Harvest Time

For me, this is one of the best times of the vegetable growing year. Root crops have been rapidly swelling and there is so much lovely food to pick and enjoy.  First out of the ground today was this trio of beetroots: one each of Detroit White, Golden and Chioggia.

Colourful trio of beetroots

Colourful trio of beetroots

They ended up in a roasting bag with some swede, also picked today. Alongside are the first mangetout of the year.

Beets ready for roasting, with mangetout alongside

Beets ready for roasting, with mangetout alongside

Nearby, my perpetual spinach plants are being unusually troublesome this year, growing tall and thin and trying to run to seed.

Perpetual spinach beet growing too leggy and not doing well

Perpetual spinach beet growing too leggy and not doing well

It’s a shame as they’re normally very successful: dark green and very bushy leaved. I’ll probably replace them but as a substitute I wilted the leaves from the beetroot above and put portions in the freezer.

Beetroot leaves - a spinach substitute

Beetroot leaves – a spinach substitute

Following that same mantra of using rather than throwing away I picked these thinnings when evening out a row of pickling onions recently. They went really well in a leafy salad that evening, adding a mild onion flavour.

Tasty pickling onion thinnings

Tasty pickling onion thinnings

Back to today, I made a very nice discovery when lifting all the radishes. It’s striking how much foliage there is, compared with the small radishes themselves.

Radishes with lots of foliage

Radishes with lots of foliage

The three varieties – Scarlet Globe, German salad and Nero Tondo – varied in size from golf ball to tennis ball so I chopped them evenly before bagging for the freezer. But not before tasting a slice of the Nero Tondo and encountering an intense flavour: both earthy and peppery, like radishes are supposed to be but often aren’t.

Delicious Nero Tondo radishes

Delicious Nero Tondo radishes

This is definitely the best radish variety I’ve tasted and it’ll now be a regular grow for me.

Elsewhere, the nasturtiums are thriving in the good weather. Not having grown them before I had no idea how much nasturtium comes from each seed. This sprawl is from just three small seeds, sown in the spring.

Nasturtiums usesd as a diversion

Nasturtiums usesd as a diversion

I sowed them with trepidation, knowing that they attract the dreaded blackfly and potentially the even more dreaded cabbage white butterfly. But that’s precisely the point: those pests can prefer nasturtiums to the neighbouring vegetable plants. Every year my broad beans suffer from ants farming black flies, but this year there isn’t a single fly on the bean plants.

Blackfly on the nasturtiums and not on the vegetables

Blackfly on the nasturtiums and not on the vegetables

There are some other things in favour of nasturtiums: the flowers are edible – they have an unusual velvety texture when you eat them – and they form seed pods later in the year which are edible, pickle well and are commonly known as poor man’s capers. Being a caper fiend I hope to harvest some, so long as the blackflies don’t overwhelm them. But then again I saw two ladybirds nearby today, so they may well feast on the flies. Once again, nature amazes and yet makes so much sense at the same time.

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2 responses to “Harvest Time

  1. Hi, thanks for sharing; I am excited for you, such a treasure trove of lovely produce! Must also confess to radish envy. Our beets are coming through, so far the ordinary red variety, but golden beets to follow. Spinach did not do well for us either; but fat hen was on the rampage and it is an early wild ancestor and so a good sub. Enjoy the summer feast!

    • Thank you Sunny. It sounds like you’re having a successful season, with lots to come. No wonder the hen is on the big side 🙂

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