Tuesday, 4 August 2009

A Summer Bounty!

We were quite naughty last weekend and abandoned plot 103 to enjoy a weekend in Co. Cork surfing in Inchydoney! Thankfully the weather picked up on Saturday and we had a fantastic day learning to surf, a new hobby I think we will definately keep up. We're already looking at wetsuits! On Monday evening we went up to plot 103 to see what if anything was available to harvest as last week our beans were forming and in order to keep the plants producing, beans and peas must be picked regularly, otherwise the plants think they've done their job and produced seed and will die off. Our peas are forming well although not quite ready to pick yet. 2 pods were nearly ready and we couldn't resist picking them and eating the peas straight from the pod like sweets, they were absolutely gorgeous and I am in danger of never eating another cooked pea again.
To our delight we found our calabrese (broccoli) plants are forming nice tight heads which will hopefully be ready over the next couple of weeks for harvesting.

Our courgettes have finally started to produce female flowers and one small courgette was ready for picking. Courgettes are supposed to be sweeter, tastier and best picked when only as thick as your finger or a little bigger making this one perfect. Its hard to find courgettes in the shops at this size as they are usually left to get bigger on the plants which makes more watery and a bit less flavoursome. This one was perfect and full of flavour. I'm looking forward to more of these over the coming weeks.

We thinned the carrots, again, but this time we were rewarded with proper baby carrots from our rows of Autumn king, yellowstone and chantennay. We left the carrots thinned to a spacing of 1 inch or so between them so that we could thin them gradually to their final 3 inch spacing by picking and eating the thinnings as baby carrots, that way we don't waste any and get a bigger harvest. Hopefully by the time they are thinned to their final spacings they will be full sized. We should regularly be in baby carrots from now on.

Our beans have been a success!!! After all our troubles with them the beans are producing plenty with more later sowings yet to come. We picked a small bag full and these ones were absolutely gorgeous blanched along with the baby carrots and stir fried in some olive oil and garlic. Thankfully we managed to escape the dreaded carrot fly also in spite of the failure of our carrot fly barrier. Not a single root was tunneled or damaged and they grew straight and strong with a flavour that was unlike any shop bought carrot you will ever get. The flavour was almost overpowering and deliciously carroty!! This was todays summer bounty!

Our chilli plants on the balcony are also laden with chillies now ripe for the picking and I've been using them for the past two weeks. I've been cooking a huge amount of indian food, which I love! due to the abundance of chillies to use some up however we've had to take a break from it this week due to certain..em.......episodes of ....well flatulence really.....human beings are definately not meant to eat that many onions, chillies and spices...ahem..
Nevertheless they are a true success and so easy to grow I'm doing a chilli list for next year. Martin, the allotment owner is considering getting some polytunnels on the site which will come in very useful next year as I intend to grow a few different varieties including this years successful apache chillies. The apache chillies are extremely tasty, and you really get a nice chilli flavour from them but they are not particularly hot and I do like a good bit of heat in chillies. So next year I'll try and grow some other varieties such as thai birds eye type chillies and cayennes along with some others if the polytunnels come through. My tomatos have also begun putting out fruit in abundance and I'm hoping for a bumper crop at the end of the summer. Lets hope it keeps on coming...


  1. Hi Sharon,congratulations on a great harvest! The successes always seem to make the failures less important.Chillies are not on my list to ever try growing but yours look nice and healthy.

  2. Thanks Peggy, I love chillies and use them a lot so I was pleasantly surprised how easy they are. Ours were growing on a west facing window sill so not even in ideal conditions and they are still doing well so can't wait to see how they work out in a polytunnel with better light and heat.

  3. It is a lovely harvest, and I am so envious of your chillies. I can't believe that you are only starting to get the peas, mine are all gone, other than those that are in the freezer.

  4. Thanks Mangocheeks,

    Unfortunately our peas originally were directly sown and got eaten before they germinated so we had to start some off on the balcony in june to plant out a few weeks later so they are very late, but we'll know for next year, the rats/squirrels on our site seem to like peas but the beans grew ok after all so next year we'll start earlier with successional sowings on the balcony. As a result of the raids by pests we didn't get many plants in, only around 15-20 so I'm not expecting a huge amount, but hey theres always next year when we can prepare better.

  5. Sounds like you've come up trumps with the chillies: I tried some last year and they looked lovely but they were about as strong as my two year old son: tasted delicious but absolutely no zing to them at all.

  6. Thanks 'the drooling vegatable', so far so good with them, definately a success and so tasty even without toom much heat, but I did read on a forum somewhere that apparently the more you let the soil dry out the hotter the chilli will be but I found if you leave them too long without water they started to droop and look a bit sorry for themeselves so we'll try growing some nice hot varieties next year. Apache is not supposed to be overly hot anyway. By the way love your blog, if you don't mind I've added it to my blog list.