Friday, 7 August 2015

Delicious garden treats daily

Flowers of dwarf runner bean 
It's at this time of year that we really enjoy the fruits of our labour in the production garden. Yes, we've had mid-summer fruit, early potatoes harvested and the first wave of salads and peas too, however, it is these months that we'll see sooo much more in terms of harvesting. This includes salsd crops, vegetable crops, edibles from the flower borders, and late Summer and Autumn fruit. I do consider myself somewhat of a forager, however, this is an area I'm going to have to make time to be educated and brush up on, particularly in the area of mushrooms, edible fungi, etc.

Pea 'Shiraz'
In my garden, among the many edibles I've been enjoying, is the mange tout pea called 'Shiraz'. It has a purple pod, adding some nice colour to the plate. I eat these raw, despite OH telling me I've to cook them, blanch them, etc. I've about half a dozen plants, and as the pods have been appearing, I've been using. This allows a constant, albeit small, regular tasty supply (that rarely makes it to the kitchen table). There have been other pea crops too, and I might just sow some additional seeds and see how a later crops gets on. 

I have four plants of sweet bell peppers, which are now showing signs of ripening produce. This is my third or fourth year growing these, and I'm still working out how to get the best from these plants of Mexican origin, in our damp temperate climate, even with the use of a glass house. 

Grape, 'Rhondo'
Sweet bell pepper ripening
When we first moved into the house, I was determined to grow some decent grapes. Well, four years, and some learning later, I have bunches of grapes ripening on a variety called 'Rhondo'. The grape ripens to a dark sweet flavour, and the the bunch pictured is from a plant I lifted from the garden about 18 months ago and placed into a big container. Of the other two I planted, one has died and the other has grown wildly out doors, but with little fruit. So, some pruning work to do there in the Autumn. This one though, will remain indoors in the greenhouse, and I'm planning to construct a small raised bed for it to grow in. 

Broccoli
I do have some nice broccoli growing too. These were bought as small plants, potted on and finally planted into their current position. Similar to the peas, they produce a small amount regularly, which I harvest and use. The side shoots are particularly nice raw and straight off the plant. Yum. I do find it strange, that on the one hand, in the shrub border, I celebrate seeing butterflies land on plants, draw nectar, etc. and in the vegetable garden when I see the same butterfly I turn into some sort of manic figure, swiping at them for the generations of broccoli and cabbage plants that have been eating ... real Jekyll and Hyde stuff ... Lol
Hemerocallis, unnamed scented (and tasty) variety
I mentioned edible flowers. Although I'm still an apprentice learning his trade, there are a couple I can mention. The one that is most obvious to me is the Nasturium. this produces leaves which add a peppery taste to any salad leaf mix. And the flowers are great to introduce some colour too. The plant I have tried the flowers of this year are the Hemerocallis, or Day-Lily. The taste is light and refreshing, and I believe the pale yellow flowers are the most used and tasty. We've an unnamed variety that fits this description that I've been enjoying, both to look at, and no to taste this year. Do be warned though, don't go eating any other part of the flower or stem. In fact, don't go eating any parts of plants unless you've taken some good advice from a reliable source ! 
Mix of fruit, can you name them?
Lettuce we pick from
I enjoyed the fruit picking last month. While the glut of strawberries, gooseberries, loganberries and raspberries have just about finished, there is still plenty to enjoy. My blueberries are just coming in, as are the blackberries and autumn raspberries too. I do have some later fruiting strawberries, and of course I throw in the odd Fuchsia berry too. Again, I pick almost daily and have enough to add to my morning cereal. What more could one ask for? 

More lettuce
Tomatoes ripening at last
On the salad front, I have green and red lettuce that we use as pick and come again. These are almost finished, so I'll have to prick out some plants that I have growing, or buy some fresh plants from the garden centre. I will also so some beetroot and kale for fresh autumn salad leaves too. I don't have any salad onions growing at the moment, so I should consider sowing some seed of these too. Tomatoes as coming along nicely as well. the plants really took a battering in the spring, and it was the warm weather in June that brought them on so well. I've mine growing in containers, in a nice rich mostly soil based (home-made)compost, and I'm now starting to feed them. We do need a bit more heat to ripen the growing fruit, or, I'll have to research using the skins of bananas in order to assist the process. It's been a fair few years since I've tried this, so any advice is welcome.    

There is plenty more going on in the garden that are yet to come in to their own, including sweetcorn, spaghetti squash and onions. However, I'll update you on these another time. 

Thanks for stopping by, and happy gardening.