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Posts Tagged ‘vegetables’

I thought it was time to update on the veg garden and the new veg beds which are now all up and running.

It’s been an…’interesting’   year – with all that snow earlier stopping all work .. then this heatwave – a long hot summer, and so dry. Watering takes ages, but has been necessary.

This year I grew broad beans – well field beans – a type of broad bean – developed initially as animal feed, then developed back as people feed! – the plants are tough, the beans smaller than average but loads and loads of pods, and the beans were lovely – and handled being left standing on the plants unharvested without going starchy or bitter. I will definitely be doing them again.  Hopefully a bit earlier than this year, as I had an early set back with a mouse in the green house stealing all my beans and I had to start over…

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They are all over now, and I have a few squash and some beetroot to take up that space

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Courgettes – yellow and green – are cropping madly – evener madder as, as per usual, I planted too many plants – you know how it is, you sow more than you need in case of fails, have no fails, and plant all the plants because you have a bit of spare space doing nothing.. and anyway you could give the extra courgettes to the hens.. except you don’t and soon you have 40+ courgettes in the fridge and people are afraid to visit in case they are made to take courgettes away with them….

actually they might be made to take cucumber too.  I’m not an experienced cucumber grower… and planted too many of them too – although.. see I sowed 6, gave one away, planted 5, one died, of the remaining 4, one is useless and refusing to grow, so leaves me with 3, 2 of which are average… and the remaining one is set on world domination.
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We do like cucumbers, my son and I but might eat as much as half of one in a day, and on that same day I might pick seven new ones.  Tomorrow I am looking into pickling some…

Meanwhile I am steadily filling up the freezers with the surplus of runner beans and purple French beans – although attempting to eat as many fresh as we can.
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After last year’s sparrowagedon – whereby the sparrows ate ALL of the flowers of my runner beans, this year I tried a white flowering variety – and although the sparrow population is very much on the up in my garden, they seem to have ignored the white flowers – success!  I was a bit baffled by getting a crop in before the purple French beans – as in my experience the PFBs always crop first – but it has made me realise we probably always lost the early flowers on the runner – just never noticed with so much else going on.  Anyway, unless the sparrows get over their colour prejudice, I am going to carry on with these white flowering ones.  They are supposed to produce nice white beans too – we shall see (since some of the beans have got away from me and are too big already…).

I have futures in squash and sweetcorn –20180712_200131
baby sweetcorn – as it is what my son likes, but those plants are not baby sized – they are taller than me .  I have, as you can see, opted for a ‘two sisters’ planting scheme and the crown prince squash underneath and lurking and swelling.  I’m quite glad there is nothing to pick from this bed yet, as frankly I am a bit overwhelmed with everything else.

I also have tomatoes, cherry and large, vegetable spaghetti squash, and some salads,  coming along, raspberries and blueberries and the picking garden is providing me with lots of lovely flowers.20180720_163018

I hope you are all having a good harvest too
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crown prince

crown prince

We do like squash in this family, and my favourite is crown prince, because it is sweet, creamy and tasty, easy to grow, but also because it stores so well.

We harvested our squashes at the beginning of October and stored them carefully in a cool dry out-building, on pallets for good ventilation. They all stored well, and we checked them regularly as it is just too disappointing to have your hard earned crop go ‘blop’ and make a mess of the shed! They do become tastier and sweeter if stored, and we have been slowly working our way through the crop.

The crown prince have kept well until now nearly six months later, which is pretty good going. Now the weather is getting warmer they are beginning to deteriorate, and so it is time to chop up the last half dozen. And this is the final good thing about this squash, is it freezes well. Handy that is hung on until there was space in the freezers!
We blanch and freeze it in chunks, and from there can be made into soup. added to curries and tagines or roasted.

I’m always trying new varieties, we like the pumpkins for their halloween qualities, and the sweet lightening are delicious roasted whole, but I shall always grow crown prince.

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tomato jungle

tomato jungle

I always start the tomato year with the best of intentions, dutifully pinching out side shoots and tying in the  plants.  Always, they get away from me – I get distracted and before I know it.. the side shoots have side shoots…. and by this end of the year, the greenhouses are jungle-like, and picking tomatoes involves threading an arm in to reach the ones at the back, through the mass of greenery.

cherry tomatoesI felt a bit guilty of it.. bad gardener! …But then again.. I am picking about 8 lbs of tomatoes a time – it has been a bumper crop – and I realised that if I had done the ‘right thing’ and stopped the plants at the top, instead of just tying them in along the wires…then letting them dangle down, then roping them back in along with all the sides shoots as best as possible.. well the crop would be a lot smaller.

You can get away with it with cherry tomatoes – the plants tend to be lighter, and the fruit doesn’t take so long to ripen – with bigger fruiting varieties, I think a bit of discipline is required, so the plants can concentrate on getting their few larger fruit to maturity. Cherry tomatoes can survive the jungle style method… just as well!

I’ve roasted many pounds of tomatoes for roast tomato passata, I’ve made soups and cassoulets, ketchup and three batches of tomato chutney.

Eventually either blight or the cold will do for my tomato plants – but with the early good practices, the bases of the plants are clear an have air around them and I leave the doors and windows open day and night and will push out this crop as long as possible. Then when the plants drop… all I have to worry about is processing the green tomatoes!

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harvesting

blueberries

runner beans

courgettes

tomatoes

blackberries

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harvesting

blueberries

runner beans

courgettes

tomatoes

blackberries

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harvesting

wild strawberries

blueberries

blackcurrants

runner beans

french beans

courgettes

tomatoes

blackberries

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harvesting

wild strawberries

blueberries

blackcurrants

runner beans

french beans

courgettes

tomatoes

blackberries

Read Full Post »

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