Wednesday 29 August 2012

Good news and bad

On Thursday, having been unable to harvest anything for the preceding four days (I was working in London again) I was able to bring in a lot of lovely things, so this is the Good News:

This haul included Runner Beans, French Beans, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Chillis, Sweet Corn and an Aubergine.

In amongst this lot there were some nice things, clearly, but also some things that were, shall we say, "sub-optimal". Whilst most of the Runner Beans were worthy specimens, I want also to show you these:

No matter how hard you try, you will inevitably end up with a few beans that don't develop properly. They produce one, or possibly two, beans at the end of a scrawny pod that has scarcely any flesh at all. Unattractive as they may seem, you really do need to pick these pods, because if you don't the plants will concentrate on bringing those seeds to maturity and will not produce any more pods for you to eat.

I have already admitted that many of my tomato plants have been struck with blight. For this reason I have picked many of their fruits well before they are really ripe - like these "Incas" plum-style tomatoes:

I have them ripening on the Dining-Room table now, surrounded by other, riper, specimens in the hope that they will take the hint and adopt a nice red hue. Thanks for all your suggestions for cooking with green tomatoes by the way - much appreciated. I especially like the sound of the Southern Fried ones!

Here we have "Incas" at left, "San Marzano" in the middle, and "Speckled Roman" at the right. These are all Plum types, but aren't they very different? The 'navel' of the Speckled Roman is particularly distinctive.

In my first photo you saw a pile of Sweet Corn cobs (carefully arranged so that the half-decent ones were on top!). Unfortunately the corn has been a complete flop. I was so disgusted with it that I didn't even take any photos - and that says a lot about the situation. Shall we just say that from 11 cobs we got enough kernels to make a two-person serving? Yes, eleven cobs! The 12th one was so pathetic that I composted it last week when I was checking so see if any of them were ready to eat. The problem was that at the time when the silks were ready for pollination the weather was totally atrocious, and pollination just didn't happen. I may try again next year, but then again maybe I won't...

I have always striven to be honest about my gardening successes and failures, and this post seems to have been strongly biased towards the latter, so to offset the balance I'll finish with this:

Aubergine "Pingtung Long"

Oh, and this:

Runner Beans "Scarlet Empire"

Yep, there's more to come.


  1. Both corn and melons can be iffy crops for me here. If the weather cooperates we get nice ones. If not it can be pretty pitiful. This year has been hot and dry so it was easy for them to grow. I still remember one year when I grew corn and the earwigs clipped off all the silks so nothing could pollinate. I was so sad.

  2. Looks like a really nice harvest to me. I always have some of those short beans too. I haven't tried corn in several years. I don't think my yard gets enough sun for it now.

  3. You win some you lose some. Unfortunately, my bad outweigh the good this year. I would definitely try sweet corn again next year, home grown really is so much better than shop bought. I don't think mine are going to come to anything again this year but I'll give it a go again next year.

  4. I suppose failures always figure highly in our minds don't they. Of our three varieties of runners the Painted Lady seem most prone to poorly formed bean pods.

  5. Thank you for being honest. Most only blog about their successes. When we farmed we planted ½ hectare to sweetcorn and only harvested enough for 1 meal, now that is disheartening!

  6. A pretty good harvest Mark considering all the pitfalls this year. We can only hope that next year will be better.

  7. A mixed bag, but given such a bad summer you have still done well and should be proud of the amount you've harvested. Not sure we'll get any cobs from our sweetcorn at all, though some of the squashes are coming on well. Winners and losers, eh...


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