Dig for Victory 2015: Harvest!

"At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up." ~ Galatians 6:9

“At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” ~ Galatians 6:9

It’s been a bit quiet on the home (kitchen garden) front I know.  So here’s  a quick update on some of the firstfruits…

What worked

The French beans got off to a slow start, and for a few weeks there were only ever enough for a couple each at dinner time. Now they’re in full swing so we can pick enough in one go for two dinners, with all 6 of us getting a generous portion. Dare I say, we *may* even be beginning to tire of them a little (gasp!). They take up so little space, seem to take care of themselves, and are so much more delicious (and of course so much cheaper) than in the shops – it’s a no-brainer.

Our beetroot has always done OK, but this year better than ever, and we’ve dozens. Dead easy  – sow straight in the ground, thin the seedlings, leave to get on with it.  Again, so much cheaper than in the shops. Beetroot soup is beautiful and delicious. Or roasted as wedges with other root veg. Or baked with goats cheese melted on the top. Or…

Cherry tomatoes are cropping well, not as sweet or firm as I usually like them, maybe it’s the variety.

Finally, 3rd year around, Joel has got his leeks. They’re not the fattest, but they are totally leekish. Leek moths are not eating them this year, we are!  All 100 of them.

Various lettuces have been great, we’re on our second (or third?) sowing.

Garlic likewise has done well, so we have a good few months supply.

We have, amazingly, consumed three giant, juicy peaches this year, from the tree planted this spring.

Not the usual crop I know, but we did rather well with ducklings this year, adding 5 new ducks in total so far…. some may not actually be ducks…

What didn’t work so well

After all the time we painstakingly spent planting them out in sand, the shallots were hopeless. It was a problem with the whole batch apparently, so the nursery refunded us. A small mercy.

Our autumn purple-sprouting broccoli has been totally ravaged by the cabbage white caterpillars. No surprise there. We just have too much other (more fun) stuff to do than cleaning them all off with soapy water. (There’s hope for the red cabbages though, as they have been given the royal treatment with a meshed frame).

The much-awaited beef tomatoes (which I enjoyed in large quantity in France) have suffered from the cool, wet August and September, and are substantially blighted. 🙁

The cherries were enjoyed by the ants and the aphids. Or so we assume. Otherwise why eat them all? They certainly didn’t leave us any!

There’s a taster.  How has your harvest been so far?

3 Comments

  1. September 23, 2015    

    I would love to grow leeks. Have you got any tips? Since we have lived in our current house, our tomatoes have done badly even when we have shelled out on expensive blight resistant seeds. I really don’t know why. When we lived a couple of miles up the road, we had a lovely supply of tomatoes.

    This year, we have done well with beetroot, runner beans, rocket and potatoes. The pumpkins are looking hopeful and the apple trees are loaded. Our pear has done well for once, too.

    I don’t always know why some plants do well and others don’t.

    • September 23, 2015    

      Hi Sarah! We had leek moth two years running. Best not to grow them in situ from seed apparently, but grow in seedbeds or pots until pencil-thick. This year, before planting them out, my husband cut off the tops and trimmed off most of the roots. Dig deep furrows, then dib holes wide apart like 18 inches, and don’t compact the soil in around them. You could also cover them with micro-mesh until October. You’re absolutely right I think about not knowing why things don’t always work. However, “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest … will never cease.” (Genesis 8:22). Thanks for keeping in touch! x

  2. September 24, 2015    

    We have moved house this year, so we really haven’t grown a lot, and I made the mistake of planting things out too early and they got beaten down by hail! We have had quite a bit of lettuce, which has been good, but our broad beans have been so few, that we actually collected a few at a time and put them in a (small) box in the freezer. I have no idea how they will taste. How do you cook your beans?

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There's no place like home. Home is where the heart is. An Englishman's home is his castle. And so on. Cheesy cliches aside, we are nonetheless aiming for a renaissance of the home.

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