Harvest Time Recap
While definitely nowhere near Monty Don in terms of gardening prowess, it is incredibly rewarding to be in your garden and hear the shuck of a carrot pulled straight out of the ground, eating fresh snow peas from the vine and snipping off leafy greens as you wander by for dinner.
There’s been a steep learning curve in our backyard, especially this season with the pestilence-level of grasshoppers and white cabbage butterflies taking turns decimating our Brassica crops. Last year we had broccoli crowns and this year we have torn leaves and mushy centres.
The carrots were good but again, last year was better. Not sure the difference this year, I might have sowed the seeds too tightly, or perhaps I didn’t amend the soil enough in the raised bed we used in rotation from last summer. Who knows?
Or maybe it was our twin boys, channeling their inner bunnies and eating most of the carrots before I even get a chance to stand proudly over their frilly fronds. Wait a minute... I’m sure that’s exactly the cause of the decline in carrot production this year!
But we’ve had some successes as well. Taking in our notes from last year, I sowed snow pea seeds much earlier in the year, and repeated sowings until the end of spring. This lead to a constant supply of their crispy, fresh greenness right from the vine, and plenty for kids’ snacks since then and well into this week, in mid-August.
The green and yellow bush snap beans have trickled in slowly but consistently for the past two months as well. They taste so good, picking them when still young and tasty, we’ve all started eating them fresh, not waiting to stir-fry or sauté them in butter and garlic as we normally do.
Another win is the arugula. A leafy green that it seems people either like or don’t like, similar to cilantro I imagine, we are big fans of the mustardy leaves. Not a day goes by that I don’t have arugula with at least one of our meals.
Now that we’ve harvested all the snow peas and yanked the above-ground withered and yellowed vines out, purposely leaving the nitrogen-fixing root nodules in the ground, we have planted rows of parris island cos, burgundy red lettuce and mixed greens in their place.
In the sunny allotment plot, our tomatoes are growing exponentially, so much so I barely can keep up with keeping them pruned to just the flowering stems. To promote ripening of tomatoes on the vines, I pinch the centre leaves of the growing tips and any unneccessary suckers. I do this at the beginning of the growing season, and then again now, in late summer, to encourage the immature fruit to mature and ripen before frost.
And new this year are the cucumbers, and they are growing fast enough that we have a new cuc with every visit. Nothing like preparing a salad for dinner with everything coming from the home garden!