We’re not vegetarians but the baskets of produce we’re picking daily now just seem to make meat irrelevant for the time being. Who needs it when there are so many scrummy veg to feast on?
As well as the usual reliable favourites it’s good to taste some of the novelties. The first ‘Crystal Lemon’ cucumber was sweet and juicy but I’ve lost all control over the two cuc plants in the tunnel, they are rampaging over everything. I think I need a cunning plan for next year, maybe wires from the central roof ridge to take them upwards? Advice, please!
We have a good crop of asparagus pea, too. They’re strange little things which I really grew for their pretty flowers, they are supposed to taste like asparagus but that subtlety seems to have passed me by completely!
I’m steaming them with the first French beans, chilling them then slicing in (raw) young courgettes and tossing in a basic vinaigrette laced with garlic and chilli oil – it makes a tasty salad teamed up with crisp lettuce and a handful of shredded basil or mint. Yum!
After months of planning, sowing, transplanting, weeding, etc, etc, it seems strange to be opening up spaces in the garden again as crops finish. As I dig the dustbowl over (please, PLEASE let it rain soon) I’m reflecting on how well – or otherwise – different veg have done and I’m starting to make plans for next year.
The autumn-planted garlic has been a huge success with 62 out of 63 cloves forming decent bulbs, albeit a few doing that funny little ‘extra’ bulb thing part-way up the stem. I’ve dried them, cleaned them and made several plaits for hanging. I’d like to grow twice as much next year as we use masses and always run out and it would be interesting to try a couple of different varieties if I could persuade it all to keep.
The onions have recovered from their earlier wobble (which I think was down to the odd weather) but those I grew from seed (for the first time ever) look far stronger and healthier than the sets which has surprised me a bit. I’m considering only growing from seed next year – what do other bloggers think? Is it possible to grow shallots from seed, too?
My poor old brassicas have taken a bashing: first pigeons, then flea beetle and whitefly, now the inevitable caterpillars. In my absence, some of the plants have gone to look more like the lace this area is historically famous for than anything worth putting on a plate.
I’m checking and handpicking eggs and caterpillars daily in the hope the plants will recover but I need to think carefully about the brassica patch next year.
It has occurred to me that all my efforts to attract useful pollinators and insects into the veg patch are attracting not-so-welcome ones, too!
I’m really chuffed with the French marigold seeds I treated myself to with my vegetableseeds.net voucher, they’ve gone well in the tunnel and outside: definitely two to grow again next time.
The dry conditions are forcing some of our trees to have an early autumn, the hazels and chestnuts in particular are shedding dead leaves everywhere. The walnuts have a good crop and Roger has a bucket of them soaking in brine to make pickled walnuts for winter. It’s quite an involved process but should be well worth the effort.
Oh good, more yummy things to come! 🙂