Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Courgettes galore and other stuff

It's that wonderful time of year when anyone who grows their own veg begins to really reap the benefit. My courgettes are producing, on average, one fruit every 2 days. With 4 plants on the go, the harvest is mounting up. I made a lovely vegatable curry the other day, with virtually all my own produce, courgettes, runner, french and broad beans, vietnamese coriander and garlic. To add make it more of a main dish, I added a tin of red kidney beans. Dan loves curry, but the number of veg in this one was too much for him and he wouldn't even try it! A shame because I'm sure he would have loved the taste. The new courgette seedlings are through, but one has got eaten by a slug!
The garlic tops were beginning to yellow, a sure sign it was time to dig them up. If they are left in the ground too long the bulbs split into individual cloves and begin to re-grow. The first autumn we moved in, 4 years ago, I bought some cloves from the garden centre. Each year I have selected the biggest to re-plant for the following year. I am really pleased with the results this year, the bulbs are generally bigger and looking good. At the moment they are drying off, and I will plait them to hang in the garage. Hopefully they will last us most of the year.
I picked the rest of the cherries last weekend. Unfortunately a lot were split due to the high rainfall, but after sorting and stoning them, the 4 of us that like cherries had enough for Sunday dessert. Hopefully next year will bring a better crop as the tree matures. I also picked the blueberries that were ripe, and in an effort to give everyone a taste, decided to make some blueberry muffins. The recipe I picked was not the best, we were a bit disappointed with the results, but they got eaten anyway. The grapes are beginning to swell, and dropping out some of the graplets that didn't pollinate. It looks as if we should get a reasonable amount, but the lone plum has dropped off, so we wait until next year for our first one.
The runner and climbing french beans are doing well, I need to pick them every day or two so they do not get too large. I'm particularly pleased with the climbing french ones as I've never grown these before. They are lovely. It's a shame I lost one of my sowings of lettuce as we have a bit of a gap now. We haven't resorted to buying yet as I left the stubbs in from the last lot and we are picking the smaller leaves that have grown, but I don't think we will have enough to keep going much longer.
The second sowing of radish was a bit of a disaster, as they got cabbage root fly and were inedible. I have pulled them all up, and will try again when we get the next wet patch of weather, which according to the forecast could be today. I do wish I didn't have to waste time going to work, but only another week to the holidays! It won't be long until I pull some beetroot. Matt will get to eat some fresh before he goes back to Hull.
I find it takes about 30 minutes to water all the pots in the garden and greenhouse now, but it's worth it. I have been picking delicious cucumbers, and I have a few tomatoes showing orange. A few more days should ripen them off nicely. The peppers are not doing so well, I have some fruit, but tiny green caterpillars have eaten a lot of the leaves, and there have been holes in some of the fruit, so I cut them off to divert energy into growing new ones. In the garden I had several celeriac bolt (begin to flower). Once they do that there is no point in keeping them, so I used them to make some soup. With plenty of thyme and marjoram the flavour was lovely, and at least I felt I'd got something from them.
I must find some insect repellant though. I sat out in the garden with Dan the other evening and collected bites all around my ankles. It's a bad year for mosquitoes (or good, depending whether you are a human or mosquito). We are using the plug in mosquito killers you buy to take on holiday inside the house, which work quite well, but as I was only outside for a relatively short time, I didn't bother to light the citronella lamps in the garden. Regrets now!
The sky is beginning to lighten, its 4.45am, so I'm going to close now, get dressed and go out to water my pots and perhaps enjoy a cup of tea, looking at the results of my labours. It's the best time, so quiet and peaceful!

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