Tag Archives: courgette

Summer is on the Blink!

We seem to be in almost a winter weather pattern with lows coming across the UK one after another. So we may have a day or so of sunny weather then rain. It’s been so bad that I only finally was able to mow the (still wet!) lawn this evening after more than a couple of trying to do it when the grass was dry. I finally cracked this evening when I was rain forecast more or less for the rest of the week.

6 days later

Since then we’ve had a shower or more almost every day and the grass is growing like mad!

The vegetables are growing well though and I’m harvesting plenty of climbing beans, together with the french/dwarf beans (almost finished now though). Only a few mangetout peas at the moment although I have one new seedling to plant out (only one out of four came up!). I’ve sown a couple more pots full today.

Climbing beans – note the different varieties

The tomatoes are producing well, especially the small ‘sugar plum’ types but some of the larger ones just ripening now.

Some of the current crop of tomatoes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tomato plants outside the greenhouse – these are ‘Marmande’

We’ve had plenty of cucumbers as well although just at the moment there aren’t any new ones ready but the courgettes are producing and as usual if I’m not careful picking them while they are small we’ll have a glut.

Baby courgettes – they need watching!

 

One unfortunate side effect of all the rainy days is that I haven’t yet harvested the garlic even though they are ready, but they really need a chance to dry out once I’ve dug them up.

The broad bean plants are still there just in case the flowers on them just now actually produce some beans… unlikely but you never know.

Over the last couple of weeks I have harvested all of the blackcurrants and gooseberries (some of which were immediately cooked into gooseberry ‘cobbler’). The raspberries are just about over, but the blueberry bushes are full of ripe berries – and the birds haven’t found them yet! There are a few strawberry flowers so there may be a late crop. The brambles are ready now as well – I’ve had a few already with my breakfasts.

Some of the blackcurrants and gooseberries

 

 

I’ll close this now and add more in a couple of days….

 

 

Now Cropping

Yes production has ramped up in the vegetable zone so that now the climbing beans are being harvested, along with the cucumber (too many for us to eat, so some being given away), broad beans (just about finished), climbing beans (looking a lot better now), mangetout peas (the first plants will soon need replacing), raspberries (providing some for most breakfasts) and the tomatoes just started (one of the small varieties in the greenhouse). The strawberries have also been producing pretty well over the last couple of weeks and we’ve had several pounds of fruit, but now that flush is over. There are a few flowers on the plants now so there will be some more.

The courgettes (2 plants only this year planted out) will be producing soon and the tomatoes will soon be arriving in real quantity, especially if the wether stays sunny.

Over the last couple of weeks it has been mostly fine with rain just at the right moment when the garden was getting a bit dry. In fact one useful shower arrived just after I’d finished watering the whole garden! Typical!

The ‘salad’ bed continues to be poor. A few radishes only, more beetroot, a few Swiss chard – growing very slowly, a few pak choi (trying to flower), and a row of mixed lettuce – not too good in the middle. A row of ‘mixed leaves’ planted a while ago has failed to appear though. Nothing yet ready for harvest.

Salad bed – not too good though

The kale has grown well though:

Kale bed – we haven’t started eating it yet though

The garlic leaves have all laid down now and are ready to harvest – I just need to check for a few days of dry weather so they can dry properly.

I’ve planted on of the four cucamelons that germinated out under the ‘door’ protection (where two cucumbers and one of the courgette plants are placed) and another is in a big pot in the greenhouse. Not decided what to do with the others yet though.

Cucumber under the ‘door’

The climbing beans have finally started to produce and look a lot better.

Climbing beans now producing well

The bed of cauliflowers planted as a bit of an experiment has actually been producing heads of cauliflower, though not all look like ‘normal’ cauliflower as it was a mixed selection – we’ll need to see what they taste like.

Cauliflowers – quite successful

The tomatoes are just starting to produce now, with some in the greenhouse ripe (zuchero) and others outside just turning.

Zuchero tomatoes ripening in the greenhouse

 

 

 

 

 

Tomatoes outside just ripening

Meanwhile, since my last post we have had the annual ‘open gardens’ weekend for our area and several hundred people tamped through the garden over tow days and mostly seemed to be sort of impressed.

Some of our visitors on our ‘Open Gardens’ day

Summer – Phew What A Scorcher!

