Jungle Fever

courgette glut

I’ve not been down to my plot for around 9 or 10 days for various reasons, other commitments over the weekend, work, weather, blah. No real excuse really, it happens sometimes. But during my absence we’ve had some heavy bouts of rain, which I was hoping would make a difference and get the crops going a bit after the dry spell.

Little did I know just how much of a difference it would make. Take these courgettes – last time I visited there were a few very small courgettes that were not quite big enough to harvest, and now look. The small one on the end of the row is a normal sized courgette! So – stuffed marrow it is then. Could courgette breeders not create a strain that gets to a decent size and then just stops growing? Is that too much to ask?

courgette flower

Here’s the picture I took on my last visit – not a marrow in sight, enormous flowers yes, and 1 or 2 tiny courgettes on the end. They’re quite amazing plants, I’m sure if you sat for long enough you’d see them growing.

broad bean harvest

Also got a broad bean glut going on. We’ve made some broad bean hummus once already, I think there’ll be more on the way. Here’s a recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall – I think I usually put a bit more garlic in, and last time we tried adding a teaspoon of tahini which worked well. Nigel Slater puts mint in his, which I’m sure is nice.

toms

I’m still spending the majority of my time on the plot, tending the tomato plants. I’ve been trimming off the lower leaves (any in danger of sitting on the soil), tying the branches onto the supports (they’re getting heavy with fruit now) and also trimming a lot of the excess leaves away to allow air to circulate around the fruit, partly to avoid mildew or other diseases and to allow the fruit to ripen evenly. To be honest, I have no idea if I’m doing the right thing, I have a horrible feeling I’m going to get blight no matter what I do. I did spot a brown mark on one tomato which was quickly removed, no other signs of it as yet.

broccoli

I’m also a tad worried about my calabrese – my vegetable angst is endless! They’re fattening up well, but I’m not sure the heads should look quite like this, I have a feeling that the very dry weather followed by lots of rain is going to cause them to bolt quite shortly. I may have a broccoli glut on my hands soon.

water droplet

I couldn’t resist taking a close-up picture of the most enormous water droplet resting on the very edge of one of the leaves. It dispersed just after I took the photo.

alliums

These alliums growing alongside my shed must have self seeded, I certainly didn’t plant them. I think they must be leeks as I had some leeks in flower nearby last summer. I decided to leave them to flower as they’re lovely and the bees love them too.

sweetpeas 1stAug

Talking of flowers, my sweetpeas are doing well. Not very tall, but pushing out plenty of flowers.

sweetpeas at home1

I’ve taken to filling small jam jars with them and placing them randomly around the house. Better than a plug in air freshener.

1st cucumber

And finally, what looks suspiciously like another huge courgette, but is in fact my first cucumber.

Here’s what it looked like ten days ago:

cucumber

Amazing what a bit of rain can do!

Lot’s to do on the plot now, the weeds are growing as well as the crops, the poppies have finished and need chopping down to avoid spreading their seed, the strawberries have also finished and need cutting back. And there’s a whole bed recently vacated by the onions and new potatoes, so a green manure is to be sown. I think we might be shower dodging over the weekend.

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