Early August Eating…

The courgettes are still coming fast, so fast in fact that I have to confess to a few ending up in the bin.  The 4 plants (2 x Defender, 2 x Soleil) have provided about 22 courgettes each and are still producing but are looking past their best so I might cut them off and compost in the coming week.  I just went outside and discovered two huge marrows that I have missed lurking below a leaf – oops! this happens so quickly, if you don’t cut the courgettes whilst small, they suddenly bloat into big fat marrows.  These two have gone into the fridge for either chutney or stuffing later.

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I tend to find the same thing happens with cucumbers.  Above are a couple of comedy large cucumbers that were hiding behind a leaf.  We haven’t done as well this year growing these, I think I took the plants (grown in buckets in the greenhouse) outside too early and they were a little in the shade later in the day which has affected their growth.  In the past we have grown huge triffid like plants, but still, we have a steady supply coming now so nothing to complain about.  The only adjustment is next year I will only plant Cucumbers ‘Tasty Burpless’ & ‘La Diva’ and I wont bother with the Gerkin ‘Piccolo Di Parigi’.  I had ideas about pickling my own gerkins but with 2 plants you don’t get enough ready at one time to pickle.

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Also ready to eat are the summer squash ‘Rolet’ also known as ‘Gem’.  The plants so far has 10 fruits, 3 of which we have eaten.  I think this deserves to be on the winners list, it’s the only summer squash I have grown, the rest are winter (a squash update post is due later this month), for a quick re-cap all of these have been grown in giant plastic tubs filled with home made compost and it seems to work well.  To cook, I opted for simply boiling the gem squash (after pricking with a fork) for about 45mins then cutting open, removing the seeds and putting a blob of butter and salt in each half and eating.  Yummy.

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Finally, today we had our first 2 sweetcorn for lunch.  I was worried about the pollination with only 12 plants but it seems OK.  Could be a bit better at the top of the cob but considering I did nothing to help (no shaking or hand pollinating) not bad.  To check they were ready, I carefully pulled a bit of leaf/husk back and checked the colour (pale yellow) and also pushed my finger nail into a kernel, a milky liquid squirted out so I got the pan on the boil and waited 4 mins for sweetcorn heaven.  They were excellent and despite the space 12 plants need I will be growing them again next year, and to think, there are still 10 more cobs to eat when ready!

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August fruit…

I am learning from my mistakes.  A while ago I posted this photo

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We had been away and I was excited to come back and see the first melon on my plants. Shortly after, I read that if only one melon develops you should remove it to allow a few to form at one time, otherwise the plant put’s all it’s energy into the one fruit.  Whilst we had been away it was very hot and I forgot to tell my sister (kindly watering my garden) to leave the greenhouse door open, the result was that during this time, the melon along with a number of tomato flowers did not get pollinated which along with the above advice meant we only got one melon per plant, instead of the 4 or so I had hoped for.

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Never mind, as the ones we did get tasted amazing.  As I had read, I walked into the greenhouse one day and it smelt of ripe melon, heavenly.  It was the sweetest I have ever tasted and so firmly puts it on next years growing list and I have saved a bucket load of seeds as added bonus.

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Another winner are the strawberry plants (Alpine, Mignonette).  I only have 5 plants along the edge of one raised bed but they are providing a small handful every other day, much to Charlie’s delight who loves them and has taken to sitting by the plants picking the ripe ones off.  They have an almost perfume taste and I intend to plant another 5 plants at least for next year, I understand you get about 3 yrs of good produce before they should be replaced.

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Finally, the thornless blackberry has produced it’s first fruit.  Only a small bowl full but as it’s the first year I wasn’t expecting much and few we did get were great.

If you want to see a full list of the fruit I grow, please check out this post.