What a muddle the weather has been this year so far! Now with reports of the coldest winter on the way (is it just me or do they pull a wishy-washy statement out like that every year?!), who know’s whats ahead of us.
The temperature dipped to 3 degrees and the first frosts arrived last week here in Oxfordshire, sadly igniting the slow down of the growing season. Luckily it was harvest galore before my sweet potato, tomato and other veggie delight plants got tinged by the chill.
I have mentioned on my social posts frequently the joys I have discovered from sowing everything late this year. When in the Spring I was beating myself up internally for being behind, life being juggling pandemonium at that stage – I thought I would be lucky to have any produce to proudly show off and enjoy. But actually it paid off, as I when other allotment holders plots have been starting to look empty, the heat wave causing huge effect, mine has been luscious and green. It still is too in many areas luckily – broccoli, cabbage, two varieties of kale, lettuce and chard all still going strong!
Tip: Don’t forget to keep your brassica’s netted and more tender crops like the lettuce and chard covered as the temperatures drop, either in a greenhouse, poly tunnel or under a cloche will do – extending the season and preventing damage.
Fingers crossed I will be able to say over the coming months that I have nailed all year round growing – my 2018 aim!
On the subject of chard, these bright, scrumptious leaves are one of the delights I have been harvesting nearly daily recently. Wilted down like spinach, they are delicious in any dish. Featuring in a cottage pie, casseroles, and omelettes to name just a few recipes.
Alongside the chard, the runner beans have been flowering on all cylinders and the courgettes living up to their glut expectations. Daily harvests being a must for these two also – you can see what happened when I left them alone for 5 days! A courgette or more accurately named, marrow – the length of my calf!! It was knee height and now in storage to become marrow rum! You should try making a bottle or two yourself – its divine, sweet and oh so naughty served straight over ice.
My wide range of potatoes continue to create a never-ending treasure hunt which always fills my heart with joy and childlike excitement. Pink Fir Apple and Blue Danube winning the extensive spud testing this year. As a child I used to have a spread sheet stuck on the fridge which multiple categories, testing and scoring criteria. Now, it’s a more slimline memory based testing process they go through – no wall of success or shame.
I must remember to harvest all the remaining ones though very soon before the real hard frosts sets in and the slugs arrive in force. Risk of damage will be too great and I don’t want any going to waste after all the hard work.
The harvests don’t stop there either – how wonderful?! Sweet peppers, lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers have been filling up my gorgeous personalised handcrafted trugs too. Which I must say have survived out in all weathers superbly this year and still look as fantastic as when they were delivered.
There really is no bigger satisfaction and confidence boost than harvesting your own nutritious food which you have grown and nurtured from seed. Don’t you agree?!
How has your growing season been so far? Still harvesting? Or yet to start growing yourself? Please comment and share your gardening experiences this year to date.