From plot to plate

After a couple of weeks away, returning to the vegetable garden this weekend was a mix of anticipation and trepidation. The soaker hoses had done their job well and more or less everything was still alive, but like a lot of growers have experienced this year, a number of things had bolted. One beetroot was taller than me and most of the spinach plants had gone completely to seed.

But after chopping back, trimming and tidying up the newly-appeared crops became apparent, as did some items which had matured and were ready to lift.

Onions flopped over = ready for picking

Onions flopped over = ready for picking

The over-wintered Japanese onions had flopped over, which signifies that they’re ready. This was good as I do have a queue of late vegetables to sow and need to free up space in the beds.

45 onions ready for drying

Onions trimmed and ready for drying

I got a total of 45 onions out of the ground. A handful were a bit mouldy so went in the bin. The rest have now gone onto racks to dry out for a couple of weeks in the garage. They’re beautiful to work with: the flesh is a crisp bright white and slices very easily.

Garlic also ready for harvesting

Garlic also ready for harvesting

Likewise, the garlic plants had fallen over. I lifted just a couple for now and was pleased to find large colourful bulbs. The variety is Germidour, from France, and using a couple of cloves tonight revealed a nice mild taste which holds up fairly well through cooking.

Beautiful Germidour garlic, just picked.

Beautiful Germidour garlic, just picked.

I would like to grow a variety whose flavour lasts longer though and have a couple of candidates in mind for next year. Meanwhile, this year’s purple cloves will be great in the likes of pesto.

Vegetables picked for tonight's dinner

Vegetables picked for tonight’s dinner

Elsewhere I picked some big fat broad beans, a couple of colourful beetroot, a bunch of spinach leaves, a nice yellow courgette, as well as one of those onions.

The purple pods on the right? They’re Blauwshockker peas from Germany. Their deep purple pods contain thick juicy peas which cook in a moment and fairly burst in your mouth. Yum!

Colourful Blauwschokker peas

Colourful Blauwschokker peas

Nearby a couple of smallish tomato plants have progressed fairly well, surrounded as they are by a number of good companions: basil, marigolds and spring onions/scallions.

Tomato plants in good company

Tomato plants in good company

Most of the tomato plants are still in blowaway greenhouses in the background but will be moving into the beds in the coming weeks.  One of the two plants in the ground is the Indigo Blue variety and not only are its stems a dark shade of blue but just appearing are the first small tomatoes, which are almost black.

Black tomatoes of the Indigo Blue variety

Black tomatoes of the Indigo Blue variety

They’ll have enjoyed the good feed they had today, which will help them take on a dark purple-red hue as they mature.

There are chillis, squash, potatoes, turnips, carrots and lots of other things approaching harvest time in other parts of the garden and I can’t wait to report on those next time.

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