How does your garden grow?
The long cold winter seems like just a memory here in London (apologies to our less lucky Northern readers!) and my little garden has been responding well to the fabulous warm sunny weather we been having since late June with things starting to crop abundantly…
I’ve had my first dishful of tomatoes from the Tumblers and the Gardener’s Delight and the fruit are deliciously sweet and flavoursome. I’ve used them both raw and cooked and enjoyed them both ways, although the plants aren’t anywhere near as big or heavily cropping as last year’s incredible Cherriettes of Fire.
The heritage Black Cherry Tomato hasn’t produced anything to eat yet, but it has done the most amazing growing act I’ve ever seen. It’s gone from less than 6 inches high to around 5 feet tall with an abundance of shoots and some lovely looking fruit. I find these darker toms take much longer to ripen though…
My liberated flower beds have come into their own beautifully. Both the Pink Fir Apple and the Shetland Blue spuds are doing fabulously. The Shetland Blues have lovely bluey-green foliage and pink flowers and should be ready to crop in a week or so. The Pink Fir Apples will take a bit longer, but are so delicious that I would happily wait all year for them.
The rhubarb is growing away like nobody’s business between the tubers and the new raised beds and will be a treat to behold when I pick it. All that fun and games with bags of horse manure have paid off! The raised beds have been a great addition to the whole garden. Not only do they make it easier to grow stuff, but they make it apparent that the flower beds are an actual garden rather than a space with a variety of weeds in them which makes me feel more confident that no one will damage them.
Everything I’ve planted in the beds has done well. The curly kale is growing away merrily, waiting to be picked in the autumn while the chard has finally come to life and should be ready to eat this weekend and the beetroot look very promising. The pak choi was triumphant until a sudden infestation of large brown earwig-esque beetles ate the bejaysus out of it overnight last weekend. I had to abandon organic principles and get some pesticide out, but it was too late and I’ve been left with a very bald patch instead.
However this gap is barely noticeable on first glance thanks to the antics of my munchkin squash which is taking over the world. Every time I look at it, it has sneakily grown a bit more and it is now full of flowers along with the sleek glossy tendrils of a very happy plant. If I’d known just how gargantuan it was going to grow, I’d have put it on the other side of the bed to give it more room to spread, but I think it’ll do just fine anyway. It appears to be the Hulk of the garden world…
I’m particularly excited that one of my gherkin plants has taken root and is now happily shooting skyward and getting bigger everyday thanks to some serious watering and lots of regular feeding with seaweed fertiliser. No sign of any cukes on it yet, but lots of cute little tendrils that bode well for getting some fruit from it. I have high hopes for this since the other 3 seeds failed to do anything at all!
Back up on the patio, things are verdant to say the least. All the herbs, except the three varieties of basil I planted, have done brilliantly with an abundance of sorrel and lovage particularly. The courgette plants are enormous, looking as if I have decided to grow giant hogweed instead of my own fruit and veg! I have some striped marrow-esque courgettes doing nicely, but it’s the yellow variety that are stealing the show.
They seem to flower differently to the others with the flower and the courgette appearing simultaneously, making them look like they are going to create a real glut. They are however hilariously phallic looking and have been giving me a smutty giggle each time I water them. I’m hoping they will be ready to harvest from the end of this week while the flowers are still perfect for eating!
I’m ridiculously pleased with how everything has grown so far, especially as in the next week or so I actually get to start reaping what I have sown. I’m looking forward to fabulously fresh and very tasty produce, but I’m not quite sure what to do with sorrel, lovage or a glut of courgettes, so feel free to make some suggestions!
I just found this recipe and thought of your tomato glut! http://2besatisfied.blogspot.com/2010/06/black-pepper-cornmeal-tarts-with.html
(which reminds me that one of my greatest food dislikes is raw and lightly cooked tomatoes!)