Despite the caterpillar infestation on our brassicas, we have been busy harvesting the fruits of our labours elsewhere in the kitchen garden.
We cut our Crown Prince squashes from the vines and brought them into the greenhouse to harden off. I love their cool grey-green skins, and am looking forward to cutting into our first one and seeing the vivid orange flesh that they promise. I can’t help but smile when I walk into the greenhouse at the path of pumpkins and squashes in their contrasting colours.
We also cut the Harrier F1 butternut squash fruits from their vines and placed them on the potting bench in the greenhouse to cure. These are much smaller than the other squashes, and indeed than their supermarket counterparts. King of the Hill overheard this week that they are a variety not best suited to the British climate, and our experience this year would seem to reinforce this so I suspect we will grow a more rewarding cultivar next year in their place. Still, despite their diminutive size, they look healthy and should make us a few fine meals.
We brought in three ripe melons from our Antalya F1 plants in the greenhouse, with one more fruit still on the vine to ripen. We shared the first fruit, and it tasted sweet and juicy. King of the Hill was a little disappointed though that they were not discernibly superior to any bought melon, and I suspect we won’t give as much space to melon plants in the greenhouse again next year. Still, there is a little magic in eating a melon that we grew and nurtured ourselves!
We are still harvesting masses of tomatoes from the greenhouse, and the runner beans and courgettes outside have slowed production a little but are still coming in faster than we can eat them all. Cue more mass blanching and preserving sessions, and various tomato sauces for the freezer.
A vase of cut asters from the two ‘Big Boy’ plants that I grew from seed brighten up the kitchen, along with a handful of sweet peas. While the sweet peas need replacing every couple of days, the asters last in the vase for well over a week. I shall definitely grow these again next year, and more than two plants!
Besides our various besieged brassicas, we still have courgettes, runner beans, ruby chard, carrots, onions, swede, parsnips, lettuce, beetroot, rocket, radishes and the last sweetcorn to harvest, and tomatoes and cucumbers still cropping in the greenhouse. A rich bounty indeed!