Oh dear, poor neglected blog. I got so caught up in the harvesting and eating of the things I’d grown that the blogging got left by the wayside. Must…..try…….harder…….
So far this year I only have garlic in the ground. They went in over Christmas before the snow so I hope they are ok. Last year I put them in around October and they were already poking through when the colder weather came. I’ve gone for a French variety this year called Cristo, which I picked up at the garden centre. Also last year I got rust on the leaves but it doesn’t seem to have affected the bulbs at all which we are still eating now. I probably got about 25 bulbs from last year’s efforts. I’ve given a few away and some were quite small but they all divided into cloves and taste great.
I can’t believe it is February tomorrow!! Must get some seed potatoes and start chitting. I only had a small crop of 4 different varieties last year, and unfortunately, as with most people whose blogs I’ve read, they went mushy on boiling. Some of the Desirees were huge when I dug them up.
Well, back to it I guess – need to find a good blight free tomato for this year, any suggestions?
My “Radar” onions had started to flop over and as they were getting quite large, and we had a dry afternoon today, I dug them up. They are of varying sizes but all big enough for me to be happy with. I’d say they were all at least as big as a tennis ball.
I also dug out a few bulbs of garlic as the leaves were getting very rusty. In last weeks “Gardener’s World”, Monty Don suggested that this is the best course of action for rusty garlic even though the bulbs may not be fully formed yet. The ones that came out were great but I have decided to leave the rest of them in for now and see if I can get them a little bigger. These were “Vallelado” garlic, an organic variety from The Organic Catalogue which I planted on October 4th. These were the first things I planted in my new veg patch and now they are fully grown and on their way in the big wide world. I’m so proud, (sniff).
I have put them all in the growhouse out of the rain, but with plenty of light to dry out. Hopefully they’ll last long enough for us to eat them.
Also today I harvested another batch of broad beans for dinner, along with some lovely rainbow chard from the square foot growbag.
Not quite ready, it hasn’t divided into cloves yet, but perfectly usable. I just couldn’t wait any longer, and in my haste I put the fork straight through the bulb as I dug it out!! I cut the leaves off as t was the first one and a tester but the rest I will let dry out and then plait them together.
Well I think I managed to avert the blackfly crisis by taking off the growing tips of the shoots on the broad beans, and I have just been out and picked the first handful for our dinner this evening.
From 740g of picked pods……..
……..and when these were shelled I was left with 115g of beans for our dinner……
Look how vibrant that green is and although my childhood memories of broad beans are that of eating sour rubber, these are lovely and sweet. And there are still loads more on the plants. These were planted back in the autumn, with the seeds put straight into the ground. The veg patch was new and had hardly anything added to it, a couple of bags of manure and a couple of organic compost and that was it. And I haven’t fed them since.
It was going so well with the broad beans, until I walked around the “estate” this morning and found this…..
Blackfly!!! They must have moved in overnight because there were none there yesterday. They are larvae and are all clustered around the tops of the broad bean shoots. And they have their little attendants – the ants. I just Googled and apparently the ants feed off of sugary secretions from the larvae.
Having read a lot of grow-your-own magazines and books over the last 12 months I knew this could happen and what to do so I went out with a pair of trusty scissors and cut all the top shoots off the beans. One stalk I had to go down below the first few beans because the larvae were on those too but I only lost 3 beans. It gave me a chance to open a pod and see what size the beans were and they were not quite big enough. Perhaps I can pick some over the weekend from further down.