Monday, 23 September 2013

Harvest 2013

Compared to last year I've had a bumper harvest. Not the best ever but good quality and quantity of most of the crops. All are grown outside, tomatoes and peppers against the back wall of the house for warmth and shelter, the rest in the vegetable beds at the other end of the garden.

Tomatoes: This year I grew a selection of varieties which I bought from one of our local garden centres. All varieties did well, my favourite was a medium sized striped plum type which had a wonderfully rich sweet and sour flavour. The red and yellow cherry varieties have both cropped well and with good flavour. There is also a self seeded round variety that hasn't ripened yet - with nights drawing in I can see a green tomato recipe in my future.

Bell Peppers: These have produced a handful of fruit each and are currently green. Have a feeling they may remain so as the days get shorter and cooler.

Chillies: Very little fruit if any. May have to try again next time in the greenhouse or indoors.

Apples: Both trees did well this year. The Egremont Russet did suffer some damage from birds and bugs but the flavour from those that survived was very good. The other tree, which we think is a Cox, produced a very heavy crop of crisp, juicy and flavoursome fruit.

Victoria Plum: The tree is far too large for the garden and produces an enormous amount of fruit. Too much for us to eat but this year I've stewed them with vanilla sugar and frozen them for the winter as well as scoffing them straight from the tree, wonderful flavour.

Courgettes: Yellow and green round ones this year - they cropped well (three plants have kept us in courgettes for the whole season) but had a tendency to get too large very quickly. Good flavour and texture though.

Runner Beans: Good crop this year, enough to freeze, with good flavour. No idea what the variety is as I have been saving and planting my own seed for so long I've forgotten where the seeds came from!

Leaks: Early days as I won't harvest these for some time but they are looking good.

Jerusalem Artichokes: Good grief these will take over the world (if they aren't strangled by bindweed first) if I'm not careful. Just about to flower and not yet ready for harvesting. Should keep me going (and f***ing) well into the new year. Must be disciplined enough to harvest them all or they will keep spreading!

Blackberries: These are just wild brambles and we have to hack them back to get into the shed. High humidity at the wrong time meant that the 'crop' spoiled quickly and so very little ended up in the freezer.

Rhubarb: Excellent crop again, plenty in the freezer for stewing in the winter.

I'll probably grow the same next year, I need new planters for the tomatoes and I must push back the approaching artichoke apocalypse or I may never see the far end of the garden again. The shed needs painting with a preservative and new felt on the roof. Shrubs in the front half of the garden need cutting back as  does the eucalyptus tree. 

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