Sunday, 14 August 2011

Gardener and garden reunited

We got home yesterday after a week away. We had a great holiday and visited some superb gardens, but it is always nice to get home and see how MY garden is doing... I knew it would be OK because I had engaged the services of three trusted helpers to look after it while we were away, so Thank You Rosemary, Carol and Paul.

The climbing beans are swelling up nicely. Most of the Borlotti "Firetongue" are speckled with red streaks now.

I don't know what these impressive purple ones are. They are either "Cherokee Trail of Tears", or "Mayflower". The catalogues always tell you about the bean itself, and seldom the pods. Maybe some of you have grown these varieties before and can help me identify them?

There are plenty of pods on the "Coco Blanc a Rames" too. We tried a few of them as fresh pods, but they were unremarkable compared with the Runners, so I am leaving the rest to mature for use as shelling beans.

I have also picked the first few of the "Amethyst" dwarf French Beans. They are a deep aubergine-ey purple colour when raw, but I know that they will turn green when cooked, which is a shame really. If they stayed purple they would be even more attractrive.

The chillis have also made a fair bit of progress during the last week. The first of the "Fuego F1" fruits is completely red now. I hope it has a good level of heat and flavour and is not just a good-looker.

Jane recently won a nice prize in a competition hosted by Bart Spices. It is their complete collection of Thai herbs and spices, and it is being delivered tomorrow, so I reckon my "prize" chilli will soon be put to good use.

Even "Pinocchio's nose is slowly elongating, though some of its fruits seem to have grown ears and are now  perhaps more reminiscent of Mickey Mouse...

Of course I also have plenty of tomatoes now. I picked 1.3kg of the little red and yellow ones, along with the first few ripe ones of "Tropical Ruby", a miniature plum tomato (What my friends in the USA would call a "Roma", I think). After the stern warning I issued it last week before going away, the "Green Zebra" has finally condescended to set a few more fruit.

That's more like it! I've never grown green tomatoes before, so how will I know when they are ripe??

I dug up the Tenderstem broccoli today (after harvesting about 20 more spears from it). It's had a good run for its money, and given us lots of succulent shoots, but I need the space for my Autumn peas now. I have erected this pea-support contraption. It's a circle of plastic clematis netting, held in place by aluminium poles from my "Build-a-Ball" kit, and augmented by some sticks pruned earlier in the year from one of my Philadelphus trees. Not pretty, but hopefully fit-for-purpose!

As you can see, I have put most of the pea plants (there are 24) around the periphery of the netting, and four in the middle, and I have also filled in the empty spaces in the raised bed with a few more lettuces. My policy is to make maximum use of space, you know! The peas are "Kelvedon Wonder", a fairly short variety, supposedly 50 - 60cm.

I harvested the first of my "Pink Fir Apple" potatoes today as well. This is the yield from one seed tuber in one pot: - 560 grams.

It's not a huge harvest, but the tubers look pretty good - fairly smooth as PFA goes; they are often much knobblier than this. They are also nice and pink aren't they?

This is one of my favourite potato varieties, because it has excellent flavour and a waxy texture which means that it doesn't disintegrate when you cook it. It is an Early Main Crop variety, so it takes a fair while to mature (nominally 15 weeks, but often longer I find), but it's worth the wait. You don't actually have to do much to a potato plant - just water it now and then - so I recommend this as a good crop for the beginner gardener with limited space available.

I hope that my readers will understand that over the next few days several of my blog-posts are going to be about things we did and saw on our holiday, but I will of course be keeping you updated with the progress of my own garden too...


  1. I think green tomatoes do change colour but go a sort of opaque less shiny green. Great harvest to come back to!

  2. That is a nice potato harvest from one tuber!

  3. The last been with the deep purple colors look fantastic. I eat the same potatoes like you, and they are also my favourite. Well done, you did a great job in your garden.

  4. Love looking at your garden. I actually got out and started clearing my garden again and am thinking what to plant for fall. You are inspiring me to do more with my garden.

  5. I grew the purple ones, purple emperor! Huge but I found them quite tough. What are yours like?

  6. Mrs Bok: the "Amethyst" purple beans were great. Nice and tender; a classic French bean. The other purple-podded ones are being left for shelling beans. I don't think the pods would be nice to eat.

  7. Your veg looks very artistic. Great colour in the beans and chilies. Even your pea canes have a creative flair.

    Enjoyed the photos of Herefordshire, interesting buildings and gardens. Looks a great trip!

  8. I love the look of the Pink Fir Apples - I planted some yesterday and now am impatiently awaiting their germination....

  9. Green Zebras are ripe when the lighter green stripes turn yellow(ish).


  10. I found a really nice picture of the ripening process on this blog (and I also like them better short of "full ripe").

  11. HelenB; thanks for the link to Kalyn's Kitchen - most useful! I'm looking forward to trying Green Zebra for the first time. Everyone who has grown them raves about them!


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