Sunday, 28 May 2017

Late May update

Apart from occasional successional sowings of salads, my sowing and planting for this year is mostly done. It's now time to sit back and watch things grow. This post is mainly a "Situation Report" one...

The Broad Beans are doing well, and although they are beginning to set pods now, this will be my next harvest.

Broad Bean "Top"

For once the tips of the BB plants are not infested with blackflies (aphids), so this year I am going to try eating some of them. Discussing this with friends on Twitter, most people say they are good - particularly if briefly wilted in some butter (and garlic?). Apparently they are like over-sized peashoots.

As I half expected, the row of Broad Beans which I sowed a month after the first one has very nearly caught up. The oldest row is on the right in this photo:

The senior row is bushier, a fact which may be due to the difference in cultivars, but I suspect it has more to do with the light levels. Most of the light reaches this bed from the right-hand side.

Both rows have had plenty of flowers, and the bees have been active, so I'm hoping for good pod-set.

The Runner Beans are of course still pretty small, but they are just beginning to reach out towards their support poles:

The foliage of one of my potato plants (Belle de Fontenay) is beginning to turn yellow. This is a sign of approaching maturity, and I am expecting to be able to harvest my first spuds of the year in about 3 or 4 weeks time.

Potato "Belle de Fontenay"

This is the Onions bed:

No sign of bulbing-up yet, but that doesn't surprise me. I have read that until the longest day onions put their main efforts into producing green leaves, and then after that bulbs begin to swell. I hope so...

This next shot shows my carrots and parsnips. It's taken through their protective Enviromesh - which I'm not taking off just for a photo! Again, they are a long way from ready, but looking good.

My two apple trees have set fruit. The older one ("Winter Banana") doesn't have many fruits, but I think that may be the result of over-enthusiastic pruning on my behalf. I wanted to get the tree into a good shape first, and this has now been achieved. The bumper crop can come next year!

"Winter Banana"

The other tree, a "Laxton's Superb", is smaller and a year younger, but is covered with little applets:

"Laxton's Superb"

I suspect that many of the applets will be naturally shed soon in the "June Drop".

As well as the apples I have a few pears:

The amount of fruit I get from that ("Concorde") pear-tree is very small, and I keep threatening to buy another tree to partner it. Maybe this will be the year I do it.

Also on the Fruit front, my Honeyberries are ripening. Even if I were to pick all the berries at once, it would still be a "light crop", but it's interesting to have them anyway.


Last year I tasted Honeyberries for the first time, and I wasn't impressed. Maybe I picked them under-ripe (though they looked and felt ripe), but they weren't very sweet. In fact I thought they tasted almost savoury. Anyone else tried them?

The Salad department is doing well. Though my radishes haven't been as good as usual this year the Baby Leaf lettuce has been superb:

Baby Leaf salad

These are peas being grown for their shoots. They have been cropped once already and are now just about ready for another picking.

Well, that's my tour of the fruit and veg for you. I'll leave you with a couple of pics of some Aquilegias...


  1. Your broad beans are doing great. I love seeing the bee nestled amongst the blooms. And it looks like you got a good stand of carrots and parsnips. It'll probably be July or August before we can plant carrots, they'll need a spot that gets enough sun to mature in the fall.

  2. Hi Mark,
    Lovely to keep up with your veg garden!
    I just love broad bean tops and one of my favourite ways to cook them is to use them is to make a wonderfully delicious cannelloni. Use just like you would spinach but the bean tops give a slightly sweeter flavour. I stuff the cannelloni tubes (or use the shorter large Paccheri tubes) with the chopped leaves together with seasoned ricotta then add the usual tomato sauce made from frozen home grown chargrilled tomatoes from last year together with chopped herbs, chives and any remaining wild garlic from the garden. Top with a good cheese sauce- Lincolnshire Poacher being a favourite to use-perfumed with bay leaves from the garden. I save the flowers from the tops and sprinkle on top before serving-yum!
    Best wishes,

    1. Sounds fabulous! We tried some BB tops yesterday, just wilted into some garlic-infused butter. They tasted very nice, but we found the stems a bit stringy. Next time I'll pick them closer to the tips.

  3. How many honeyberries have you? Are they different varieties? Ours are good bushy plants and had lots of flowers but little by way of fruit.

    1. Sue, I only have one. My daughter bought it for me as a Father's Day present 2 years ago.


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