Saturday, 20 August 2011

What's in my garden right now?

It's late August. The Summer (such as it was) is nearly over. What is in my garden right now?

Well, the raspberries "Autumn Bliss" are beginning to produce a few fruit. Nothing to write home about yet, but hopefully there will be a fair few berries later on:

Salads are a constant feature of my garden throughout the growing season. Currently I have another batch of "Little Gem" lettuce nearing maturity:

I like variety in my salads, so I usually have lots of different types of lettuce and endive on the go:

The Radicchio "Firestorm" is nowhere near ready yet, but it's already beginning to look attractive. As the weather gets cooler, the plants will form tight hearts and gradually change colour from green to red. This is a wonderful crop to grow, its slightly bitter taste providing an elegant foil to the sweeter lettuce.

This variety is one I have not grown before, and it seems ideally suited to our UK weather conditions. The ones I have grown in the past have mostly come from Seeds of Italy, and none of them have done especially well. The "Firestorm" variety (from Duchy Seeds) is presumably bred especially for our UK conditions.

The miniature Herb gardens that I planted-up in early July have filled out a lot:

The deep purple colour of the Purple Basil is particularly attractive. This plant grows very slowly here, because it doesn't get as much warmth and sunlight as it would like (being a Mediterranean herb).

My Flower Sprout plants are looking quite strong now. There was a time when I thought they had fallen victim to the Cabbage Root Fly (their leaves went dull and lifeless for a while), but I think they are OK now. I just love the deep purple colour of the veins in their leaves - very photogenic!

You know the Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Cavolo Nero that was hit by the Cabbage Root Fly? Well, here is Plan B: as soon as I realised that the pest had struck, I sowed a new batch of seed. This is the state it has reached so far:

These seedlings are much smaller than I would like, for this stage of the proceedings, but at least I have an alternative if the original plants do completely die. As it stands, I think that at least half of them will be OK. The others could go either way...

Mainstays of my Late Summer harvest are the beans and tomatoes. Most of my climbing beans this year are ones for drying and shelling, and not so many for eating fresh - like the Runners. This is probably a good thing because some years we get inundated with Runners. The fresh bean harvest will rely heavily on Dwarf bean plants. The big tomato types grown as cordons are producing their first ripe fruit now, whilst most of the little ones are nearing the end of their lives.


We like to eat as much as possible of our veg fresh, and we are not much into freezing things or canning things, so it is nice for us to have a steady trickle of crops coming in rather than a big rush. This is one of the reasons why I tend to grow several varieties of each crop - e.g. 7 types of climbing bean; 7 types of potato; 6 types of chilli, etc. If you grow lots of the same variety they may all mature at the same time. Having lots of different varieties also shields you to some extent from crop failure: if one variety doesn't do very well, another may.

Yesterday's harvest - with a loaf of Jane's home-made bread in the background.


  1. Everything looks so nice. Your postings have inspired me and I went and planted a few rows of beans and peas in the garden for this fall. We'll see how they do, maybe I'll plant more if I get the chance.

  2. Wonderful pics as usual Mark - you are just so organised with your veg, taking care of every eventuality. Good on ya.

  3. Oh that harvest looks spectacular Mark, particularly those tomatoes - how red are they! How are your green zebras going?

    I have just discovered "Little Gem" lettuce, and I am so happy with it, it germinates and grows so much more quickly than other varieties of lettuce I have had experience with.

  4. Your photography just gets better and better (and I envy the lettuce -- still way too hot here for leafy greens other than amaranth). Our garden is looking very rough... it's getting neglected for the wedding plans, too!

  5. Lovely crop of veg there Mark, we're overrun at the moment as I've just done our summer show, big roast dinner later I think!

  6. There you are teasing me with the purple basil.

    The last photo reminds me of a still life painting such as we had to paint at school!

  7. Fantastic, beautiful, delicious!

  8. I like your mix herb pot. Nice harvest. I agree planting many variety of veggies helps cover the fail crops. I found gardening is different every year. You might not know which veggies work well this year and which is not.

  9. A beautiful Harvest. The raspberry picture is spectacular!

  10. Everything looks delicious! You are wise to plant smaller numbers of different varieties I always end up with too many tomatoes, beans (actually especially the dwarf ones) zucchini etc. I must try your method. Christina

  11. So very jealous of that crop.
    My tomatoes are only just starting to produce fruit, and I have finally got some runner beans growing but I definatly dont have the space to grow 7 types of each plant :p Im struggling with two plants of beans, tomatoes and courgettes.
    Oh well all of it is gorgeous to eat.

  12. For a day's harvest, that is pretty good. It is even enough for a big family to consume in a day. Congratulations for a job well done on your garden.

  13. Congratulations on your wonderful garden! Everything looks really great and that harvest is really impressive!


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