Wednesday, 27 August 2008

2nd Chance

After a bit of a lull in production the courgettes have perked up and have started setting fruit again.
Which is a relief as I hadn't got fed up with courgettes yet. I've also given them a bit of assistance and did some fertilisation as there seems to be an absence of bees around at the moment. Let's hope they're still going strong after we get back from our hoilday...

Last of the Broad Beans

...went into a very delicious risotto.

On the Turn?

Finally not one but TWO tomatoes are turning red.....yeay!

Trouble is the plants look like they're showing the first signs of the dreaded blight....booooo! Will have to keep a close eye on them.

The Odd Squad

Whilst digging up the Pink Fir Apples we uncovered quite a few strangely shaped specimens.
Funny looking aren't they?!?

Early Morning Dig

I was up with the birds this morning to gather the potatoes we dug up on Monday. What a great way to start the day!!
We've dug up most of the potatoes except the last row of Pink Fir Apples that went in a couple of weeks later than the others.
This barrowfull is large and medium sized Cara potatoes plus we've also got a large yellow trug of assorted sizes. There are still a lot of the pink-skinned potatoes left to eat (can't figure out what variety it yes I've lost the label for them) and we dug up a small bucket of earlier-planted PFA.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Beautiful Borlotti

I love the fact that vegetables can be pleasing to the eye as well as tasty.
These beauties (from a much larger haul) were picked the other night as I'm hoping to get another few out of the plants before the weather turns. I love the bright pink and cream splodged pods and the beans inside are just as pretty if a little more subtle.
Once I have enough - 2 handfuls so far - I'm going to make Pasta e Fagioli, a rather hearty bean and pasta soup, which my Nonna made with fresh borlotti in the height of summer. She always gave my sister and I the job of shelling the beans.

Friday, 22 August 2008

I've been mostly...weeding

and weeding and weeding...but beginning to see the results of our hard work.

The brassicas so far have survived any cabbage white butterfly/catepillar attacks because they were netted right after they were planted out. However in the meantime weeds have grown up around them and with that extra cover the slugs have advanced to attack them on the lengthening soggy nights....So on Wednesday night we took the netting off the PSB, Romanescu cauliflowers and the red cabbages in order to have a good weed around them and put down a warning dose of slug pellets.
Last night I gave the French beans and Borlotti the same treatment as they've been a bit slug battered too and I started on weeding around the courgettes as they're looking a bit powdery mildewy and could do with a bit more airflow around them.
But it's not just the weeds that are putting in late summer growth spurts. The winter squash are bulking up nicely (you can see how they've dwarfed the bricks I'd placed them on) and with lots more fruit setting I'm looking forward to a bountiful harvest.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Plan B

When growing your own veggies and fruit you've always got to have a Plan B if things don't go as planned. For example the onions that didn't grow were the perfect size for pickling.
So with the several marrows that we came back to after being away for a couple of weeks I made chocolate and courgette cake (no pics as it was eaten very quickly...yum yum!) and Marrow, Ginger and Cardamon preserve (from Jane Grigson's Vegetables cook book).
Makes the common ol' marrow quite an exotic preserve to spread on your toast...

Monday, 11 August 2008

A different viewpoint

As you can see I've finally changed the blog's banner photo. But I've taken a couple of other panoramics from different sides of the plots.This is looking from the 'west-side' of Plot85a and you can see the forest of fennel in the foreground on the left and the cabbages and celeriac on the right. It was a really windy day on Sunday so we're going to have to stake the Jerusalem artichokes as at times they were almost horizontal.
This is taken from the shed on Plot 85a looking up both plots (Plot 86 is to the left of the path). The PSB (in the middle of the pic) is doing really well but the horsetail is slowly taking over again. So I think August will be mostly spent weeding....

It's a jungle out there!!

You turn your back for 2 weeks and things go crazy.
In fact you can hardly see the two pepper plants behind the tomatoes. Unless you delve a little deeper behind all that lush greenery and see these...And there's one more the same size (about 4/5cm long) on the other plant and lots more just beginning to show. So a difficult decision to make. Do I remove these green peppers to allow the others to develop quicker or let them ripen on the plant??
As yet the tomato plants in the back yard have only got a few fruit on them but they're producing lots more flowers now.
The tomatoes on the plot however are different beasts.
They are dripping with green tomatoes and my only worry is that we're not getting any hot 'summer' weather to get them ripening. I suppose green tomato chutney is always a tasty Plan B.The sweetcorn is looking lush and healthy.
I'm really excited at the prospect of harvesting super-fresh cobs, as the plants I grew last year didn't come to anything.
And as you can see from the photo above the plants are showing their telltale greeny-yellow tufts of cobs in the making. Knowing my luck though they'll be ready whilst we're away on holiday next month....come on sun!!
The squashes planted at the end of the sweetcorn bed are definitely on a mission of jungle greenery and I found some volunteer dwarf beans (don't know where they came from) at the other end so I've got an accidental 3 Sisters happening.

I remember reading somewhere that in August weed growth is supposed to slow down but that hasn't happened yet! Although the greenery on the right are the Pink Fir Apple potatoes (no signs of any blight yet).

So I think you can just make out the courgette plants, which are still churning out fruit but I'm afraid our lovely neighbours, who we asked to keep an eye on things whilst we were away, didn't pick any so we've ended up with these monsters.....ooops!!The smallest ones are 'normal' courgette size with the heaviest being a whopping 1.3kg.