This year the garden is in quite good shape... wfh has it upsides. No commute. So after work I am a short stroll from the garden and the polytunnel. That helps with keeping the weeds down and picking the fruit and veg when it's at its best. And, of course, I was here to water every day during the hot, dry spell in June.
Here's a quick list of what's in the veg garden:
Potatoes - Timo and Annabelle
Carrots - Early Nantes
Leeks - early and late, always do well
Onions - red, yellow and shallots
Beans - broad beans (ready to pick); runner beans (I had to sow three times before they germinated) and French beans (a disaster this year, I have re-sown but they will be very late)
Asparagus - we had a lot of nice fat spears
Lettuce - can't remember the variety (round ones)
Beetroot (had to re-sow)
Then flat-leaf parsley, Moroccan mint, dill, sage, thyme, French sorrel, chives, lavender, and rucola (under the net curtains in the pic - the first sowing was devoured by pests)
Strawberries (rather a lot of them this year - polka)
And in the polytunnel:
Winter squash - uchiki kuri, butternut, musquée de Provence etc etc
Watermelon - worth a try
Cucumbers - Saladin (we have had a lot already)
Tomatoes - various, off to a good start but now stalled
Peppers - slow start
Aubergines - in flower
And... I'm trying to sprout some ginger! Patience required.
Rodents have got into the polytunnel and eaten most of the hubbards and the uchiki kuri. Disaster. Fortunately we had picked a few earlier and the butternut are OK. But it is still a disasterous crop compared to previous years. Annoying.
Still picking cucumbers, aubergines, peppers and tomatoes. The rucola (rocket) is over and the courgettes will probably finish soon too.
In the garden we have wonderful parsnips and the best leeks ever. Still pulling carrots (Nantaise) and the later ones are ready for clamping and storing in the root cellar.
We have kale and a ton of runner beans (which I love) and the mangold is almost ready too. Not a bad year in the garden, not brilliant but not a catastrophe either.
We moved the shrub blueberries into the garden extension - they have recovered from last winter's deer attack and should give a good yield next year.
Not sure what we will take to Malm Gård and Fiskars Slow Food Markets. Honey for sure.
This one should probably have been left for a few more weeks, until the first frosts arrive, but we needed something colourful for the market stalls so I picked it. We have plenty more.
The Maan Maut harvest market is in Fiskars this weekend. We don't have a stall but we will give our farmer-neighbour some things to sell. We have a few aubergines and some cucumbers and lots of honey. We also sent some garlic and a Golden Hubbard squash.
When I opened the polytunnel this morning it was a whopping 50 centigrade inside and raining! Yes, raining inside the tunnel. I had soaked the squashes the previous evening and then pulled the curtains across the front of the tunnel. As the temperatures rose this morning, so did the evaporation. When I opened the curtains and the temperature suddenly dropped, I guess we got some condensation...
I am now leaving the curtain open for a few days. Although the nighttime temperature drops, the minimum inside the tunnel is about the same (though probably not for as long).
I picked some cucumbers and some rocket.
I've sown some Cucamelons which I saw growing at Mary Kuusisto's garden in Tenala. She was growing hers in hanging baskets and they were covered in fruit. Mine germinated in about 3-4 days and I'm now potting them on. They look like miniature watermelons and they taste like cucumbers.
I'll keep them indoors all winter and try to get a crop next summer. It's a tropical plant from Central America so it will be a challenge!
Hardly any rain for the past two weeks. Watering the vegetable garden almost daily. Temperatures over 20C during the day, up to 23-24C. Some nights down to 6-8C
Potatoes - Annabelle
Carrots - Nantaise
Aubergines - Moneymaker
French beans - Tendersweet
Herbs (Basil, chives, sage, thyme, borage, French tarragon)
Onions, red and yellow
Wild raspberries, chantarelles, still a few blueberries.
Coming very soon:
Tomatoes - Shirley, then Moneymaker
Peppers - Red delight
Blackcurrants - Brodtorp, Marksi, Mikael
Gooseberries - Lepaan Punainen
I picked the whole lot, anticipating an arrival of roe deer 'en masse' to devour them prickles and all. I don't particularly enjoy picking them due to the thorns but the bucket fills up quicker than with the blackcurrants. We only have three bushes and only one of them is really established. Not sure what to do next. I will probably dump the whole lot in the freezer while I look for recipes. Meanwhile, Fred is dipping in - he loves them, raw.
These are really so easy to grow and it is no problem getting in a crop before the frosts creep into the polytunnel.
These are broad beans. I prefer to pick them when they are quite small and then (in my opinion) they don't need to be skinned. But fine dining dictates the skins should always be removed. It seems a bit of a waste but maybe the fleshy skin is an acquired taste. The smaller beans are shiny and the colour of avocado flesh. The bigger beans are a paler green and lose their shine. Skinned beans look much the same as smaller, unskinned beans.
As for recipes, I tend to eat broad beans steamed then crushed with a little butter and lemon juice, probably with some roast lamb or grilled lamb chops. They also work well in a quiche with smokey bacon bits and feta cheese. And why not in a risotto primavera with - or instead of - peas.
Here's one of our summer workers weeding around the saskatoon bushes!
We actually had a handful of saskatoon berries to taste this summer and now that we have enclosed the area with deer-proof fence and removed the sapling tubes, the bushes are doing really, really well. I think we will have a proper crop next summer. The weather this year has been perfect for them: cool, wet summer and now some late summer sunshine.
Another eight litres today from Ovantrask and we still haven't picked the fruit from the new bushes. I have about 24 litres to freeze tonight (ie 16 kgs or about 35lbs). I pretty much freeze them as they are, they are not dusty or sticky and have been plenty rained on in recent days!
We picked about 14 litres of blackcurrants from the Rosendal bushes at the beginning of the week and today I picked 16 litres from the old bushes on the Ovantrask field. We have covered the remaining bushes in Rosendal with nets to keep out the birds and the deer but the two new rows of blackcurrants (which do have plenty of currants this year) are not covered. I think we will do some more picking tomorrow morning and at the weekend.
The 30 litres we have picked so far equate to about 20kg in weight which is 44lbs in English and we are about half way through: so this year's yield will be around 45kg. Guessing, but probably not far off. Most will be frozen and used to make cordial, liqueur and jam or jelly. And some we eat fresh in a mixed berry compote with blueberries, raspberries, gooseberries and redcurrants. The redcurrants are ready (but we only have two small bushes) and the gooseberries need another week at least. The wild raspberries are just beginning to ripen - we don't have any cultivated raspberries this year.