Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Starting to harvest

This past week I feel I have crossed a boundary. The time of sowing and planting is drawing to a close (I've been squeezing in as many as possible of my spare plants, and giving some away too), and subtly the season of harvesting approaches. We have been eating quite a lot of radishes just recently, though I'll admit that many of them have not been as good as I would have liked. Our weather has been dry and latterly quite hot, so many of the radishes have bolted - they much prefer cool, damp conditions. As usual "French Breakfast" has been the most reliable.

Radish "French Breakfast"

I've also started harvesting lettuces. The first of these were ones grown from young plants given to me by a friend. She had sowed them last Autumn and kept them under cover throughout the Winter.

This one's from the same batch. It's a Butterhead variety, that much I can tell you, but which one, I know not.

My 3 Asparagus plants have done reasonably well - all things considered. I think that between them they have produced less than 20 spears, and of course they have all matured at different times! This is not a worthwhile quantity really. What I do is put however many home-grown ones I can muster in with a bunch of bought Asparagus. The pic below shows a lunchtime meal we had one day: toast, mozzarella, tomato, asparagus and Bavarian smoked ham, topped with a drizzle of homemade Sweet Chilli sauce.

I used to think that Asparagus had a good VSR (Value for Space Rating), but these days shop-bought Asparagus is available all year, and it's pretty cheap too. I'm considering getting rid of my Asparagus plants altogether and replacing them with another potted fruit tree.

My Broad Beans are still looking in good condition, with very little Blackfly infestation. 

They have had loads of flowers, and the pods are just beginning to set, so it won't be very long now before some are ready for harvest.

There is a lot of fruit forming on the Blueberry bushes too, which is a relief after an almost complete washout last year.

I plan to lift the first of my potatoes very soon. Some of the First Earlies should be worth having by now. Some of the plants have "flopped" - in other words, their foliage has fallen over, which is one of the signs of approaching maturity.

I know that leaving them a bit longer - maybe until the foliage had gone brown - would increase the weight of yield, but for me that's not the point. I want to have them at the peak of succulent deliciousness, and that means harvesting early!

My garlic is also going to be harvested soon. It's lower leaves are progressively turning dry and brown, though there is no sign of any scapes forming. I reckon I'll probably leave it another week, or perhaps two at most.

I'm really looking forward to harvesting this, because I have no idea whether I'm going to get anything worthwhile. The bulbs may just be tiny, like they were the one time I previously grew garlic, or there may be no bulbs at all! I'll probably pull up just one plant at first, and then decide what to do based on what it looks like.

Finally for today I want to give a mention to something that I could be harvesting if I wanted to, but am not. It's the herb / vegetable Good King Henry.

A few years ago I grew this plant for eating, but when we tried it, it just tasted of grass (or less), so since then I haven't bothered. However, the plant is a very successful self-seeder and persists in my garden without being nurtured. Isn't it funny how all the plants you love take a lot of care and attention but still often fail, whereas the ones about which you aren't really bothered keep coming back uninvited year after year?

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