My old dictionary (a school prize in 1967) defines a glut as “supply exceeds demand”. On that basis, we have had a glut of soft fruit and are now into a glut of vegetables. However, I think that with modern technology (basically freezers), providing there’s no such thing as a glut of soft fruit as they can be frozen for use later in the year.
So now we’ve got a freezer full of red currants, raspberries, strawberries, gooseberries, black currants and blackberries. We’re still picking a few raspberries and blackberries but my guess is that they will all be finished in the next couple of weeks and we’ll be back wondering why we thought we were overloaded. The blueberries and physalis are just beginning to ripen but I have a feeling that neither of these will make it to the freezer.
The same can’t be said of the vegetables. The courgettes are in full flow but working out what to do with them is more problematic. They don’t freeze (not at all, they just turn to mush). They can be frozen as part of a sauce with tomatoes, onions etc., but our tomatoes won’t come in volume for another couple of weeks, despite the fact that they are ahead of last year’s production by a few days. So its courgette soup, courgette fritters, courgette spaghetti and other ways of using up 4lbs of courgettes every day.
Corgettes also have the problem that they peak at the same time as french beans, peas, swiss chard, cabbages, beetroot, cauliflower (although our cauliflowers have already finished) and broccoli, none of which really freeze successfully. So with vegetables (now at least) we are in the situation where supply does exceed demand and I’m afraid some of it sits in the fridge for a few days and then makes its way to the compost heap (adding to the 50% of food grown that never gets eaten I suppose but everybody at the allotment is in the same predicament). Not that I’m complaining, I know full well that in a few weeks time, I’ll be moaning about going to the supermarket to buy fruit & vegetables that don’t taste as nice, I just wish I could find a way of extending the season so that we could eat our own vegetables over a longer time.
The cucumbers and lettuce have done well this year, we’re getting four or five cucumbers a week (just about what we eat) and as much lettuce as we need. I think I’ve found the secret of succession sowing this year. I have three large plug trays that take 24 seedlings. I sow six pots of different sorts of lettuce and when the seedlings are large enough to pot up into the plugs (about 2 weeks), I re-sow the pots. They stay in the plugs for about six weeks by which time the 24 plants are big enough to go into the garden or allotment taking the space of others which (by this time) have been eaten or gone to seed and are not fit to eat.
We’ve also grown watercress this year and (following the example of our daughter who had one of the plants) have put them into pots by the back door which means they get well watered and are producing lots of leaves to enhance the salads.
We dug up most of first bed of potatoes yesterday and cut down the leaves on the second bed. I’m not sure if we’ve got blight (there’s a lot about this year) or whether the plants were just over but we decided that it was best to clear them up so that the bed can be watered to make it easier to dig them up. The first bed is going to be cleared and prepared to take a load of strawberry plants for next year.
So all-in-all everything is fine.
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All the best