Summer Crops

Argh no time no time, things need to go in, weeds need to come out… but at least some of the early summer crops are coming along well & now ready to harvest! Broad beans, climbing French beans and outdoor chard are joining the herbs such as dill (pictured), parsley, basil and savoury; salad bags and beetroot bunches from the tunnels; and courgettes should be ready next week after this lovely rain, hurrah!


Full of Beans

IMG-20130726-00509Pretty pretty beans. Trouble is, I keep stopping while picking them and admiring their beauty (slow work). I think I like the long climbing French beans best (much easier to pick and straighter), still growing in the polytunnel; although now the dwarf versions out in the field are ready too, and I’m picking them for the shop, café and pub.

IMG-20130809-00513I’m pretty sure it’s pointillism that uses opposite colours to highlight painting and complement colours, making them seem even brighter: and since purple and yellow are opposites on the colour wheel, you can really see the effect in these beans. Gurt lush.

The last of the broadies have pretty much been (bean?) picked now; and the trial soya beans are starting to produce little hairy pods, so I’m looking forward to seeing how they work out. Meanwhile, I’ll continue trying to work out what other purple veggies I can grow…


Sneaky Sneaky

IMG-20130520-00400Eeeeeeep; I’m feeling like gambling, so have put my courgettes in today (just the one row though after the poor crops I’ve had from them over the last two years). I’ve got a mixture of Parthenon F1, Cocozelle F1 (stripey!) and Nero di Milano; and I have to say that the ground looks a lot better than the last few times I’ve planted them out. I managed to get another cheeky cultivation in this morning before planting them out, together with some lettuce and more brassicas (most broccoli Belstar F1): thanks so much again Richard @ Hartley Farm for the use of the tractor. So I’m hopeful that because the soil seems to be in better heart than this time last year (and it did have a LOT of manure on it a few months ago), I might actually get more than a few kilos of courgettes. Slightly nervous that they’ll get a bit chilled this weekend though (forecast is for a nippy 5C on Friday night), so I’ve got some fleece over them just in case.

I also had a sneaky idea of planting the lettuce next to the courgettes, to go in between the courgettes and the squash when I plant them out next week (weather permtting): I’m hoping that I’ll have picked the lettuce by the time that the courgettes and squash/pumpkins get so big that they’ll cover that row. I’m quite keen to squeeze in some inter-cropping where I can this year: not just from a mercenary get-as-much-from-the-land-as-possible point of view; but because at the ORC conference at January, there was a good talk on the wasted water and sunlight that just hits soil between rows of widely spaced crops; plus heavy rain and wind erosion can damage that nice soil structure. It’s all about timing though, so I might not get it quite right each time; but at least with lettuce I can always cut it when it’s young and use in yummy salad bags.

On Monday I also managed a quick wheel-hoe of the broadies, garlic, soya beans (that one row has started to come up, very excited to see what happens with them), lettuce, beetrrot, chard and spinach. Quite glad that it didn’t rain, as it gave the weeds a chance to dry up and die off; but I think all those rows will need a hand weed next week. Ah, the season of endless weeding begins: but I’m not going to complain when the ground is dry enough to weed, compared to last year…