It’s time to start thinking about what did well in the veg garden this year and what didn’t… It’s not been a bad year, considering that we didn’t have much time to devote to actually growing things. The biggest failure was our Cherokee Trail of Tears pole beans – they did really well for us in 2010, but this year all the plants died after reaching around 6 feet – I think it was a wilt, judging by the way they went. Fortunately, we’ve done well out of the plants I put into my mother-in-law’s garden. The Borlotti beans (Barlotta Lingua di Fuoco), on the other hand, have done fine. Isn’t the colour gorgeous?
The cucumbers (Wautoma) have been good – but I put them in far too late, and they haven’t had time to do much. In the time they’ve had they’ve been prolific, so I will definitely plant this variety again this year, and I will get them started and into the ground a lot quicker.
We’ve made the lovely sweet cucumber pickle recipe from the River Cottage Preserving book with all the cucumbers we’ve had so far – it’s basically cucumbers and onions marinated in a vinegar syrup, and it’s very good, especially with smoked fish (my favourite).
Our courgettes (Verde di Milano dark green dwarf bush) have been ok, but not brilliant – I wondered if they suffered a bit from the dry/wet/dry/wet weather we’ve had over the autumn. The beetroot was successful, but annoyingly, I have no idea what variety I grew because I’ve lost the packet.. The greens have been very good too, which is fantastic because Sandy and I eat masses. I’ve enjoyed the Turnip Greens (Rapa Senza Testa), although they’ve got a bit holey now – and are slightly suffering with mildew. The Sutherland kale and our sorrel patch are both looking good and I have high hopes of them coming through the winter.
The really big success has been the tomatoes – I’ve completely lost track of the amount we’ve picked now, but I know I haven’t bought any tinned tomatoes, passata or fresh tomatoes since mid-July. Here’s our Gardener’s Delight crop today, after I finished stripping off the foliage so that the fruit will get the maximum sun (I hope) to ripen over the next few weeks.
Our Amish Paste, after a slow start, have done very well. I am always amazed at how luxuriant they are – they keep on throwing out new shoots as fast as you can chop them off. Look at this giant specimen:
To give you an idea of the size of the enormous tomato on the left, the ones on the right are the size of a standard supermarket vine tomato… I have been fretting about it dropping off before it ripened, but it’s going to make it I think..! Looking forward to weighing it.. I’ll be entering competitions next..
Hope you are enjoying your weekend – I’m looking forward to our first pints from Sandy’s latest homebrew this evening. After all the gardening today, I feel like I’ve earned it!