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What are you harvesting today?

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Post by Ploshkin 24th July 2022, 6:52 pm

My courgette plant is a bit sulky this year. Ite producing just enough. It only has one growing point, usually it has 2 or 3.
Tomatoes are in full swing now.

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Post by freebird 25th July 2022, 12:21 pm

My courgettes haven't even started properly yet.
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Post by Ploshkin 25th July 2022, 1:09 pm

Presumably your courgette is outside Freebird. Apart from those couple of very hot days, our night time temps have been 12° max, even down to 5° in very recent days. Everything outside is slow here.
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Post by freebird 26th July 2022, 1:15 pm

Yes, they are outside. And yes, we too are still getting low night temperatures. Slow barely begins to describe this season.
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Post by Ploshkin 28th July 2022, 11:08 pm

My first sweetcorn cob today and boy, was it sweet. Also my first beefsteak tomato ( Burlesque), all 15 1/4 oz of it.
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Post by Dandelion 30th July 2022, 9:36 pm

I can't believe that I'm picking the last few tomatoes from some plants, and composting them already. It's been a real struggle to get them to bear fruit this year because of the extreme temperatures (and because I'm guessing the weather has affected the pollinators.) I moved the tomatoes out from the greenhouse about a month ago, when the weather here started to warm up (luckily they're in pots), so I was able to place them in cooler parts of the garden, but they look exhausted. Last year I still had some tomatoes in early November, but probably not this year!

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by freebird 12th August 2022, 9:18 am

The first picking of Jalapeno chillies this morning. I've picked them full size but green, as I learned last year that as soon as they start to ripen, almost every fruit will have slug/snail damage. I shall leave some to ripen and attempt slug protection, but I like to have dried green chillies to use throughout the year. So the dehydrator will be out tonight, and I'll slice up my huge tomato and some other large ones to dry with them.

Oh, and I finally picked a couple of yellow courgettes last night. About time.
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Post by Ploshkin 12th August 2022, 10:35 am

Freebird, do you grow your chillies next to the glass in the greenhouse? I have found that if I grow peppers next to the plastic they get slugged but if I grow them out in the middle they don't. I think the slugs hide round the edges and climb up the walls at night and they are particularly fond of peppers. Space will probably be more difficult in a GH but I do recall that yours was a reasonable size.
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Post by freebird 12th August 2022, 9:31 pm

Some, but not all, are next to the glass. A radical move isn't really possible, but even plants in the middle of the bench get caught anyway. I have been using a very few slug pellets - birds, and hedgehogs in particular, aren't going to be affected by the few I use in the greenhouse. I never use them outside.
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Post by freebird 21st August 2022, 9:06 pm

Sweetcorn. The first time I have grown it here in the garden. It was successful on the allotment, but conditions here are quite a bit different. The plants have been variable, and not done as well as I had hoped, but the cobs I have look really good. It has proved that I can grow it here, and I need to see how I can improve the crop for next year.
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Post by Dandelion 23rd August 2022, 10:00 pm

Well done Freebird! I tried sweetcorn a couple of years ago, and it was a complete disaster, so I'm sticking to things that I know will grow. Kohl Rabi is good at the moment, although because we didn't want to eat any cooked veg in those very hot spells, the bulbs are a bit bigger than they should be (but still tasty - I just cut off the tough lower part of the bulb).

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by Ploshkin 1st September 2022, 12:11 pm

My outdoor Mr Fearns have come into their own now after a very inauspicious start. They are producing for Wales and as well as eating fresh I already have 6 tubs of spicy beans in the freezer.

I've had my first 2 James Grieve apples off one of the stepovers. They were windfalls and not quite sweet enough to eat neat. I had my first forage of wild blackberries and made a blackberry and apple crumble using stoneground middlings flour that I got from Heage Windmill (Derbyshire).
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Post by Chilli-head 1st September 2022, 3:24 pm

In the last week I've harvested:

Sweetcorn - poor fill, quickly went past its best in the heat
Beetroot - Rhonda seems not to mind the drought.
Tomatoes - done OK despite a bad start with lots of BER early on.
Pepper - a chocolate one from Real Seeds, nice
Padrons - some are clearly not normal padrons as they are hot.
Beans - half cooked on the plant ! Ending early.
Salad potato Ratte - small, but tasty.
Spring onion Yoda - good performer, but kept watered in the garden plot.
Lettuce, Morton's secret mix from Real Seeds, good as ever given some shade and water.
Carrots (various) - a bit stunted but strongly flavoured, probably the heat.
Apples - they elected to come off the tree not really fully ripe, but made a decent Tarte Tatin where the caramel combination offset the tartness.
Courgettes - miss-shaped, probably the drought. Fat at the stalk end, thin at the other. But they ate OK.
Cabbage - outer leaves completely dried brown, but an edible heart inside.

Oh - and one lime for a salsa cruda.

The list seems fairly good, though it hides a terrible year. Very little of each thing. I can't bring myself to pour on the gallons of water that the allotment would need to perform well, though other plot holders do. In the garden plot, I can use waste water from veg washing and other uses where it isn't too "grey" for edible crops, which makes me feel OK about it.

I'll probably post some of my thoughts on the year again at some point, with some of the things that fared well despite. I'd welcome any other suggestions on what did OK in the difficult circumstances. Or any other tips on how you handled the drought. Though most of you are out west, so probably weren't so near to desert conditions as us in the East !
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Post by Dandelion 3rd September 2022, 9:55 pm

I'm still picking courgettes - I also have a collection of marrows: I think it was 12 at the last count!!
All four of our apple trees have had extremely sparse crops (although when we visited the orchard at Berrington Court (N.T.) which is about 20 miles away, the trees there were groaning with fruit, so I don't know why ours were so bad.) The few apples which are there are falling off before they are ripe.
The pear tree has three pears on it, which is average, and which is why I'm cutting it down in the autumn.
Tomatoes have been pretty good, and the hot weather seems to have kept the blight away. But with the rain forecast for the next week, I've cut down all the outdoor plants and have strung them up in the greenhouse for the fruit to ripen, hopefully blight-free.
I'm still digging kohl rabi, which are tender despite being on the large side.
French beans (Mr Fearns) were not great, and runner beans (Firestorm) have been practically non-existent, but I'm hopeful that with the rain, there will be an end-of-season rally!
The water melon I tried growing produced lots of leaves but not much else - the friend who gave me the plant commented that with the weather we've had, it was going to be the year of being able to grow water melons, but not in my case! (She did grow two, and I tasted one which was lovely).
Early potatoes were plentiful, but affected with wireworm (never had this before). They eat well, but you have to cut bits out before you cook them.
Butternut squashes - just one fruit, which is ripening.

................................................................................................................................
The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by freebird 4th September 2022, 5:12 pm

Tomatoes good. Cucumbers passable. Chillies - well I'm still waiting to pick ripe chillies. Plenty of green. Garlic has been superb, as were the sugar snap peas, both inside the greenhouse (early crop) and outside. Dwarf french beans are trundling along, but Mr F have been hopeless. The few pods I've had have I believe been got at by sparrows first. Six runner beans so far, and at last some flowers developing. Courgettes non-existent - the plants just haven't grown. Broad beans I tried in pots due to lack of space - promising. First year growing sweetcorn here in the garden - moderately successful. Lovely flavour but plants and cobs rather small.

My biggest concern is that last year I mulched the plots really thickly with composted sheep manure brought back from the allotment. Everywhere I have put it, the results have been really patchy - tiny, non-productive courgettes, some corn barely getting to about 5 feet high, others only 3 feet and same with Mr F, with some reaching the tops of their poles yet another entire wigwam only about 3 feet high. I still have plenty of bags of the sheep manure, but I'm reluctant to use it again.

Thornless blackberry going ballistic, and for the first time ever, I have tree fruit - a few pears of two varieties and apples, including 5 on one of the trees I grafted myself.
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Post by Ploshkin 4th September 2022, 7:28 pm

Scores on the doors here:
Tomatoes - brilliant especially beefsteaks which have been very tasty. One weighed in at 1lb 6oz. Oddly, the Sungold have been a bit tasteless.
Cucumber - non stop fruiting, just slowing down now.
Courgette - very mediocre, just trickled along.
Melons - excellent
Sweet peppers - small peppers ( Lunchbox) brilliant, 30 - 40 on each plant and ripening nice and early. Some good big pointed peppers but max 5 on a plant.
Chillies - very poor. Plant had some form of die back.
Sweetcorn - best ever. Up to 3 big fat cobs on each plant
Beans- good under cover, outside very slow but cropped well especially Mr Fearns.
Carrots good under cover and outside.
Squashes - 15 mostly good sized butternuts on one plant. Small squash ( Honeybear) only 5 on two plants.
Brassicas - outside in the mesh tunnel, massive cabbages, some good late planted calabrese and very promising Brussels sprouts.
Okra - first time but won't bother again. Barely grew but there are a small number of fruits about 3" long.
Apples - 20 ish huge fruits on one stepover ( probably sbould have thinned them more), 3 on the other one. I'm so pleased because I've never been successful with apples before.
Honey - phenomenal. 275lbs off 5 hives, plenty left on for the bees' winter stores.
All in all a very good year though frustratingly slow to get going with 3 solid weeks of frost in April and low night time temperatures right into July.


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Post by Dandelion 6th September 2022, 9:21 pm

It's fascinating how different our results have been this year.
Freebird - have you got any ideas about why the sheep manure has been bad news?

................................................................................................................................
The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by freebird 7th September 2022, 9:37 am

None at all, Dandelion. It was from a farmer who does a lot environmentally, and while I didn't specifically ask about potential nasties in it, I would be surprised if there were any.

I have just bought some soil test kits to test the NPK and acidity, to see if it throws any light on the problem. Whilst they are designed specifically for soil, I'm also going to try testing my own garden compost and a sample of the composted sheep manure. Home kits aren't going to give any great accuracy, but it might just point me in the right direction.
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Post by Ploshkin 7th September 2022, 9:55 am

Sheep manure is said to not be as good as cow though I don't know the reason, I think it's to do with the different ways sheep and cows digest grass.
As we no longer have cows we only have a small muck heap now from the sheep shed at lambing which will be a high proportion of straw from bedding and a much lower proportion of poo than you get with cows.  I have no idea how long chemicals might stay in the straw but it is inevitable that the crop will have been sprayed with various things during its growth.  I know that our arable farmer friend now has to spray his rape crop several times as he can no longer use neo nicotinoid dressed seed.
Having said that I now have only sheep manure but it is very well rotted and I only use a small amount of it in the polytunnel, mainly in the bottom of planting holes for things like courgettes and melons.  I use my garden compost outdoors.
The main issues I have had with weedy, yellow plants this year have been with transplanted seedlings after germination. Once planted out, either in the tunnel or outdoors, the plants have mostly been good.
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Post by Ploshkin 12th September 2022, 1:05 pm

We have just eaten a delicious and very juicy James Grieve apple from my stepover. I say we because it was huge so we had half each. I'm so pleased because I have never been successful with apples here. One advantage of the stepover was that I could easily cover it with fleece which protected it from the nightly frosts through most of April.
I've also just cut a large and perfect head of calabrese from the mesh tunnel.
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Post by freebird 12th September 2022, 5:01 pm

And I have just yesterday harvested my first ever apples from this garden. Even better is that they were on the trees I grafted myself. They tasted just as I had hoped they would. The variety is an old one, popular I believe in the 1940s and 50s, called Maidstone Favourite. They don't keep at all, but have a lovely light texture and sweet flavour. They have arrived somewhat later than they used to in London, but absolutely worth waiting for. A couple more of those still to come, a very few pears, and a lot of smallish apples on another bought new tree called Winter Gem. I should have thinned them, but as it's the first productive year, I didn't know how many were likely to drop early.
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Post by Dandelion 15th September 2022, 11:36 am

Great result, Freebird!

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by freebird 26th September 2022, 12:11 pm

The last Maidstone Favourite apple, just ready for picking when we returned from holiday.

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Post by Chilli-head 26th September 2022, 5:15 pm

I had another of my Bloody Ploughman apples for lunch. For them, the best year yet. Normally they fall off acidic and unripe, or mostly rot in storage without ripening properly. This year, perfect.

Not a lot to harvest otherwise. I picked off a few beans, and some of the secondary spears on the calabrese - the main heads were spoiled by the heat so composted. Picked a lettuce. The first of the chilhuacle negro chillies went with some of last years smoked Holy Mole chillies and the last of last years dried beans, some green peppers and some tomatoes to make a bean chilli.

I have got Mispoona and chinese cabbage at the allotment, if it makes it to maturity. And Leeks, fennel, more carrots, an optimistic late sowing of dwarf beans. And squashes of course.
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Post by Dandelion 29th September 2022, 9:28 pm

I love fruit and veg with unusual names. Bloody Ploughman was a variety we considered when choosing some heritage varieties when we moved to Herefordshire, although it didn't make it to our final list.
Our apple trees this year have been literally festooned with the white fluff from woolly aphids. When I first noticed it, I wiped it off with some soap based insecticide, but as the summer went on more appeared (in places I couldn't reach) so I had to let it spread. has anyone had this problem, and if so what did you do to tackle it?

................................................................................................................................
The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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