The first sowing of beetroot have been ready for harvesting for a couple of weeks, some have grown quite large and beefy looking but still taste very nice. Nothing is wasted, the hens just adore beetroot leaves. There have been plenty of salads with sliced beetroot for lunch and of course cheese and beetroot sandwiches. Mmmm. I must look around for some recipes before I end up with beetroot coming out of my ears and complaints about too many salads!
Apart from being packed with vitamins including folic acid, beetroots apparently also contain betaine and trytophan, which can help to relax you as well as contribute to a sense of well being. Oh, and they also make your wee pink! *giggle*
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on July 24, 2009
Oh dear, I seem to have hit a problem with my cauliflowers. This is the first year that I have grown cauliflowers and they were going well. The curds developed and started off small and compact. I made sure I bent the outer leaves over the curds to protect them from discolouration from the sun.
The curds now resemble this mangled mess:
As you can see they are not compact and are growing apart….a bit yellowy too. Perhaps I left them too long before harvesting? Any ideas? Anyone?
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on July 20, 2009
I’m feeling quite smug. I took a bit of a risky gamble and planted the cloves from shop bought garlic, it paid off, I was lucky. You see, I did not have any back up cultivated garlic planted, so my garlic harvest this year could have gone very wrong. I did use an organic bulb so maybe that helped a little with the success side of things. I cannot remember for the life of me which variety it was. It was a spur of the moment decision which I remember thinking would make a great experiment. Supermarket garlic are usually the soft neck varieties, the bulbs that I grew each produced a scape and have large cloves surrounding a thick(ish) central stem. So can I assume that these bulbs are hard neck? Interesting stuff.
I have lifted some nice size bulbs which have all segmented (thank you frosty February) and currently drying in the garage. I just wish I had realised at the time that garlic scapes can be used in cooking. I put mine on the compost heap!
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on July 19, 2009
Super easy to grow and the taste is just so much better than shop bought ones. I forgot how tall the plants actually get and now my support system resembles a pathetic mish mash of chicken wire, sticks, string and bamboo canes….all struggling to support the monster plants. Its failing miserably too, its all leaning over and looking quite crap! Still, I would always find the space for mangetout, they are totally worth it. You could always try growing dwarf varieties of course, I just prefer the taller ones.
Note to self. Next year put better support in place for the mangetout!
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on July 17, 2009
The courgettes have been a bit hit and miss really, but I would say more of a hit as we are harvesting them so its all good. Despite hand pollinating as many female flowers as possible, some of the baby courgettes rotted off. On the other hand, perhaps this is natures way of helping the plants cope with their ‘brood’, the female flowers were plentiful after all. To be honest I have stopped hand pollinating now, I am interested to see how the baby courgettes fair without my interference.
As you can see from the photo the courgette in the middle nearly went on to be a marrow, it was overlooked growing away happily and should have been picked a few days prior. Its amazing how fast a courgette develops actually.
I fried some last night in a little butter…….heaven.
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on July 14, 2009
We are harvesting young carrots at the moment and very pleased with the results, no forked or odd shaped carrots to be found. Yet! We are growing Autumn King this year and decided to leave the job of thinning the seedlings until the carrots were a decent size. This way we can munch our way through young tender carrot thinnings whilst leaving the rest in the ground to mature until autumn time. No waste!
How are your carrots coming along, which variety are you growing and do you also eat the thinnings rather than throwing them away?
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on July 13, 2009
Our sweetcorn is doing pretty well, the male tassels (flowers) at the top are standing proud and the female silks are starting to show. Now we are coming to the crucial time that could render our first attempt at growing sweetcorn (from seed I might add) either a tasty success or a total failure.
Wind pollination along with planting in a block rather than a row will help to pollinate the silks, but, I shall also aid nature a little and try to hand pollinate as well. Anyone else done this before? Any tips? So far I have the following advice:
Tap the tassel flower when fully open to distribute the pollen to the silks below, or, run your hand up and down the tassel and then do the same to the silks to release the pollen.
As you can see we have at least 3 silks per plant, whether or not all become pollinated is any ones guess. I have a few pollinating ideas up my sleeve (oh dear that sounds a bit odd) so I shall try different methods on different plants and see how we go.
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on June 25, 2009
I’m simply sharing my recent findings for anyone, who like me, thought that wilting courgette flowers dropping off the plants was a problem. You see, it’s not. They are meant to do that. The first few weeks of flowers are the males, they open, look pretty, wilt and then drop off. No need to panic like I did.
The male flowers are found on the longer thinner stems, the females (that produce the courgette) are on the shorter and fatter stems lower down the plant. You may even notice a very small courgette begin to form behind an unopened female flower. If a female flower isn’t pollinated the baby courgette may grow slightly but then rot off. Male flowers do not produce, they are there purely for pollination purposes.
There are self fertile varieties to grow too!
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on June 18, 2009
Here it is, our very first harvest of the year, well, from seed anyway if you don’t count rhubarb which we have coming out of our ears. Not literally but you know what I mean! Yes its those fab little radishes all grown up, willing and waiting to be devoured. I’m sowing them like crazy now to keep up with the family’s demand!
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on May 27, 2009
This is the first year that we have grown radishes, they will not be left off our list again. What a useful little crop they have proved to be. They grow amazingly fast so you can sow them between rows of slow growing crops, making the best use of the available space. We are about to harvest our first sowing of globe radish already.
Sow them every 2 weeks or so to ensure a succession of crops rather than all at once. They really do grow so fast that too many at once could be easily wasted. Which varieties do you like to grow?
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on May 22, 2009