Well after the poor weather reported in the last post things have taken a much warmer turn. We’ve had temperatures over 25degC the last few days and exceeding 30degC yesterday and today. The prospect for the rest of the week s for temperatures between 25 and 30. All this means that is is far too hot to work in the garden during the middle of the day and afternoon and of course there is plenty of watering to do!

Nevertheless it all has to be done and the good thing is of course that we are in the period of maximum daylight at the moment so working in the garden is possible until just about 10pm (and of course from about 5am if necessary).

The flowers are looking good as a result, but keeping the climbing and dwarf beans well watered has been quite tricky. The bonus point about the good weather is that it has brought on some serious harvesting with some of the crops, most notably the strawberries as you can see:

The strawberry bed and fruit

One of the strawberry harvests (since had one with over a kilo of fruit!)

Elsewhere the mangetout peas are producing and we’ve been eating them in salads and steaming them with other veg for hot meals:

Mangetout peas waiting to be harvested – note the ‘eye protection’ on top of the cane.

The climbing beans had one ore two almost ready to be picked, but the plants themselves still look a bit scrawny and in fact one of the the original plantings had to be replaced with the more recent sowing as it clearly was not going to amount to anything even though it was still alive – just!

Climbing Beans – overview plus Cucumber plant

Climbing Beans – almost ready for picking

What were baby cucumbers a couple of weeks ago have suddenly become the size they should be picked!

Cucumber – should be pick I think

The dwarf/french beans seem to be hardly growing much, though all bar one are surviving:

French/dwarf beans – compare with the last post – not much change

The tomatoes in the greenhouse meanwhile are coming along nicely with fruit on all the plants:

Tomatoes in the greenhouse

The bush style plants near the kitchen seem to be doing ok with a mass of foliage and flowers:

‘Tumbling Tom’ plants growing well

On top of all this I had to hastily get the mesh cover over the redcurrant bushes at the end of last week as the redcurrants were ripening rapidly. If I don’t get them covered in time the birds will have them!

Ripening redcurrants – protected!

Plus the gooseberries aren’t far off being ready

Ripening gooseberries

I’ve also planted some more mangetout pea seedlings since starting this post yesterday and harvested a foot-long cucumber. I’ve also harvested a large enough quantity of mangetout peas to warrant blanching and freezing (too much for us to eat just now) and over 1lb of strawberries! This means we’ve probably harvested around 2 kilos of strawberries altogether – pretty good really.

In top of all the above had been the routine maintenance of course, mowing the lawn, cutting the hedges and weeding of course. The rainy period followed by sunshine has just encouraged growth of course. So it’s a pretty continuous process – once I’ve cut all the hedges etc. it’s about time to start again. Also, the hedge cutting in the ‘flower’ end of the garden right now is more tricky than ever as all the border plants, which grow right up to the hedges, have to be protected while cutting – it’s a real nightmare.

Wildlife

No trail camera results really since last post and no real changes in the birds arriving at the feeding points. I have seen some baby blackbirds being fed by their parents on the lawn though and I suspect the robins may have a second brood (or a different nest  judging by the noise coming from the hedge on one side.

One squirrel made into the garden and has been taken on holiday…..

More Pulling Up!

Just an update really. The weather has been a bit up and down since the last post although at the moment it seems to be stable and looks good for a couple more days at least.

I’ve not had much chance to work in the garden over the last few days while there has been fine weather, but did manage to spend a few minutes today and removed the courgette plants which had been zapped by the couple of cold nights we’ve had recently (down to 3deg a couple of nights ago). Also pulled up is the cucumber plant, not completely dead but clearly not going to produce any more. Still they are all going to produce good compost hopefully.

In the greenhouse I’ve been able to harvest a batch of small tomatoes together with a few pomodoro tomatoes, but the plants outside the greenhouse are now done for and will be the next target for pulling up and composting.

Almost the last tomato harvest

Almost the last tomato harvest

Pulling Up Stuff

It had to come – I have managed to get into the garden and clear some of the raised beds. So a couple of weeks ago I got rid of what was left of the broad beans, since then I’ve cleared out the mangetout bed, and taken up the three tomato plants growing in one bed. The garlic bed was cleared a few weeks ago (see below) and I have begun to harvest the potatoes – just 2 of the rows so far and we had some for dinner on Sunday.

The garlic bulbs hanging ready to use

The garlic bulbs hanging ready to use

First harvest of potatoes (though some had been cooked already before this picture)

First harvest of potatoes (though some had been cooked already before this picture)

The dwarf beans and climbing beans will be next (actually since writing this I’ve pulled up the dwarf beans, so that’s another bed done).

