I need to slow down a bit or maybe my fingers are growing and hit two keys at once

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  18. What a fantastic harvest Sue! I gave up on my blueberries which were in a large tub. I only got a small handful of berries every year, not even enough for breakfast!

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    1. I live in hope that next year will be better, Paula. I do this every year!

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  19. This is my first time visiting your site. I'm amazed at the variety and extent of your harvest! How large is your plot?

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    1. Lisa you are most welcome and I hope you pay a return visit. Our plot amounts to about a third of an acre.

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  20. Wow, what an amazing harvest! That's a lot of summer squash. I would be totally stressed at the sight of that. haha.

    Beautiful figs and berries as well.

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    1. Hi Thomas and welcome. The summer squash are actually overgrown courgettes (zucchini). And we are definitely stressed out :) I see a courgette crumble coming on.

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