15 Sep 2016

Plot pickings

As the summer slowly transitions into autumn, is it all doom and gloom?  No, not at all.  In fact it's almost a relief that I no longer have to think about where to squeeze in a few more plants and can start to think about preparing for the winter garden and planning for next year.  I may have felt slightly deflated at the lack of blooms in my last post but that just shows how wrong I was to focus purely on the floriferous feel of the garden.

Evening harvest


High spirits were swiftly restored within a few days by the evening plot pickings.  As with most other veg gardeners, I'm currently able to collect beans, beetroot, chard, radishes, raspberries and Cape gooseberries (delicious but few!) most evenings. As this is small space gardening, I don't get trug loads of produce but tiny tastes are definitely better than none.

We've not done too badly this summer; there's usually enough for me and my occasional helper to have a bowlful of beans and raspberries every week at the moment - and plenty of beans and plot courgettes to hand round to a few neighbours. I like to share when I can, there would be no joy in keeping it all in the freezer for myself.

The courgettes that I planted out rather later than recommended are putting out small fruits; I don't mind as I've already had a courgette/marrow overload from my plot neighbour up at the allotments. And I read of a good tip recently - if you cut off the first tiny fruits, the plant is encouraged to pump out lots more larger sized fruit.  I've done as suggested so we'll see ... and the tiny courgettes have been sliced and added to a creamy bacon and courgette tagliatelle. (Waitrose recipe here, if you're interested.)

The beetroot has been really successful this year (Baby Bona from Chiltern Seeds).  I've been picking plump round beets with a sweet taste - perfect for my morning juice.  (Yes! Beetroot in a juice! It's really delicious in a juice with apples, carrot, lemon, broccoli stem, cucumber and yellow pepper. Yummy and energising!)

So far I've restricted myself to picking only the 'french' beans that I'm growing and saving the Borlotti beans to plump up.  I'm growing 'Cobra' climbing beans which are aptly named;  they're normally pencil straight but, where I've missed a few, they've grown fat and curled round on themselves - more boa constrictor than cobra but the similarity is amusing.

Borlotti beans

The Borlottis, on the other hand, are perplexing me.  I've seen so many pictures of brightly coloured pink and cream pods - surely one of the reasons to grow them! Mine, however, are pale green pods that occasionally mature to sport some magenta streaks. Is this usual?  It's definitely not what I was expecting. Will they eventually turn pink?  Is there a reason that some pods are streaked and others not?  If you know, do tell.

Of course I may not get any mature Borlottis at all if the munching molluscs keep at it.  Leaves and pods at the top of the plants have been decimated - the slime trails tell their own story.  I mean, really, six feet off the ground - the very cheek of it!

munched bean
This is one of the tinier munchings - there are pods that are positively naked on the other side. Grrr.

So all I can say is .... thank goodness for broccoli. (Maybe I should get some fleece over that.)

broccoli


4 comments:

  1. Beautiful harvests, it all looks so healthy. I think the green borlotti beans are young ones. The older ones will have that gorgeous red splashing effect on them. I usually harvest all of mine at once towards the end of the season and I always have a few green ones among them. The older the pods, the whiter and redder the beans. I always have snail problems on my runner beans at home. They happily climb all the way up to eat them. I have a very snaily garden I think. CJ xx

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  2. It's all looking and sounding good. You've certainly done well this year. I've found some Cobra beans like that as well. There are various Borlotti bean varieties so the pods do vary in colour, and they do get redder as they mature. Flighty xx

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  3. I wrote about Borlotti on my blog yesterday - it might provide some clues for you on colouring... Cobra is my French Bean of choice too. I have been growing it for many years.

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  4. Borlotti beans do vary in their skin colours but the actual beans when podded are usually the same cream and red beauties. A kind man on my allotment collects spent coffee grounds from a cafe and sprinkled at the base of climbing plants they are a great deterrent to slugs and snails.

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