Monday, August 12

More variety in our harvest boxes

We are still dodging showers as we harvest crops and tidy up the plot. It's amazing how short a time there is between the beds looking full and us emptying them again.

The climbing French and runner beans have taken off now and we are freezing them as well as eating them fresh. So far only the purple climbing French beans  - Python - have yet to produce any beans.

Unfortunately I was late in hanging up my waspinators this year and wasps have homed in on our plums. I don't think it would have made a difference this year as the wind and rain quickly shredded the waspinators soon after I had hung them in the trees. It's not only the wasps that have been attracted to the ripe fruits, the wind has blown lots of fruit from the trees and the butterflies are taking advantage of plums that have burst open. We can't blame the freeloaders taking advantage of our crop as the plums - Oullins Gage are delicious. We picked our first greengages that are also delicious.
6 August
As it shouldn't be cropping for a while, we were surprised to find that one of our sprouting broccoli plants - Rudolf - had produced a central spear. The single spear was added to a stir fry. I find stir fries are a great way of using up a few small amounts of vegetables when plants are just starting to crop or in fact at the end of cropping. We now wonder whether this single spear was just a 'mistake' on behalf of the plant or it will go on to produce more.
Our harvest, last week, included a much wider variety of pickings than previously. The second sowing of peas are coming to an end but we have a third lot with pods on the verge of swelling.

Sungold tomatoes are now ripening but the tomato glut hasn't yet kicked off'. 

In the plastic bags, shown below, are some salad leaves and some spinach. A disadvantage of having a plot three miles from home is that such crops can't be picked just before being needed, so I pop them in plastic bags to keep them fresh. As well as salad leaves we also picked a couple of iceberg lettuces.

The courgettes are producing steadily, and we are also picking enough cucumbers to add to our salads and sandwiches.
8 August
We're still picking a few strawberries. I noticed that one plant has produced a new cluster of flowers which may or may not give us a few more fruits.

We continued to pick blackcurrants with more than a little help from the blackbirds. There's plenty for all of us and I think at the moment the blackbird is content to gather up berries that have fallen to the ground. 

The blueberries too are still ripening but I'm afraid that we are less generous with those. The blackbirds shout their annoyance each time I pop under the nets to pick the berries.

The autumn fruiting raspberries are taking over from the summer fruiting ones. The summer raspberries, that we thought had seen out their better days when they hardly made any growth last year, have had a renaissance and have produced some really strong new canes. Last week, I cut out all the straggly canes that actually managed to fruit this year and any weedy looking new canes. I then tied the remaining canes to the support wires. The irony is that we bought new canes this year and started a new raspberry patch due to what we thought was the demise of this lot. It's a good job that we like raspberries.

We picked more peaches from the tree in our garden greenhouse but, I have to be honest, the fruits look much better than they taste. We are seriously considering whether the tree is worth the effort and space that it takes in the greenhouse. When we had it outside, I'm sure that the fruits tasted lovely but outside the tree would almost certainly suffer from peach leaf curl which was why we took in inside. It's fate is very much in the balance.
As mentioned earlier, the Sungold tomato plants were the first of our tomatoes to produce ripe fruits, however the fruits below are from a self sown seedling which was growing in the greenhouse. Martyn, potted it on as an experiment. It survived and went on the grow and, as you can see, produce fruit. However, despite having a head start it wasn't the first plant to produce ripe tomatoes, which in a way justifies our decision to hold off on sowing our tomato seeds too early. There doesn't seem to be much to gain for us by sowing too soon. We're guessing that the seed was from a fallen Sungold as other than the colouring, they are much redder, the fruits are very much like Sungold in size and taste.

Martyn, dug up another couple of rows of potatoes, this time they were Vivaldi and Winston. Neither variety grew particularly strongly this year. The yield from Vivaldi is less than expected and yet again Winston has been devastated by slugs and other underground pests. They seem to be drawn to this variety. It's a shame as we find it to be a tasty variety too which is why we have stuck with it, however, I think it will be struck off next year's list.
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Finally we are still picking sweet peas, although these are not liking the conditions and not producing as many quality flowers as in previous year. The dahlias though are doing their best to compensate.

I've put together a video of our garden which is here if you fancy a walk around with me to see what we've been up to here.

We have also posted a suspected contaminated grow bag update video here. To summarise, Levington's have requested another sample so they can carry out a bioassay test which I take to mean that they will try growing some beans in the compost to see what happens. I thought they intended to carry out this test with the first sample but apparently they only tested the nutrient levels which were never in question. After the passing of time, I'm guessing that some of the suspected clopyralid residue will have been absorbed by the plants so testing may be more difficult although Corteva have said that there should still be sufficient residue left in the compost to facilitate testing. 

This week I am linking to harvest Monday hosted on 

Dave's blog Our Happy Acres

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  1. First Sungolds, first of the tomatoes, ripening here, too. Delicious taste but skin is a bit tough. Do you have any recommendations for growing more tender skinned tomatoes?

    1. That’s strange, Jane as ours don’t tend to have thick skins in fact they often split when rinsing under the tap. I wonder whether climate is a factor. That makes it difficult to make a recommendation.

    2. That, of course, is the answer. If we are both growing the same variety of plant and one has tough skins and the other does not, then the problem is not genetics, but environment. I think it means for me more and more consistent watering, maybe some shade in the afternoon to lower the temps a bit. Thanks for helping me think this out.

  2. Whatever a waspinator is, i want one - my plums and the neighbours plums are attracting so many wasps, i hate them. The wind has played havoc with the garden plot too, that it looks messy. I am really admiring your golden raspberries though and those flowers, so nice to bring the outside in.

    1. Shaheed a waspinator is a mock wasps’ nest. It is supposed to fool wasps into thinking they are entering other wasps territory. I was too late this year. Search for waspinator on this blog or use the links on the sidebar to go to 2018 August where I have written a post about them. There is a video too on our vlog.

  3. It's amazing the sprouting broccoli has already produced a head! I've got seeds for one called Rudolph I am going to overwinter in the greenhouse. I'm guessing it is the same one. We do stir fries here too to use odds and ends from the garden. They're typically never the same twice but always tasty!

    1. The broccoli is like us, Dave it thinks summer’s gone. Ours is fine outside over winter. Risottos are good for using bits and pieces too. As you say never the same twice.

  4. You have such a lovely harvest!

  5. More good produce from plot to plate!

    1. That would make a good title, Deborah or From fork to fork,

  6. Your fruit and vegetable harvest looks impressive! I've never seen yellow raspberries before!

    1. Thank you Ela - we have purple and black raspberries too.

  7. Oh, you are lucky to get any peaches at all - we have had exactly zero harvest from our tree which is 4 (I think?) years old. It's also afflicted with fire blight but also has some sort of other disease as well, which I think is a canker. I'm thinking it may be best to call it a day on that tree as well and replace it with a new, disease resistant variety in a different location.

    1. The taste is disappointing though, Margaret.


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