Sunday, 18 August 2013

Anyone Know Any Fennel Recipes?

Our fennel has come up trumps this year 

Lots of it

Here it is with it's hair on.  There's another dozen to be cropped.

We grew two short rows of different varieties and they both  did well. Not only did they grow big, they haven't bolted yet !   But then it has been a good year for everything this year
Seacale Beet, Fennel, Beetroot, French Beans, Sweetcorn and Runner Beans 
French Bean "Sungold" has been particularly good. I had four extra plants when I planted out a row at the plot so I stuffed them into a pot at home and they just took.  Last year we got none!

I can't grow cauliflowers, but courtesy of the beneficial conditions I have a good looking specimen.  OK this is one out of a dozen, and the others were disappointing as normal., but hey, celebrations are in order.

(The bottle of wine is just to give a measure of size.. hic)

I would say that 2013 has been the best year for a decade.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

All Strung Up

I've been honing my plaiting and stringing techniques recently. Here's my celebratory picture.

2013 - Early Alliums
Top left is Elephant Garlic. Last year from one clove I got one bulb. From that bulb of six cloves I got 6 bulbs this year . This autumn I'll plant 10 to 12 cloves... Maybe we can eat the other three bulbs!  Is this a Fibonacci sequence I wonder?  Probably just a geometric progression(?).

The garlic has to be plaited, and my technique did improve from the small ones I started with to the Early Purple Wight  which were the largest (aside from the Elephant Garlic) Shallots and Onions need to be strung rather than just plaited. The results were really quite pleasing:

That's Shallot

Shenshyu Yellow - a keeper
Next to be stung will be the red onions which have been fantastic this year. We are rapidly running out of places to hang alliums. A nice problen to have!

Monday, 12 August 2013

Traffic Light Gardening



The red onions were from sets last autumn. I've now gathered all the autumn planted alliums and I'm in the process of plaiting/stringing them up after drying them off.  The tomatoes are Sungold and are naturally orange rather then red but still have a superb sweet yet sharp cherry tomato flavour.  Last year I grew four varieties of tomato in a "challenging" year. The sungold came out the best and this year I have room for six plants - all Sungold! The real surprise has been the cucumber which was leftover seed from a failed attempt to grow them last year.  Here's the set up, below, as you see completely outdoors. You could knock me down with a feather when I spotted the fruit. They get the green light!

Cucumbers Three

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Beans Means... Growing Your Own.

I promised a picture of the current cropper and here it is:

Last year I tried to grow these and they failed to prosper, due to the wet cold summer and the lack of adequate support.

The only beans to crop earlier were the Broad Beans.

Broad Beans

And here's Runner Bean Painted Lady.  A very old variety 1633? one source says.  They may have been the first to cross the Atlantic. As I tried about four varieties of climbing bean last year and the runners were the only ones to pod I just stuck to the one pole bean this year - and only one variety of that. There are tons of flowers and the bees are going mad for them so I'm hoping the recent wet weather won't have washed away too many before they set.

Painted Lady
Back to dwarf beans, aside from the Sungold I'm growing Canadian Wonder to dry.  They are in the foreground here, and looking very healthy. Hopefully this will translate into lots of beans!
Canadian Wonder

It's started... First Picking of Runner Beans

This post is one for the record, as our runner beans have come on stream

We could be in for a couple of months of them if the weather holds up!

On the same day (yesterday) I picked the last of the broad beans.  They weren't so productive, even erratic, this year.  The French Beans "Sungold', have been a joy for a couple of weeks already (will add picture after next picking). Last year they flopped miserably as did the Canadian Wonder.  This year I have provided support at about 8 inches and they have raced away to about 28 inches, so I'm swithering about adding more support.  (The Canadian Wonder I leave for drying beans.)

All in all it looks like a bumper year for beanage!

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Rain - Too Much of a Good Thing?

Right now the Seakale Beet (or Swiss Chard) is growing like Billy-O in response to all the rain we've been having:

It's a great vegetable that you can't buy in the supermarkets, and it wilts very quickly so the green grocers aren't to keen on it either.

After eating all we can I separate the stalks from the leaf of the remainder before refrigeration:

I can't get enough of this veg  (Perhaps this will be the year that I do!)