Where the mangetout peas were...

Where the mangetout peas were…

The tomato harvest is mostly over and we’ve had to prepare only one batch of tomato sauce, mostly based on the ‘pomodoro’ variety. Altogether though I don’t think it has been a brilliant year for the tomatoes but they haven’t overwhelmed us. Can’t say the same for the courgettes – still producing and I have four in the fridge and several more on the plants – and a few massive ones that escaped attention until they were too big just went straight to the compost. Dreadful I know but there isn’t too much that can be done with courgettes. Oh and I found one more cucumber (‘burpless’) today – though I suspect it is the last.

Greenhouse tomatoes now a bit bare

Greenhouse tomatoes now a bit bare

The grapes I harvested have now been converted into grapes juice, very nice too, I had some with my meal this evening.

I’m now harvesting sweet peppers from the greenhouse, better crop this year we’ve already eaten on large pepper which had turned orange. The remainder aren’t quite as big and are only just starting to turn colour but are good enough to use. Meanwhile the chilli peppers are still turning red, and the variety doesn’t start green but a sort of greenish-white.

Sweet peppers - waiting to ripen

Sweet peppers – waiting to ripen

Chilli peppers (prairie fire) ready to ripen

Chilli peppers (prairie fire) ready to ripen

Chilli peppers - becoming ripe!

Chilli peppers – becoming ripe!

I’ve been finding a few raspberries and the odd strawberry to add to my breakfast cereal, but I don’t think there will be many more now.

I’ll have to do some planting soon though, mostly spring flowers pansies and suchlike as the tiny seedlings are now big enough. Also, the containers some of them will be planted in are now at the end of their flowering period so I’ll be emptying them soon.

Spring flower seedlings - ready to go in now

Spring flower seedlings – ready to go in now

Just to show that flowers are still hanging on in the garden, here are a couple of pics taken today:

Nicotiana

Nicotiana

Penstemon

Penstemon

Wildlife

Just birds to report – greenfinches still going through the sunflower seeds, and I can hear long-tailed tits quite often plus the odd house-sparrow on the seed feeder. Also while I’m in the garden I can hear robins complaining with their alarm call all the time from the hedge nearby.

Almost Finished Harvesting

Now that Autumn is officially here things are winding down in the garden of course and harvesting of produce is running down – apart from the tomatoes that is!

Tomatoes outside the kitchen

Tomatoes outside the kitchen – notice how some have split and aren’t really much use now

Tomatoes outside the greenhouse - pomodoro

Tomatoes outside the greenhouse – pomodoro

The pomodoro seem rather more prone than others to various ailments as you can see. Still they are good for making tomato sauce for pasta..

I must admit I haven’t been doing a lot in the garden over the last few weeks, partly because I’ve been busy with other things, but also apart from the harvesting it is the time of year when most of the work is tidying up and pulling stuff out of the ground or pruning rather than planting.

That said I do have a collection of ‘spring flowering’ plants in the greenhouse which I need to put in place before too long and I have some bulbs to plant so it’s not going to be all tidying…..

The climbing beans are past the point of being collected though there are plenty of pods still on the vines. I may save some of them for next year – but I’m not sure if they are F1 hybrids. Anyway, I think I have some left in the packet…. They were better than the variety from last year, though one of the vines that grew purple coloured pods produced very few pods. As the beans are a mixture it will just be pot luck next year unless the saved beans germinate….. The dwarf beans are also past their best and I don’t think there are any worth picking now.

Climbing Beans - past their best

Climbing Beans – past their best

The mangetout peas lasted until the other day and I didn’t get round to planting any more during the last few weeks.

Mangetout ready for picking

Mangetout ready for picking – since eaten!

The courgette plants as usual were far too fecund from two plants. Even though the variety produced yellow courgettes and were easier to spot some still managed to hide until they were massive – so I’m sorry to say some went straight to compost. Well there were plenty of other small ones to eat and there is only so much that can be done with courgette….

One of the smaller courgettes....

One of the smaller courgettes….

We also had just enough cucumbers – there were two plants, one bought as a seedling and one from seed. The bought plant, grown under the ‘door’, produced several cumbers and the died a few weeks ago for no apparent reason. Meanwhile the plant grown from seed, which I planted  in a container, barely survived attacks from slugs and pigeons and had to be protected under plastic for a few weeks. Eventually though it thrived and produced a couple of cucumbers, and is still alive though may not produce any more but we’ll see.

