Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Bags more veg!

I harvested another batch of Broad Beans today.

The ones in the first batch I picked about 10 days ago were very delicious, but too small. This second batch, having had those extra days to mature, was better. I picked 675g of pods, which was more than the two of us needed for a meal, so half of them went into the fridge for another day. The other half, when shelled, produced  140g of beans.

These beans were served boiled, garnished with a little chopped Savory, as an accompaniment to a chicken casserole made with carrots, leeks and mushrooms. We like our veg, so I also served new potatoes and another of those "Duncan" Sweetheart cabbages. [No problems round here with getting our 5 portions of veg a day...] We never remove the skins of the beans. I actually like them, and taking them off is not only a fiddle, it wastes a lot of the beneficial fibre content. However, if the beans are allowed to get REALLY mature their skins can become pretty tough, so I harvest them young.

I have also continued to harvest my new potatoes.

Some people consider potatoes to be ready when the flowers appear, but I always leave mine for a couple of weeks longer, until the foliage begins to wither and go yellow. This definitely increases the overall yield in terms of weight - though of course the individual potato tubers will be bigger, and this may not be what you want.

This is how I harvest mine: I spread out an old Army groundsheet, cut the foliage off the plant and just up-end the pot onto the groundsheet. I can then easily pick out the tubers, and the compost is retained on the groundsheet and ends up back in one of my compost-bins.

The potatoes in that seed-tray were the product of 3 of my 25 pots, and they jointly weighed 1.8 kg. Not a bad return in my opinion, when you consider that each pot originally only contained one seed-tuber. And of course the quality is better than anything you can buy in a shop!

The beetroot are developing quite slowly this year. I haven't harvested any of the golden ones ("Burpees Golden") yet, and until today only three of the red ones. Today I harvested another three, which I considered to be at just the perfect size - I would say mid-way between golf-ball and tennis-ball size. These ones are of the old reliable "Boltardy" variety.

They are in a pan boiling as I write. Can you imagine the smell? If you enjoy beetroot you will probably know what I mean!

I harvested the first of my cucumbers too. Hardly a prize specimen (only about 15cm long), but you know how it is with the first of everything - it just seems that much more special. The cucumber plants have not done very well so far. I am hoping that cutting the first fruits may administer a bit of a wake-up call and initiate a growth spurt.

Finally, a shot of what I have harvested in the last 24 hours - peas, broad beans, broccoli, beetroot and cucumber. That's our 5-a-Day sorted then.


  1. I agree with the potatoes. Some of ours have been flowering for over a week now, but I will let the leaves turn yellowish and look a bit more droopy before pulling them out. Ours are grown in bags, we put a few empty compost bags spread across the decking and then just tip them up too.

    They do look delicious!

    Martin :)

  2. Lovely harvest pictures there. Nice that you get your 5 veg portions, fresh from the garden.

  3. Great work Mark. Last year I did a double peel of the broad beans. It was quite pleasant sitting in the sun doing it with the kids but phew it did take a long while. This year I might take your advice.

  4. Just by looking at your photo's Mark, makes me feel healthier never mind eating the produce.
    I can't wait to get started on my little plot but with just moving house, unfortunately I'm having to spread myself thinly until all the crop of packing boxes have been harvested!
    It's mid winter here in Melbourne, so I'll hopefully have a little time to get organised before the sap starts to rise.

  5. I harvest my potatoes in exactly the same way as you, it's so exciting finding all the spuds amongst the compost. My beetroot aren't ready yet, I usually roast mine in some foil in the oven. Your's look just the right size for harvesting.

  6. I start harvesting my potatoes when they are flowering as I quite like them small, but also it's while before we get through a couple of rows of them anyway!

  7. I don't like broad bean, although my papa like to eat them when I was a child. I might change my mind if I taste home-grown one. Lovely fresh potatoes. Cooking with your home-grown vegetables is more fun isn't it.

  8. Nice harvest Marc. Few days ago I start to eat my potatoes and it was fantastic. Have a nice time in your garden.

  9. Great looking harvest. I've loved our broad beans this year, its one of those things I would definitely grow more of if we had more space. One day... And beetroot is my new love!

  10. I too harvest the potatoes as soon as they start to wilt. Nice crop you have.


Thank you for taking time to leave me a comment! Please note that Comment Moderation is enabled for older posts.