The Garden Update

Things have been busy in the garden. We’re very much throw it in, leave it and hope for the best kind of gardeners, some stuff worked better than others. We’re new to vegetable gardening so it has been a steep learning curve. We’ve also had to contend with slugs and caterpillars chomping away at the leaves. Where is the resident Mr & Mrs Toad (who usually live under the BBQ) when we need them?!?

I suppose we’re living proof you can grow veg in containers in a small garden and with no greenhouse. Although we’re by no means self-sufficient the few veg we have managed to grow has helped to cut down on shopping bills and nothing tastes better than veg picked fresh from the garden.

When I saw the seed packet for Rainbow Carrots I knew I had to have them. Although the seed packet was mixed it produced mostly white/yellow carrots that looked like parsnips. They may not have been the traditional carotene orange, but they sure tasted good. Sweet and succulent with a strong carrot flavour. They were very easy to grow, but lost some due to bolting back in July.

This year we’ve grown 3 varieties of tomatoes. Tumbling Toms in hanging baskets plus Black Tomatoes and some tomatoes that according to the packaging are the sweetest in the world. They were started in Hubby’s dads greenhouse. We have lots of tomatoes, but none are ripen and ready to eat yet. We need to good few days of sunshine to get them red. If they don’t hurry up and ripen we’ll be making a huge batch of green tomato chutney.

Today we dug up the last of the beets. These are the same beets I used in my crazy coloured beetroot risotto. The shape of them means they are perfect for growing in pots. Like the carrots we lost some to bolting, but whats left are lovely sweet and earthy beetroots. When they started to grow they were so sweet and tender you could eat them raw.

I think the Blue Ballet Squash plants deserve the award for the “I can take over the garden” award. We started out with 5 seeds. 1 didn’t germinate leaving us with 4 in the pot. As the plants grew 2 of the plants were transferred to my parent’s garden, it has now got to the point were I’m donating one of the plants to school’s Gardening Club as they are beginning encroach on the rest of the garden. According to the literature that came with the seeds “Each plant should produce two or three fruits up to 2kg each”. Trust me, the rate we’re going we’ll be eating squash for breakfast, lunch and dinner! I love the way the plant winds itself around anything it can grasp. It’s amazing how strong the little coils are. This is also one of the seeds we’ve been growing for the River Cottage Seed Project. In the next week we’re hoping to try some of the flowers.

Now for the disappointing veg we’ve tried to grow. The picture above is the only Blauhide french bean we have. It’s about an inch long. I don’t think we’ll be cooking with it any time soon! It’s a shame as it is one of the River Cottage seeds. It could be that the pots are just not suitable for the beans.

These Falstaff sprouts were doing fantastically until a few days ago. We’ve had a sudden infestation of caterpillars. Probably explains why the garden has been full of butterflies recently. Serves me right laughing at the state of the school gardening club’s cabbages, earlier on in the week, which are in a similar state.

So with the lessons we’ve learnt this year Hubby has already ordered seeds for next year. Bring it on!

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