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!

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Taste The Rainbow

IMG-20131031-00664I have officially discovered that the sandy silty light soil in my field is excellent for carrots. I had an inkling of this two years ago, when I first moved here; but wasn’t sure whether that was just a nice patch that they were growing on. Last year the slugs ate all three sowings, so I couldn’t check whether they would grow as well on the next patch in the rotation. However, this year they’ve been really good again in their new spot, despite the dry spell in July – I didn’t irrigate them at all (although I did leave pulled weeds in the rows as a moisture-retaining mulch). So hurrah for my light soil (although it does mean I’m going to need to continue adding organic matter and manures for brassicas and squashes). These coloured carrots I’ve tried out look fabulous when given a quick wash: the White Satin and Yellowstone in particular are often huge; but the Rainbow Bunching shades of oranges, pinks and yellow also get large; although Purple Satin are usually sadly smaller (but still stunning). The good news is that these whoppers are as sweet as the smaller carrots; no hint of parsnip-like woodyness here, plus they’re easy to peel and prepare. Definitely varieties to try again next year…

Teacher’s Pet

IMG-20130208-00176I love Rainbow Chard (any chard actually, Swiss Chard gets a special gold star in winter because it’s so plucky). I mean, seriously: my chard outside (planted around June) spent months under water in 2012, with low light levels, flooding, pest attacks, more flooding, serious frosts and a heavy blanket of snow. And flooding. Yet it’s bravely still going strong even now, taking advantage of any respite in the rain and break in the clouds to have another growth spurt. Look! Still going! Love it.