Saturday 1 September 2012

Status report - 1st September

A garden is forever changing. Old veggies go, and new ones replace them.

It seems like only the other day that I lifted my Shallots and replaced them with this Cavolo Nero, which has grown rapidly in the last couple of weeks. I'm not going to harvest any yet. I want to leave it for the Autumn, when all the Summer crops have finished. Cavolo Nero, like most types of kale, is very hardy and will withstand some extremely cold temperatures. After planting-out there is very little you need to do to kale, except weed around it occasionally.

Cavolo Nero "Black Tuscany"
The Runner Beans are still going strong. I expect them to keep delivering pods until mid-October unless we get frosts before then.

Runner Bean - "Scarlet Empire"
The Cherokee Trail of Tears beans have done much better than last year, and the plants are really laden with pods now. I'll pick these only when the pods have gone shrivelled and brown because I want to dry the beans for Winter use. As you can see, the pods are still very green. More sunshine please!

Climbing Bean - "Cherokee Trail of Tears"
I can't tell what the Parsnips are like at present. You have to pull one up to see, but I don't think I'm going to do that just now, because I know they will get bigger, even if they are already useable. For me, this is another Winter vegetable. They somehow don't seem the same when the weather is warm. They go best alongside a roasted joint of meat, or in a warming stew or casserole.

Parsnip "Gladiator" (Right) and Beetroot "Boltardy" (Left)
I have one little container of "Golden Ball" turnips, which have a long way to go yet to reach maturity. Unfortunately the foxes had a good snuffle around in this box when the turnips were very tiny, so they have had a rough introduction to the world.

Turnip "Golden Ball" [Yes, they do need thinning out...]
 I also have a container with some Spring Onions in it. They are looking healthy enough, but it's early days still for them.

Spring Onion "White Lisbon Winter Hardy"
I'm hedging my bets with Endives: I have planted out a few in a couple of odd corners of the raised beds, but I also have some in the two wooden Majestic Wine boxes. They're looking good, aren't they?

Curly Endives - mixed varieties
The "Maskotka" tomatoes are nearly done - I think. The plants look totally bedraggled, but the fruits still keep on coming. This variety wouldn't win any prizes for neatness of the plants, but the fruits are something else! They keep on ripening even when there is practically no foliage left (I removed much of it in my fight against Blight, and the rest has just withered away naturally).

Tomato "Maskotka"
The late-planted "Ratte" potatoes are in a dubious state. I have four pots of them, and three look like this:

Potato "Ratte"
But the fourth looks like this:

Potato "Ratte"
There's no mistaking the ravages of Blight, is there? If one pot has succumbed, then I suspect the others will go the same way soon. This is why I tend to grow potatoes very early in the year, and I don't normally plant any Maincrop varieties.

So that's the state of play at present. There is still a lot to harvest before this year is done, but there's a limit to how many pictures of Runner Beans, Beetroot and Tomatoes I feel able to publish!


  1. Like you we don't grow maincrop for the same reason. It's always intriguing to know whether the parsnips are growing as well beneath ground as above it isn't it?

  2. I know what you mean. After a while no one wants to see pictures of my peppers and beans. Just nothing else for me to harvest lately, though I could be cutting that basil if I felt well enough to put the effort into make pesto.

  3. Everything looks wonderful. Your beans look absolutely fabulous! Everything is just so green.

  4. Hi, just found your lovely blog when I was trying to find out whether cavolo nero is finished when it starts to flower. Do you take yours out after a year? I'm in Australia and it's the first day of Spring and my big tall plants are flowering up and down the stems. Do you know if the flowers are edible before they open? They look a bit like broccolini, but I guess looks can be deceiving.

    Love your blog. I'll add it to my Google Reader and watch how your garden grows and hope to translate it into action six months later.

    1. Hi Parlance; It's nice to make your acquaintance! Yes, I do lift the Cavolo Nero when it's finished. I usually use it all up before it flowers, but it is actually very good-looking if you let it flower. The flowers are certainly edible. You can use the tiny flower-stalks in much the same way as Sprouting Broccoli.

    2. Oh, thanks! I'll cook up some flowers asap. (I did in the meantime have the bright idea of phoning my favorite nursery and checking that cavolo nero is an annual. How could I not have realised that? I guess I was tricked by its solidity and size. Mine is nearly two metres tall.) I'll enjoy the beauty of the plants and let some of the seeds self-seed - one of my favorite things.

  5. Still need to get some more coprs in the ground but with only 45 days or so, not sure how much success we'll have certainly spinach and kale can go in. The season goes quickly doesn't it?

  6. OOh I am so envious of your happy growing veg and am welcoming the seasonal change.


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