Definitely a strange year, particularly for the tomatoes.
Growing vegetables in the poly tunnel continues to be a success, with the climbing French Beans coming into play after the dwarf beans. However, the plants are really too large (or the tunnel too small depending on which way you look at it) and my guess is that they’ll get hit by the cold as soon as the weather turns because the leaves won’t have air-flow around them. I planted a number of different varieties of beans but the ones that seem to be doing best are my old favourite Blue Lake. As ever, deciding what to do with the excess beans is a problem, in my opinion, they don’t freeze well so I guess it will be more Bean Relish. We made some earlier in the season and it half eaten already.
I’ve succession sowed some more climbing beans where the peas came out, but they’re struggling to get started. Succession sowed dwarf beans, however, look like they’ll produce some more in the next weeks.
The courgettes have overwhelmed us, 25kg (and counting) is a lot of soup. We’ve frozen some but, we’re not keen on frozen courgette, it’s slimy and only any use for bulking things out. We’re not impressed with a new variety to us (Shooting Star), it was late to start setting fruit and it doesn’t seem to keep on the plant, going mouldy from the flower end if not picked relatively quickly. One thing I continue to learn is to plant fewer plants. The four courgettes in the poly tunnel should have been two or even one, they’ve grown into each other making it very hard to look after them. It’s noticeable that Autumn is coming, the leaves of the courgettes are already becoming brittle.
In the fruit, the blackberries have been a success but are largely over now the freezer is well stocked (we picked about 14kg over the weeks) ready for mixed fruit over the winter, the raspberries are coming on strong, enough for us to have fruit every day and still some going into the freezer for the winter. The apples are slowly looking like they’re ripening but the squirrel is playing havoc with the crop. Not a day goes by without us seeing him taking at least two apples off the tree. I would mind less if he would eat it all but the garden is scattered with half eaten fruit and the tree is getting emptier. There will be some, but nothing like the bumper harvest it looked like we were going to get.
The tomatoes continue to be frustrating. So far we’ve had less than 4kg of ripe tomatoes and they’re in dribs and drabs from a mix of the plants. There’s lots of green tomatoes, when (if) they do ripen, my feeling is there will be lots, but the season is lacking the sun needed to get them there. The cucumbers are in a similar state, 11 cucumbers from 2 plants is less than I would normally expect (although it’s enough for us) and there don’t look to be any more flowering, the season looks to be over unless the weather changes.
Finally, the potatoes were dig up last week. Not a brilliant harvest but we don’t eat a lot of potatoes so it’s not really a problem. The major issue is that they don’t cook well. Although they bake well, they boil into the water, break-up when steamed or microwaved. I think it’s a combination of variety and the weather. I’ll have to make sure to grow a waxy first early next year.