At this time of year, I always find it amazing both how quickly things come to harvest and how quickly they finish. Its also the time of the produce glut. Not that we get a lot of any one thing, but that the combination of everything that’s available means that there’s more than we can eat despite an increased number of salads and vegetable only meals. I go to the allotment every other day and it usually takes an hour to 90 minutes to pick the harvest which usually leaves 30 minutes to weed/plant before I’ve had enough and set of back home.
So this week has seen the end of the high production strawberries (about 50lbs altogether), we’ll get a continuous small supply (say 2lbs every time I go) and I think there are some varieties which haven’t yet cropped, its difficult to know. I’ve also given up picking the redcurrants, whilst there are still quite a few on the bush, they aren’t in long strings and so it makes it a pain to pick them.
However, the green gooseberries are doing well and they’re ripe enough to eat straight off the plant uncooked and with no sugar. The biggest difficulty is picking them as the plant has vicious spines which go straight through my gloves. The summer raspberries are just starting with about 1lb this week. There looks to be a lot to come and the recent thunderstorms will have given them enough water to bulk out.
Finally the red gooseberries are going pink (they have to be left until they’re really dark) but the blackcurrants aren’t showing any signs of being ripe yet. When all those are done, it will be a matter of waiting for the apples which won’t start until the end of August.
As regards the vegetables, we’ve got peas, mangetout, 1st early potatoes, spinach, purple sprouting broccoli, beetroot, and broadbeans all competing for space on the plate. The courgettes haven’t started yet (although there seem to be some small ones looking like we should have some in a week or so and the french beans are setting but not big enough to pick yet.
Finally in the salad bar there are lots of lettuce and the cucumbers are beginning to come and it looks like we’re going to get a lot off the four plants. However, the radishes have finished as have the turnips, they both went over very quickly because it was so dry.
So now we’re into storing things for the winter. All suitable excess will get frozen (and that’s why I’ve grown more peas than before) or dehydrated (trying mangetout peas for the first time today). The garlic I harvested last week is having to be peeled and frozen because the white rot has affected the bulbs and they won’t keep. However, doing it now whilst the bulbs are relatively fresh mens that the cloves are easier to skin. I know that freezing them isn’t the best way to store them (they apparently go a little bitter but I can’t tell) but the alternative is to throw them away which would be a waste.
The weather has improved in some ways with enough rain to encourage all the plants but not so much that the slugs come out to play (too much).
That’s it, another week to look forward to.