Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The Veg Plot at Midsummer

21st June is officially Midsummer's Day, but it doesn't seem like Summer here! After an exceptionally dry Spring we have had a lot of rain during June. Although we humans see this as undesirable, the plants have been very relieved to get a good drink at last. Many of those in my garden have put on a real growth spurt. This post is really a sort of Situation Report...

The Oriental veg are doing well. We have been using these as salad ingredients. I deliberately sowed the seeds very thickly because of this. If I had wanted to grow them to full maturity I would have sowed them much further apart. The Bekana (on right in photo below, with yellowish-green leaves) is my favourite because it has a thick succulent rib as well as the leafy bit.

Mustard, Komatsuna and Bekana

Komatsuna "Torasan"

Bekana "Tokyo" - beginning to bolt now

Mustard "Osaka Purple"

The Daikon radish is "Daikoning" as Ali from Mud Pie would say... With the sudden abundance of water, the roots are swelling very rapidly. How will I know when to harvest them, folks? Is it simply when they look big enough to be useable? Do they go tough if you leave them to grow very big?

The cucumber plants are beginning to set fruit at last. The foliage of these plants is looking very ragged as a result of the strange weather conditions we have had - especially the wind. I think they would prefer to be in a greenhouse right now!

The Hamburg Parsley is doing OK, in an unobtrusive sort of way. The foliage looks very like flat-leaf parsley. I have tasted it and it is a bit like parsley, but maybe not so strong. I can't tell what the roots are like really, but I suspect they are still very tiny.

The "Little Gem" lettuces have been my best ever. They have hearted-up nicely and have been completely untroubled by slugs. In our supermarkets you see the hearts of Little Gem on sale, but never a whole lettuce of this type. I think this is a shame, because all but the very outer leaves are good to eat, and it seems such a waste to throw away so much of the lettuce.

The Celeriac is looking promising. I'm feeding it with general-purpose plant-food once a week and watering it every day. As the "bulb" grows it splits the lower leaves, which flop over. You should remove these and any sideshoots that appear.

The only place I could squeeze in a few Endives was at the base of the Broad Beans. This is not an ideal position, and I rather fear the Endives will bolt before they are fully mature. I find them to be very temperamental. If the soil is too dry they bolt, and if they don't get enough sun they go thin and leggy. They would prefer some really moisture-retentive soil in full sun.

Finally, there are lots of flowers on the tomatoes, but the only fruits that have formed are on the bush-type ones. The big ones, like this "Rainbow Beefsteak", have a long way to go yet.


  1. Apparently Daikon is mature when the roots are about 8 inches long. I think if you leave it too long it will become fibrous and tough. Great photos! Your garden is really moving along.

  2. Everything looks very healthy and hole free, great pics.

  3. I'm miserable. I'm jealous. How can they be so advanced and unscathed?

    In a competition for small plants and slug eaten leaves, I'd win. I'll console myself with the thought.



  4. Good photos. I'm jealous of your "Little Gem" lettuce. I tried to grow from seed both indoor and outdoor and the seed never germinated. A brand new seed pack too. Maybe i'll give it another go.

  5. Your mid-summer garden is beautiful Mark! I love reading about the different varieties of lettuces you grow. I grew Little Gem this year and ate the whole head! Yes, it's a shame to throw good lettuce leaves away. Harvesting the heads young helps. Beautiful picture of the tomato blossom!

  6. I'm one of the jealous ones. I have things dying right and left. I notice the thyme that was growing so well, died off almost completely after a these days of terrible heat and then showers in the evening :( and then of course there is the deer eating everything else. Couldn't grow any lettuce right now if we wanted to. It does make me want to though. Going to have to see about getting the greenhouse in shape to do some winter growing, maybe then I can have some lettuce again.

  7. Yep I'm miserable and jealous too. Not because you've got a great garden with healthy lovely stuff that hasn't been attacked by snails. But because you just celebrated midsummer. And we have just had winter solstice and I am already tired of winter and I want to be in your summer - even if you say it doesn't feel much like summer yet.

  8. Your blog got me thinking. I found some interesting information.
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  9. Everything looks super.

    You are growing such a great range of crops.

    Wishing you a super harvest,


  10. Oh yes, your daikon certainly is daikoning! Everything looks just great, I particularly like your lovely "little gem" lettuce, so fresh, I'll bet it just melts in the mouth.

  11. Don't worry much about the daikon gets woody. They don't turn woody easily like other radish. We harvested ours after 3 months growing they were still fine. No woody still so juicy... I wonder if your purple osaka is a giant one? Your komatsuna is roaring like a tiger. " Tora~tiger". So you have a Mr. Tiger Komatsuna there. Your greens are beautiful.

  12. Your photo's are great - it all looks good enough to eat! ;) Mo


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