31 Jul 2011
Saturday Snap: Beauty among the Beasts
Two weeks ago I wrote about the Zucchini Chop, an exercise in removing unnecessary leaves from my courgette plants to direct energy to the fruit. Since then I've enjoyed a daily exhibition of beautiful new flowers and tender leaves emerging to protect the fruit while the remaining leaves have swiftly grown to fill the gap left after the cutback. The plants now stand proud, healthy and large once more in their space - a dual edged sword as it happens. On the plus side, children are reluctant to race down the narrow path in the middle of the veg patch for fear of scratching their shins but, not so good, is that smaller children (the under-5s) are less able to easily access the beds for watering, a task they like to help with. I think it may be time for a few more leaves to come off!
The above photo was actually taken in the evening. I like to just have a little meander round, check on the progress of recent sowings (peas, parsley, carrots all growing well), perhaps pick a few sweet peas or sample a raspberry or two (autumn raspberries just coming into fruit) or munch a freshly picked spinach leaf. I intend to make some more stuffed fried courgette flowers (absolutely delicious, more on this with recipe in the next post) so was counting the flowers that were ready for this. Peering through the larger leaves, this beauty caught my eye, it's yellow petals singing out, the dusk light lending an almost purple tinge to the soil below. I think this may be one of my favourite snaps! (I do love my veg.)
Some tips with today's Saturday Snap:
1) Identifying courgette flowers: male flowers are long and slender on a slim stalk, almost like a rose. Female flowers are the ones that make the courgettes and have plumper flowers on a chubbier stem. The female stem looks like it will become a courgette; in some cases the slender courgette can be picked with the flower still attached and the whole thing battered and quickly fried. Delicious.
2) Encouraging more fruit: It's essential to leave some male flowers; without them, bees have no pollen to carry across to the female flowers. It's this act that pollinates the flower, causing the courgette fruit to form.
3) Photographing veg: evening light - if you catch it right - is so much more forgiving than harsh middle of the day sunlight. The midday sun creates hard shadows and burnt out texture in photos; however great the subject may look to the naked eye, I'm always disappointed with the results if I photograph in strong light. The veg patch is shaded by late afternoon and the last of the day's sun is sometimes reflected back onto the veg by being bounced off nearby windows. This is a perfect time (around 6 - 7pm) in the summer to take photos.