Browsing Tag

french beans

Vegetable Garden

Grow Something Different in the Vegetable Garden

July 24, 2011

squash in the polytunnelIt’s good to grow something different.

You can see how plants grow and experience new flavours.

Whether it’s an unusual vegetable or just another variety we always try to add to the list of tried and tested here in the Greenside Up garden. This year we’re trying a few new ones, starting with a yet unnamed variety of squash.

We saved the seeds from a squash that was bought from a local farm gate last autumn. Searching through the seed catalogues has us thinking that they might be of the ‘Blue Ballet’ variety but until the plants mature we’ll  just have to wait and see (and if they were F1 seeds they’re unlikely to develop true to type anyway). The two plants sown are romping away in the tunnel, so much so that I cleared away the Phacelia this morning that I’d sown in front of them to attract the pollinating bees in.

florence fennelNext up is Florence Fennel. This is the bulb plant and not the wispy herb. It was touch and go whether any would survive as the tiny seedlings resembled the weeds growing close by and many were inadvertently pulled up. A few have survived however, and we’re looking forward to cooking the aniseed flavoured veg when it matures.

Grow Your Own Kale

Grow Your Own Kale

We’ve grown a couple of different varieties of kale over the years, and always try to sow the hardy curly kale for some winter veg. This year we’ve added red kale to add some variety to our dinner plates and some Black Russian just because it’s a different shape.

kohl rabiI’ve been looking forward to sowing some wacky looking Kohl Rabi so this spring added them to the beds too. They’re still pretty small and we lost some due to the rampaging cattle that visited recently but I love them for their individuality and colour…

Last year we grew a tall variety of French beans in the polytunnel. They grew so rapidly we could have climbed up them to meet the giants. They were also full of strange-looking spiders and it was left to our 10-year-old daughter and a friend (invited around for tea lots that month) to pick them.

Looking After and Planting a Polytunnel in Winter

Three Sisters Planting in August

This year I’ve chosen a dwarf variety so that I can pick them myself.

Lastly we’ve added to the companion plants with the introduction of Poached Egg Plant sown directly into the bed in front of the broad beans, which have always suffered with the little pest black bean aphid. This pretty little annual attracts hoverflies whose larvae eat aphids so fingers crossed they’ll arrive in time!

Lifestyle

Bimbling and harvesting in the vegetable garden – early June

June 12, 2011

Just in case anyone’s under the illusion that we have the perfect garden, this is a picture of the wild area in our veg patch.

One day it may turn into a pond but for now it’s the place where all the wildlife hides, the insects buzz and the children’s balls get lost.

I love it as much as the rest of the garden, particularly when all the creeping buttercups flower.

No washing drying today… up in the clouds

Today was a peaceful bimbling day – tidying up, not too much weeding, a bit of sowing, listening to mellow tunes in my own head space.

I transplanted some cauliflowers a week or so ago and already the slugs have found them. Looks like the night time patrol will be starting up again very soon.

The bed above is waiting for the winter cabbages to grow bigger before they’re planted out.

The bulbs on the onions that were planted to overwinter are swelling nicely too.

I love the leaf shape and colour of this Bordeaux Spinach, but we’ve yet to taste it… maybe this evening it will grace our plates.

All the action’s happening inside the polytunnel at the moment. Here we’re harvesting lots of peas, perpetual spinach, scallions, beetroot, french beans, courgettes and herbs.

I love working in here as the scent from the herbs is so delicious.

The rosemary brushes against the leg as it’s passed and the perfume from the dill, tarragon, chives and thyme fill the air when a soft breeze blows in.

The dwarf French beans have struggled but are producing pods now.

I took a gamble and sowed them early, and they’ve had a tough time of it… they took a real munching from the slugs and haven’t grown very big, but good to see some flowers now and I’ve sown extra to replace the eaten ones.

One bed in the tunnel is taken up with squashes.. a couple of courgette plants, a couple of cucumbers and this year an unknown variety of something.

We dried and saved the seeds from a chestnutty flavoured squash purchased from an organic farm shop last autumn. Am thinking it’s a Blue Ballet but will have to wait and see… it’s looking very healthy though so fingers crossed.

A row of phacelia has been sown in front to attract pollinating insects inside.

To finish off my pottering, as a reward (as if I needed one after my peaceful day) some ripe strawberries were picked and shared. The runners from the outside patch were dug up and planted in the tunnel during the early spring producing the most exquisite flavoured fruit.

 

Cambridge Variety Strawberries
Still a few jobs to do, but feeling good for a catch up.
Lifestyle

Harvesting vegetable crops in early May

May 6, 2010

Harvesting vegetable crops in early MayGreat excitement in the Sewelly polytunnel & garden as veggies are almost ready for harvesting!

The peas and broad beans that were planted before Christmas are starting to appear so I’ll be digging out the recipe books soon as picking fresh produce always makes me want to try out a new dish.  This early harvest will help to fill the ‘hungry gap’ when the only other fresh veg we have to eat at the moment is purple sprouting broccoli.  I almost pulled it up after the snow as it was looking so downcast, but decided to give it a feed of fish, blood & bone and this is the result – five plants full of delicious florets (that were especially tasty in this evening’s stir fry). There are loads more tiny florets starting to appear beneath the large leaves in the next few days too.

The plan this year is to keep the polytunnel as productive as possible so that it earns it’s keep!

With that in mind we have shallots planted behind the peas & beans and the plan is to plant cucumbers once they’ve all been harvested.

I haven’t quite cracked full productivity yet though as the bed waiting for the tomatoes is still empty, and there’s a big space where the courgette is slowly growing.

My experiment of planting sweet corn early too hasn’t quite worked out – only three germinated (!) so I planted another packet last week in the hope that they’ll catch up soon now the temperatures are rising (there’s obviously a good reason why seed packets recommend a month for growing and late March wasn’t it).  The french beans have all germinated and are starting to grow rapidly too. We never had much success growing these outdoors as it just never seemed warm enough so hopefully will have better luck inside this year.

Meanwhile outside the strawberries are showing signs of flowering and the Red Duke of York first early potatoes are coming along nicely too.

I love this time of year!