Its the eleventh of October already.The crops that I have grown are almost ready to harvest.The old men have started to clear their plots and the air can be quite smoky at the allotment from bin fires.I am resisting still and compost all my green waste.I have started to clear the beds that have gone over.The peas,the onions,the garlic,and the sweetcorn.The Courgettes have died back and are covered with a white sooty mould.It has rained quite a lot over the past few days so I hope my five Pumpkins are increasing in size.I want to use one as a Jack O Lantern,and the rest will be turned into soup.As the harvest kicks in I find you need inspiration to deal with the glut of Vegetables.I will try to cook my Runner Beans into a Lebanese Tomato and Garlic dish.What do you do with eight Cabbages that are all ready to pick?I guess I could blanch them and freeze them.The freezer already has Tomato Soup,and Carrot Soup frozen in small portions.These can be used on cold wintry days after a long walk,with a crusty bread roll.The summer harvest can be carried over through the dark days of winter.
Its not all gone smoothly this year.White Rot has decimated my Onions and Garlic.The Sweetcorn keeled over as soon as it was planted out.The Cauliflower plants died after strong winds and slug damage.The Broccoli has not grown any florets yet!
Despite all this we have had sixty pounds of Potatoes from the Plot,Carrots,a few peas,Rhubarb,Runner Beans,and a beautiful Cabbage.
Still growing in the ground is winter Vegetables.Parsnips,Swedes,Carrots,and Brussels Sprouts.I am planning next years crops already.
The garden has grown Strawberry's in the sleeper bed.Potatoes in grow bags which were not as productive due to the dry early summer.Tomatoes and Chilli's have been a great success.I will definitely grow these again.I will look for new Varieties to try and grow.The Red Cherry's were lovely,juicy,and strong tasting.The Outdoor girl were big but not as tasty.There are hundreds of varieties of Toms to try,and more Chilli's.
As the growing season ends it is a good time to reflect on what has gone right,what was a disaster,and what could be done next year.
I will try to grow Sweetcorn in large grow bags in the garden so they can be tended and watered all year around.Working full time and not being able to go every day made the crop fail.They need the tender loving care for them to reach their potential.
I think the sleeper bed in the garden needs more Strawberry plants.Last year i increased my stock by pinning down the runners from the parent plants.Strawberry plants can be propagated easily every year.The thrill of picking bowls of fresh Strawberries was amazing.
All this harvested crops need storing,freezing,or used in cooking.The whole point of growing Vegetables is to eat them freshly cooked.I enjoy finding new recipes to cook and taste.Growing and cooking are two of my passions.