Friday, 24 September 2010

Signs that summer is over

Apart from the weather having turned much colder and rainy, my shady patch is also telling me that autumn is setting in. Very few tomatoes left, runner beans are on their last legs (though I did manage to pick a few this morning), broccoli is only shooting up very thin stems and despite having lots of new flowers on my pumpkin and marrow plants, there's no sign of the very little specimens left doing anything worthwhile.

Good news though is that my green cabbages are ready to be harvested. They are quite small (so just as well there's only two of us) and the outer leaves have been ravaged by caterpillars and snails, but the hearts are good and hard. No rush to harvest them as they should keep in the ground for ages.

Unfortunately, the red cabbages which I was really looking forward to, have not done well at all and I doubt I'll get any to eat but, being an eternal optimist, I'm leaving them in....just in case.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

My Marrow

Unlike the summer pumpkins, my pot grown marrow plants haven't produced an abundance of veg. In fact the one in the largest pot has only produced 1 large marrow and the other pot grown one now has a smallish marrow which looks as though it's ripening up and won't get much bigger. Even the specimen I grew in open ground hasn't produced anything noteworthy as yet.

All in all, I think it was a mistake to grow this variety and next year I will go for a variety of courgette which can be harvested throughout the season and then just leave 1 or 2 to get very big to use as marrows. I do love a stuffed marrow!

I'm hoping to keep this large one (it's about 30cm/12" long) for a few more weeks before eating it - just waiting for it to ripen up a little more before cutting it to store. Which reminds me of something interesting I saw on Gardeners World the other day. The chap on the program said when you cut marrows for storing, you shouldn't cut the stem close to the marrow to prevent it getting water in the stem and rotting the marrow. When he cut his, he managed to get a sort of T-junction of stems. They should then be left to ripen/harden up outdoors before storing.

Looking at my plant, I can't see how I can do that without severing the main stem although as there aren't any other marrows on the plant, I suppose it wouldn't matter and in any event, I can't see me storing one marrow for more than 4 weeks by which time I will probably have finished harvesting other fresh summer veggies.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

At long last - Tomatoes!

I think the few days of sunny weather last week definitely helped with ripening my tomatoes which are growing in a small terracotta trough (about 60cm/2ft long), even though they don't get that much sun in my shady garden. I must admit to having been of the opinion that they weren't going to do well, especially as they seemed very slow to ripen plus the fact that the first one which I harvested seemed very sour, but lo and behold I am finally getting lots of cherry toms turning red, luscious and relatively sweet.