Sunday, 30 July 2017

How do you eat yours?

Courgettes are coming thick and fast now. There is no stopping them.

And the sweetcorn are starting to set. We have our first tasselled corns appearing. We're going to have to keep an eye on them, unlike last year when we completely missed our chance because we were a little too late.
A far cry from where we thought we wouldn't be having any at all this year.

The tomatoes are now starting to produce in earnest as well. They are somewhat crowding the new greenhouse.

But our poor beans are not doing so well. They never really recovered from the slug damage they got earlier in the year.

We have now gained a small extension to our plot. The plot next to us (plot 31) has been partially converted to bays to contain manure and woodchips. The remainder has been converted into two smaller 3.5 rod plots with a little awkward spot (less than a rod) alongside the bays. This small bit is our new addition.
I think for the time being we're just going to cover it to keep the weeds down and build some beds over winter. Although I suspect this might be an ideal spot for next years courgette mound.

On the subject of which...
The 2017 Courgette Tally:

So how do you keep on top of your supply? What recipes do you use? Here are two of our current quick courgette cookups. Three if you count my old cake recipe.

Recipe 1.
Bring a portion of pasta to the boil and set aside to cook. I use Penne or Fusilli (Rotini).
Fry up some onions and garlic in a little vegetable oil in a large pan/wok.
Add diced courgette and fry for a little while.
Add tuna (or mince).
Add a tomato pasta sauce.
Combine with the pasta and serve.

Obviously there is a lot of scope for variants. I usually mix in chillies to make it a little spicy. I use tuna, but you could add quorn (for the vegetarians), seafood (prawns, mussels etc. for the pescatarians) or minced meat (for the carnivores). Even better if the tomato sauce is home made from your own tomatoes.

Recipe 2.
This one is a firm favourite of ours.
Bring some spaghetti to the boil and set aside (similar to above).
Fry off a few diced onions in a little oil.
Add salmon chunks.
Add a small tub of Philadelphia cheese.
Stir in a handful of chives and black pepper.
Combine with the spaghetti and serve.

So how do you eat your courgette glut?

Saturday, 22 July 2017


We've had a little bit of rain over the past few days. Some places more than others. So we carefully checked the weather report before walking to the plot this morning.

I say walking, it's about 2 miles away and we usually drive there. But now the car has failed it's MoT. It needs about £1,400 of repairs on a car worth about £200. So now we're carless, which means we have to be careful what we take too and from the plot. Since we've had a bit of rain it's time for wellies. And breakfast. And kitchen waste. It all adds up.

Anyway, the plot is looking pretty good.

The sweetcorn is starting to put forth flowers at the top... which means that somewhere down below there should be some corns forming. But I can't seen anything at present, but there are a few lumps on the stems.

The Cape Gooseberries are also doing well(ish). Notice the ones at the back, compared to the ones in the front. Huge difference. The ones in the front were put in there after the onions were pulled at the start of July. But there don't seem to have done very well. I guess they don't like onions.

Meanwhile in the second greenhouse, there is lots of promise from the tomatoes. But unfortunately not much in the way of immediate production.

Oh, and the courgettes are still pumping them out like crazy. Been giving them away at the office and to neighbours.

The 2017 Courgette Tally:

Didn't really get much of a harvest today though. Been getting more throughout the week.

And the Star Flowers just keep on coming. There are little seed spikes that are left after the flowers have moved on. Guess the Wife will be gathering those for next year.

Going back to the rain. The weather report said that it would be raining in the afternoon. And there are dark clouds gathering on the horizon. Well lets just say that dark clouds can travel faster than us. We were about 5 mins away from home when it started absolutely throwing it down. Needless to say, we were drenched by the time we made it back. Guess it's time to start looking for a new car.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Trimming the bush

Tomato bush that is.

So a couple of weeks back, the tomato greenhouse looked like this...

I didn't manage to take a photo of it today because I was somewhat shocked. Leaves everywhere. The place had gone crazy. Needless to say the tomatoes needed a damn good hair cut. So I grabbed the secateurs and started lopping off leaf stalks. It was a crazy amount of leaves I took out.

Apparently though it helps the tomatoes. The plants are put under more stress. And when the plants are stressed they start producing fruiting buds. But also it lets in more light.

Anyway, after I managed to fight my way through the jungle I caught site of a lot f green toms hidden in there. So there are definitely some forming.

But then just as I manage to get to the very back of the green house, I spot something red.

Small, but perfectly formed and sweet. Our first toms. Just as well, because we've been living on courgettes for the past few days.

The 2017 Courgette Tally:

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Pros and Cons of Watering

It's summer and everything is growing and blooming. Unfortunately long dry spells can spell disaster for plants that need a decent drink.

I have tomatoes in the greenhouse, and if I leave them a little to long without a drink they end up wilting. So instead I place the pots into trays.

Watering the plants and then filling the trays helps keep them watered a little while longer.

Which leads to the next big question about watering during hot weather.. what time of day should you water? Personally for me, I've found that watering very early works better. When you water in the evening the surface stays wetter longer, allowing those pesky slugs and snails to come out and slither around. Watering in the mornings, means the water has chance to soak in allowing the veggies time to absorb it during the heat of the day.

My courgettes really seem to appreciate this method as then have really started to produce now.

And the sweetcorn has really shot up. Not bad considering that the start of the year looked like we weren't going to get any.

Even the rhubarb and grape vine is enjoying summer.

Whilst we enjoy some of the early fruits from the blueberries.

Now if only my butternut squashes would start producing too.

The 2017 Courgette Tally:

Saturday, 1 July 2017

The courgette tsunami has begun

Somethings we manage to do quite well with. Courgettes for example. But we've not had much luck with others.

Onions is one that we have a reasonable result. But it looks like this years onions have started to go over. The leaves are starting to die off.

So we decided to pull them all, and plant in some of our spare Cape Gooseberries.

Meanwhile I finished off dealing with the tomatoes in the 2nd greenhouse. It's Tom City in there now. (Oh, and the Chillies)

The the weeding and general plot maintenance. But it didn't stop us getting a small harvest.

It looks like I'm going to have to re-instate the Courgette Counter. So far this year we're at...
The 2017 Courgette Tally: