Carrot harvest

It really doesn’t seem that long ago since we sowed our carrots, but we’ve already been able to harvest some of them within 3 months.

They require regular (daily) watering to prevent them from splitting. To put it simply, if carrots are not watered a similar amount and at a similar frequency then they become susceptible to ‘outgrowing’ their own skin and that’s how they can end up split.

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We tried our best to keep all of the carrots submerged in the soil, but as you can see this was not completely possible. This may be partly because of how many carrots we crammed in to one pot!

Not a problem though, it’s just a case of cutting off the green bits and the rest is ready to go!

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(Above) Our first carrot harvest from the pot. There’s probably between 1/3 and 1/4 of the total potful here, so not a bad haul by any means! This variety is known as Ideal Red, and everyone was quick to comment on how good they tasted – particularly compared to supermarket carrots!

The majority that we pulled up looked like carrots should, there were a few that were more comical in size and shape – but they all tasted just as good…

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Once we’d harvested the carrots we wanted, we made sure to cover the carrots back up straight away. This is important, because once the carrots have been pulled out from the soil the sweet smell quickly attracts Carrot Fly, which can obliterate a whole crop in no time at all! We covered the pot with a few layers of fleece, which seemed to do the trick…

Too many cucamelons left us in a pickle!

After a slow start and us questioning whether any would ever appear, we ended up with far too many cucamelons! Having never grown them before, we weren’t sure what to do with them – but our Instagram followers came to our rescue! Apparently pickled cucamelon is very popular both here and in the US!

And it couldn’t be easier to make…

Firstly, we mixed 300ml of white vinegar with a teaspoon of salt, stirring until it was dissolved. Then we added a tablespoon of demerara sugar, again stirring until dissolved.

We chopped some mint and dill from the herb garden and added these to the solution along with some coriander seeds, before washing the cucamelons and adding them to sterilised jars.

The pickling solution was then poured over the cucamelons and the jars were sealed tightly, ready for the cucamelons to pickle away!

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Courgettes: – Practising what we preach

We revealed our top tip for courgette-success in one of our previous posts, which is staking the plants and regularly tying the stalk to it. This results in the courgette plant taking up less space and also being much easier to harvest!

As you can see (albeit I appreciate I’m only 5′ 2″) the courgette plants can grow really tall by staking them, and it means you get lots of yummy courgettes to eat!

The only thing is that you really have to keep on top of the tying up, because otherwise we find that sometimes the growing points of the plant can be snapped off in the wind! 😦

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Making use of the abundance of herbs

We don’t know about everyone else, but vegetables seem to come like buses. At times you don’t have very many, and then they all seem to come at once! This is exactly what’s happening with our herbs at the moment. They have all really got going, but we can’t eat them fast enough! And unfortunately, the shorter lifespan ones like basil are starting to flower so we’ll end up losing the chance to use them if we’re not careful!

We cut a few stems of basil, washed them and placed them on a baking tray in the bottom of the oven for an hour or so, or until they had dried.

We then finely chopped the dried herbs, discarding any particularly woody stems and will store them in an airtight jar until we want to use them in cooking!

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Cucumber, courgette and cucamelon update!

Our cucumber, courgette and cucamelon plants are doing brilliantly. Following a slow start, the cucumber plant is coming on strides now and is much stronger. For a start, it could only support one cucumber at a time, but now it’s growing three or four with ease!

These are the last two cucumbers that we harvested from the plant.

 

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The cucamelons are also starting to be ready to harvest. As we hadn’t tried growing these before, we were dying to taste them! It turns out they are exactly as described, a slightly sour cucumber – but still an oddly refreshing taste!

The courgette plants are also still producing well. We have had some extremely hot weather in recent weeks, so we were worried at times that they were coming to the end of their life (as it was so difficult to get enough water into their pots!) However, they have really picked up again now it’s dropped a few degrees.

In fact, we had to tie them up to their stake again for support. They don’t seem to mind this, as long as you encourage them gently towards their stake. It also means they don’t take up too much room, as they go up rather than out!

Onion harvest

It was time to harvest the red onions we had been growing in a pot last week. Although they hadn’t grown particularly big, their leaves had fallen to one side and they were no longer putting up new centre leaf growth so they were as big as they were going to get!

Therefore, we gently pulled the onions from the pot and have hung them on the shed to dry. Hopefully this will enable us to store them through the winter for eating (if they last that long!)

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Our first runner bean harvest

We harvested our first crop of runner beans this weekend. It was only 12oz worth, but the first harvest is always the best!

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As you can see from the photos, pollination has been good, and we haven’t suffered from too many flowers dropping off, so there are lots and lots of runner beans coming along.

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It’s important once crops like runner beans and dwarf beans are ready to harvest that you do pick them regularly. Otherwise, if you let the beans start to go past their best and get “poddy” the plant will start to produce that type of bean from an early stage.

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Our first harvest of 2018

And so it’s begun – we are harvesting things that we’ve sown! The weather was nice today, so we thought we’d have a barbecue. This meant we could thin out some of the little gem lettuces we were growing in the pot and also harvest some of our radishes. They were both delicious!

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