The balance of labour versus results has definitely been in my favour recently, at the Courtmoor plot. In the early part of the year I did a lot of work there, preparing the ground, sowing, and planting. Then from mid June until mid August it was watering, watering and more watering. Luckily though, for the past few weeks the most frequent task has been harvesting. This is what makes veg-gardening worth the effort!
The photo above shows my harvests from Thursday. A bunch of Beetroot "Boltardy", some tomatoes, a few Runner beans, a lot of French beans - and lo and behold, a red cabbage!
This red cabbage is one of those that was ravaged and nearly killed by pigeons, back in the Spring. The worst-hit ones were a write-off, but I hung on to any that looked as if they might recover, and this is the first one to be harvested. It's not big (630g), but still definitely worth having! Here it is seen next to a regular-sized lemon, to give a better impression of the size.
Jane is very partial to pickled red cabbage,(must be something to do with her Lancashire heritage...) and that little cabbage was enough to make three small jars of it.
I also want to show you a closeup of the beetroot. I had thought that once we got a bit of rain the beetroot would grow a bit bigger, but they don't seem to be doing so. These ones are about the size of a hen's egg.
My hosts - the property-owners - are very partial to beetroot, so this batch went their way.
They also like the New Zealand Spinach I grew for them. I know that they had two years of crop failure with this vegetable before I arrived on the scene, so they are particularly glad that it has done well this time.
If you like green leafy vegetables, this one has a lot to recommend it, and I can vouch for the fact that it is drought-tolerant! I suppose when you know of its origins (from the coastal dunes of Australia) it's not really surprising that it copes well enough with a hot Summer in the UK.
The tomatoes have done quite well too, considering that they have enjoyed very little TLC, and were in any case only some spares left over from my own garden.
The best of the bunch has been "Mountain Magic", a variety which is supposedly very blight-resistant. It hasn't been put to the test in that respect (fortunately) and it has churned out a big crop of very even-sized fruit. There are lots more to come, too.
Apart from harvesting, every time I go to the plot these days I do a little bit of weeding. Since I removed most of the perennial weeds on the plot last Winter, the ones coming up at present are annual ones. Now that we have had some rain, the weed seeds are germinating in huge profusion, and if left would soon swamp the whole plot. Fortunately, I find that 10 or 15 minutes' work with a sharp hoe every few days is sufficient to keep them in check. I'll be the first to admit that the Courtmoor plot is nowhere near as meticulously maintained as my own garden, but it was never my intention that it should be so. Hopefully it will be easier next year, since I have eliminated so many weeds this year that surely fewer of them have made it to the flowering and seed-setting stage!