More Harvesting & Preserving

Well it’s been 10 days since I last posted on here! Time flies when you’re having fun, so they say.

Apart from harvesting, I’ve not got much done on the plot. The weather is hardly helping, as I write this it is more like a winter’s day than summer. What a country! The tomatoes are doing well in the greenhouse but the outdoor bush tomatoes have succumbed to blight and are a total write off. Val says not to worry, we’ve more tomatoes than she knows what to do with anyway.

At the moment she’s making a tomato and orange chutney, filling the kitchen with that vinegar odour. Now tomato and orange may seem a bit weird, but she’s sure it will work. She’s noted the recipe and will publish it when it’s matured. From what it tastes like at the moment, we’re pretty sure it will be a winner.

I’ve stopped all the tomatoes in the greenhouses now. Stopping is where you pinch out the growing tip to allow the plant to concentrate its efforts into the fruit. You have to watch out for sideshoots when you stop your tomatoes. They seem to react by putting lots of effort into growing more.

In the home greenhouse I’ve four good plants grown from side shoots. These are, of course, later than the main ones but they’ll be fruiting when the main plants have succumbed to viral disease or just been cropped out.

I know the commercial growers will laugh at that. Their plants go on for many months with dozens of trusses but their bio-security and climate control is a little better than mine.

Yesterday she converted a load of cucumbers and some windfall apples into chutney. When I got back from the plot she was happily telling me all the cucumbers had been used up. When I said I’d got another half a dozen in the bag she looked a little crestfallen. Can’t think why!

Sadly the large cucumber plant in the border has died. I think I got the stem too wet and it’s rotted. They’re a funny plant; need a lot of water but a wet stem is often a killer. They much smaller plant in the large pot continues to fruit like there’s no tomorrow.

Mind you, the way I’ve been mistreating it, that’s not an unreasonable assumption!

The beans seem to be enjoying the weather. Considering I deliberately cut down on the number of plants we’re glutted. We’ve been blanching and freezing like crazy as well as eating them nearly every night.

The dwarf purple tepee are prolific but the climbing purple beans and cobra French beans certainly give a lot more per square foot. It’s a shame they lose that dramatic purple colour, becoming dark green when blanched. However, it’s the taste that matters most.

On Sunday we had carrot thinnings, or baby carrots as they’re called in expensive restaurants. Wow, they’re tasty. Just steam until tender with the French beans and you’ve a vegetable they’d charge you pounds for.

The leeks are finally in now, a little late but they’ll be fine for later in the year. I don’t like them too big or too early either. Just as well the way this years gone so far.

It’s been quite busy for us apart from the plot and kitchen. We went over to Anglesey to see Medwyn Williams, the famous show grower. I’ve been managing a new web site for him so that’s what we were talking about. Sadly I didn’t get a tour of his greenhouses and so forth as we had a lot of work to do. I can report that he has a weed in his front garden and the lawn needs a cut!

After Medwyn’s we went over to see forum member Vember, who is one of the loveliest people you’ll ever meet. It was a shame we could spend longer with her but it’s a fair drive back home. Her duck eggs are to die for, especially for an egg addict like me.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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