Wednesday, September 20

Orchid









Monday, September 18

Harvesting when we can

At the moment we are not able to get to the plot and so any harvests are a bonus.

The only day we managed a visit was Monday and being unaware how the rest of the week was going to pan out we only harvested vegetables that we wanted to use and things that were likely to spoil if left another day or so.
Having had a similar problem getting to the plot last week meant that there were masses of sweet peas to pick. Vases of sweet smelling flowers were scattered in almost every room of the house. 

The apples in our harvest box were ones that had fallen off the trees.
The alpine strawberries had produced some decent sized fruits. These plants usually continue to produce a steady crop until the first frosts which in recent years has arrived at the beginning of November.

The rest of the harvest was from the garden. I haven't photographed the bits and pieces that were picked to eat straight away. 
The bunches of Himrod grapes growing in the garden greenhouse are never the perfect bunch shape as they are left to grow as nature intended and this is in no way detrimental to the taste.
We haven't photographed all the small harvests freshly picked to be eaten in lunchtime sandwiches but most days we pick something similar.

The aubergine is from Jackpot - a small growing variety. The fruits can either be harvested small or left to grow into a full sized fruit. Our plants are grown in our garden greenhouse.

We still have plenty of watercress. It's hard to believe that the mass of watercress in our pond was a tiny sprig only a few months ago. It has been severely cut back a few times as it as not only was it seeking pond dominance but also tried to head out of the pond.
The apples below were also windfalls but this time from the garden. They had fallen into the narrow gap between the greenhouse and a boundary fence and so it was quite a squeeze to get in and 'rescue' them.

Sweet peas were not the only cut flowers brought back from the plot.



Wednesday, September 13

Echinacea






Monday, September 11

A surprising recovery.

We haven't visited the plot much this week so our harvest hasn't been as abundant.

On Monday we picked some of our Egremont Russet and Fiesta apples. Some were beginning to fall from the tree and so we guessed that the time was right.
4 September
We picked our first ripe sweet red pepper from the plot greenhouse.

The blueberries have just about been picked over now but they have done very well this year. Since the first week in July, there have been ripe berries to pick on every plot visit.

Having read up on the Rolet squash it sounded as though they were worth the effort of preparing and so we picked a couple more.



Another first was a sweetcorn cob. 


This was a tester for ripeness. It passed the test with flying colours


Earlier we had expected our sweetcorn would fail completely. As soon as the young plants had been planted, gale force winds battered them and laid them flat and in some cases broken.


Such is the wonder of nature and the will to survive that to our amazement and delight the plants rallied and grew into strong specimens.
The lavender bed that we planted up last year has been flowering since July and is still going strong.
I reckoned that the bees wouldn't begrudge me a small posy.

Last Wednesday, Martyn made a quick visit to the plot to make sure the greenhouse tomatoes were watered.
6 September
Whilst he was there he picked more fruit. 
This included more Marjories Seedling plums. The plum trees are still a wasp free zone but I'm not sure whether this is due to the waspinators or a general lack of wasps this year. Have you been troubled by wasps?
Martyn also brought home one of the boxes of onions which are stored in the shed. They started drying off under the greengage trees.  They had dried well despite being subjected to showers but when more persistent rain was forecast I decided to box them up and pop them into the shed. On each plot visit the boxes were taken out and placed in a sunny spot. Soon all the boxes will be brought home to be stored over winter in the summerhouse.
We have also harvested a few things from the garden. The pot grown fig has produced more fruit than usual although only small amounts have ripened at a a time.
Another first of the season, the Himrod grapes growing in the garden greenhouse are now ripe. These are small, seedless and very sweet.
The watercress growing in the pond is still going strong as are the Mini Munch cucumbers.

Each day fresh tomatoes are picked for our lunchtime sandwiches but they don't always pose for a photo.

Another first in last week's harvest was the Snackbite sweet pepper. The pepper isn't undersized as the plant is meant to produce sweet tasting baby peppers which are crispy and delicious eaten raw.

You may remember that we grew a small number of tubers from six potato varieties that we were testing this year. Martyn has put together a video of our initial findings after lifting the crop. The potatoes still have to undergo the taste test but some are possible contenders for next year's main list, whereas others? Well, you'll have to watch the video.

As usual I am linking to harvest Monday hosted on Dave's blog Our Happy Acres


Wednesday, September 6

Adolescent Robin




Monday, September 4

Tickled Pink with last week's harvest.

28 August
The cucumbers have knocked the courgettes off  first place in the crop that keeps on giving spot. Some may be anything but straight but that just adds to the interest.

Another contender for the gold medal is the bean. We could spend all our time picking beans. This year we intend to harvest mature pods and just use the seeds in stews etc. I'm going to try freezing them. I know I could dry them but I would never feel confident that they had dried correctly and they weren't going to poison us.
The apples that we think are Discovery have been harvested. In spite of the tree being loaded and us being reluctant to thin out the fruits they are a decent size.
There was no need to even consider thinning the fruit of the Tickled Pink variety as it only had five fruits. We were happy with that as it was five more than it ever had before. We picked one earlier but decided it wasn't quite ripe. Then on Saturday an apple had dropped off. We decided to share it when we had a coffee break. The flesh is almost completely red and the juice actually stained the paper towel.

It has a rather unique flavour. As you bite into it there is a sweetness which becomes tarter as you chew.

The skin of the apple is a very dark red - most unusual.

We keep harvesting a few figs - I think this is their best year.
The sweet peas are still producing lots of flowers although now many of the stems are much shorter. The plants have grown much taller this year, so much so that Martyn has to pick the flowers at the top.
The tomatoes are ripening quickly now. Many are picked as we need them and don't feature in any photos. It's been time to convert some to a sort of tomato passata to freeze.
The ones below were all picked from outside on the plot. No blight this year - well not yet anyway.
The All Gold autumn raspberries have really responded well to the rough treatment they were subjected to back in April/May
The last of the potatoes were lifted. These were the second lot of Winston. You may remember that the previous row of Winston were consigned to the garden waste bin. This row grown in a different bed showed no sign of scab and initial signs were promising. They produced a good yield but on closer inspection the tubers had suffered a high level of slugs and wireworm damage. Winston will definitely not feature in next year's plan.


2 September
We picked the first of the Clapton cauliflowers. Despite the brassicas being covered with enviromesh a small white butterfly had sneaked in and its baby was lurking on the curd. This small green caterpillar was evicted. I am hoping no large whites have crept in as unlike their small cousins they lay a cluster of eggs and consequently the caterpillars cause more devastation
The onions have now been dried off and stored in boxes. We seem to have had less wastage through rotting this year which is maybe down to the dry weather. Drying also has been more successful but only tme will tell whether the onions will keep well.
As well as filling the house with vases of sweet peas, the perennial and annuals beds on the plot are still providing cut flower.


As usual I am linking to harvest Monday hosted on Dave's blog Our Happy Acres