Sweet peppers in the greenhouse - the big one is turning red now

Sweet peppers in the greenhouse –

The peppers in the greenhouse are doing ok. The sweet peppers have fairly chunky peppers and the chilli variety plants have quite a few peppers, but not yet ripening apart from a plant in the kitchen.

The raspberries I planted produced until a couple of weeks ago – enough to keep me with some for breakfasts and for some to be frozen. The ones growing in the hedge near the greenhouse are producing just now – I had about a dozen with my breakfast this morning.

There is still the odd strawberry ripening – if I can get to them before the slugs or birds they are a handy addition to my breakfast.

A couple of the strawberrie

A couple of the strawberries

Meanwhile the grapes in the greenhouse are just about ready. The plan is to produce grape juice this year, I just need to get the bits and pieces together ready.

Bunches of ripe grapes - I've picked them just this evening to make grape juice

Bunches of ripe grapes – I’ve picked them just this evening to make grape juice

There is a big chunk of work coming up dealing with the hedges though – especially when the brambles have finally stopped producing (I’m still hoping to harvest some more) but most haven’t been properly cut since late spring and some have really grown.

Some of the remaining brambles

Some of the remaining brambles – there are better ones elsewhere though

I must get round to digging up the potatoes as well – the tops have died back almost completely.

Wildlife

The trail cam deployed recently on the lawn showed two hedgehogs together and a young hedgehog has been wandering around in daylight as well – and it is small enough to get through the protection cage around the ground feeding station so the camera caught it inside a couple of times.

There have been ‘visitations’ of greenfinches to the feeder with sunflower seeds a few times recently and they can empty it in a couple of days. It also rather annoys the great tits who can’t get near the seeds for the greenfinches and they regard the feeder as theirs normally.

I have seen a squirrel around the garden a couple of times but not round the bird feeders as yet so it is safe – for now….

 

Harvesting Now Fruit & Veg

Both vegetables and fruit are producing just now and the weather has been genuinely summery with temperatures in the upper 20’s for most of the last week.

The fruit harvest has been red currants a couple of weeks ago over 1.5 pounds, and currently raspberries, close to a pound now in the freezer and the bushes are still producing.

Raspberries

Raspberries

The gooseberry bushes have berries on that look to be ripe now – and since starting this blog I’ve picked them Over 2lb of the red berries and about half a pound of green ones.

Red gooseberries  - nice and sweet

Red gooseberries – nice and sweet

Green berries - not as many of these

Green berries – not as many of these

and the blackcurrants are close to being ready.

Blackcurrants - not quite ready

Blackcurrants – not quite ready

The strawberry plants are just producing a new set of flowers so it will be a while before any more strawberries. Some of the blueberries look to be ripening, though it doesn’t look like there will be as many as last year.

Meanwhile I’m harvesting climbing beans, and one of the varieties is producing yellow beans (don’t know the name as it was a pack of ‘mixed’ varieties)

Yellowish climbing beans - they are quite tasty though

Yellowish climbing beans – they are quite tasty though

The ‘dwarf’ beans are just at the point of producing, there are tiny beans at the moment but it won’t be long…

The broad beans have been pretty poor in contrast, we’ve only had a couple of helpings of beans and several plants didn’t produce a single pod.. I can only blame the weather, no idea what caused the problem apart from that as the plants seem healthy enough.

The mangetout have been producing for over a month now and are still producing, mainly because I have planted new rows at intervals.

Mangetout  ready for picking

Mangetout ready for picking

Also the courgettes are now producing pleant – I’m trying to pick them while small to avoid the usual glut – but i’m sure we’ll eventually be overwhelmed….

Small courgettes

Small courgettes

and I’ve already picked a cucumber:

Cucumber - a few days before being picked

Cucumber – a few days before being picked

Plus tomatoes are beginning to ripen – just the small ones at the moment but it won’t be long before some of the larger varieties are ready

Ripening tomatoes

Ripening tomatoes

The salad crops I planted a while ago haven’t been terrifically successful – the radish are ok but the salad leaves and lettuce rows are rather sparse, but there may be some leaves worth harvesting.

I’ve now dug up the garlic bulbs and they are just drying on the bed but they don’t look to be as good as last year but perfectly acceptable.

So that’s the harvesting situation just now..