As you reap the last of summer’s harvest it’s time to take stock to ensure next year’s crops have the very best start
Now that it’s autumn, we’re able to look back on this year’s harvest from the vegetable garden. It’s a moment to take stock, see what has done well and think about what we might do differently next year. We grew old favourites such as the “Charlotte” potatoes that do well in our garden, being less likely to get blight, tasting good and with the waxy consistency that we both like. They are great for salads when young as well as for making good mash or boiled potatoes when they are larger.
The runner beans, which are producing magnificently at the moment, are again an old favourite, being the prettily red and white flowered variety “Painted Lady”. The broad beans were “De Monica” and cropped surprisingly heavily despite the dry spring. We thought
the lack of waterthem badly. might Throughouthave affected June and July we were eating broad beans every day and giving them away to friends and family too!
Those are tried and tested veg varieties but we like to try out new ones too. There’s been a good yield from Courgette “Defender” and I like its open growth habit which makes it easier to pick the courgettes. They are delicious sliced lengthways and lightly charred on a griddle pan, a quick way of cooking that uses very little oil. Also with a bumper crop of cucumbers (varieties were “Baby” and “Cucino”) they have made some flavoursome soups. David dug up the shallots “Red Sun” along with the garlic crop in July, dried them in the sun until the leaves were papery. He has now stored them in hessian sacks. The onions followed on and were dried in August. We will be able to cook with garlic and onions almost year round until next year’s crop is harvested. Cost wise they are one of the best savings you can make when growing your own veg. If you keep your veg plot full over winter there’s less room for weeds to grow. So as well as leeks, broccoli, kale and calabrese, any spare ground can be sown with a green manure crop. This can then be dug in next spring to enrich the ground for next year’s wealth of vegetables.
The last of the summer harvests
Garlic and onions ready for storage