August 2010

Full details of weekly harvests at bottom of page

Week 17: August 21 – 27

Total for week = £54.40 / 5.6 kg

My lack of tomato growing experience has resulted in very poor tomato management. The vine tomatoes became unwieldy triffids. A few stems even split (horror!) due to the weight of swelling tomatoes. In early July, I realised my mistake and cut them back drastically.

The good news is that, despite my mistreatment, the tomatoes are still producing well – around 4 kilos for the week, and still loads more to come.

Appallingly managed tomatoes - amazingly still producing well

The early ripening promises made by the Real Seed Catalogue have proved spot on. The cherry bush tomato (second from left, above) started producing ripe tomatoes over one month ago. Meanwhile, the Tiny Tim and Tumbling Tom tomatoes bought from other sources are only just beginning to turn:

Still Green: 'Tiny Tim' tomatoes on south facing window sill.

The green  salad harvest has been relatively small (just 173 g) this week while I wait for new plants to establish. The two achocha plants, living in a relatively small pot (around 10 litres), continue to produce an unexpectedly large yield. We ate these on Tuesday in black bean stew:

Achocha harvest - all this from a 10 litre pot and still more to come

This week we’ve also eaten a steady trickle of runner and french beans, some more pak choi, lots of basil and mint and the last of the carrots. After a lull while it recovered from producing a huge marrow (see below) the courgette plant is producing courgettes again, one eaten this week – and the squash at the front has two new fruits on the go!

Week 16: August 14 – 20

Total for week = £53.32 / 8.1 kg

Over £50 of produce in a week for the first time. Will this be the highest for the year, I wonder?

The space I invested in tomato plants is beginning to pay dividends, with around £20  worth of tomatoes – both  cherry and Costoluto Genovese (see pic) -  tomatoes for the week.

Costoluto Genovese tomatoes growing in container with water reservoir on south facing window sill

The Pak Choi has been growing larger than I expected in fairly shallow (around 4 inch) containers on the back wall. Here’s some I harvested for a stir fry. A few of the outer leaves had been attacked by some sort of leaf miner – but the inner leaves are all fine as you can see.

Pak Choi - this is a fast growing variety - 'Green Boy' - from the Real Seed catalogue

The large hubbard squash (over 3kg) was harvested and half was eaten. I was expecting it to taste like a butternut squash, but actually the firm juicy flesh is more akin to marrow. Good texture, mild flavour – not great in a risotto that butternut is so good for. Will cook the other half using the masala recipe that was so successful for the marrow.

Slaughtering the fattened calf - great firm texture but a little low on flavour

After over a month of flowering, the aubergine has FINALLY started to develop two fruits. It’s a delight to watch them grow each day.

Aubergines on south facing window sill - finally beginning to set fruit

As the weather starts to cool and days shorten, now’s the time to plan and get ready for autumn and winter crops. Here are some Cavelo Nero and Chinese cabbage seedlings I’ve just transplanted into small pots inside, ready to go into containers when the tomatoes finish.

Cavelo Nero and Chinese Cabbage seedlings - also an experimental courgette

Week 15: August 7 – 13

Total for week = £47.15 / 8.19kg

A record harvest by miles! Over 8 kilos of produce.

The tomatoes are just coming into their own – over 1.5kg of cherry toms. The first large tomatoes are just ripening as well. Fingers firmly crossed that blight doesn’t strike – it’s such a nightmare at this time of year.

Red jewells: cherry tomatoes

Part of this week’s record harvest is down to a huge 3.7kg marrow (although it only accounted for £2.58 in value). The recipes we found to cook it have been a complete revelation – see here.

'What on earth is this?' Giant marrow evades capture while we're on hols

We’ve also had over a kilo of runner beans. This is another vegetable that suffers from poor treatment in the supermarkets – sad, flabby beans taste yuck. But freshly picked and sliced they are versatile and delicious. I use them in stir fries and soups as well as on their own with a bit of butter and pepper.

Runners

Week 14:  July 30 – August 6

Total for week = £14.40 / 1.03 kg

Second week of our holidays. Lu (who’s watering while we’re away) comments in the growing diary: ‘The builders opposite greatly interested in the squash. They’re monitoring its progress closely!’

Large squash attracts curiosity of passers by...

Harvest Details for August 2010

Week 14:  July 30 – August 6

Sunday:  315g climbing beans, 10g basil, 27g blueberries.
Monday: 190g runner beans, 113g salad, 8g mint, 7g basil.
Friday: 239g salad, 70g runner beans, 42g mint

Total for week = 1.03 kg; value = £14.40
Total since 1 May = 14.4kg;  total value = £238.25

Week 15:   August 6 – 13

Saturday: 29g salad
Sunday: 162g cherry tomatoes, 93g runner beans, 147g chard.
Monday: 3.68kg marrow (!!), 12og sald, 256g runner beans, 219g large tomatoes, 140g pak choi, 170g stir fry greens, 77g carrots, 40g courgette, 6g chilli, 8g corriander, 8g Vietnamese coriander, 8g Thai basil.
Tuesday: 462g cherry tomatoes, 52g salad, 148g climbing beans, 6g rosemary.
Wednesday: 185g cherry tomatoes, 68g salad, 4g basil.
Thursday: 853g runner beans, 311g cherry tomatoes, 42g green pepper, 297g salad leaves, 7g basil, 90g carrots, 8g perilla, 9g Vietnamese coriander, 6g chilli.
Friday: 465g cherry tomatoes, 6g Vietnamese coriander, 4g chilli.

Total for week = 8.19kg; value = £47.15
Total since 1 May = 22.96 kg; total value = £287.06

Week 16:   August 14 – 20

Saturday: 656g large tomatoes, 157g cherry tomatoes, 71g runner beans, 78g salad, 137g carrots, 44g basil, 157g stir fry greens.
Sunday: 202g large tomatoes.
Monday: 91g achocha, 73g chinese cabbage, 104g pak choi, 49g cherry tomatoes, 29g basil, 165g pole beans, 66g runner beans.
Tuesday: 3.21kg hubbard squash, 182g salad leaves, 166g runner beans, 186g chrry tomatoes.
Wednesday: 667g large tomatoes, 118g cherry tomatoes, 76g pole beans, 18g basil.
Thursday: 416g cherry tomatoes, 6g savoury, 161g mizuna (salad leaves).
Friday: 370g pak choi, 191g salad, 231g runner beans, 22g pole beans.

Total for week = 8.10kg; value = £53.32
Total since 1 May = 31.1 kg; total value = £340.38

Week 17:   August 21 – 27

Saturday: 371g cherry tomatoes, 453g large tomatoes, 64g runner beans, 79g salad leaves, 32g mint, 25g mixed herbs, 16g chillis, 26g basil, 207g climbing beans.
Sunday: 426g large tomatoes, 295g pak choi, 8g Vietnamese coriander, 159g carrots, 6g chilli, 12g mixed herbs, 11g thyme.
Monday: 231g large tomatoes, 220g achocha, 349g cherry tomatoes, 8g mint
Tuesday: 116g climbing beans, 139g runner beans, 683g large tomatoes, 145g cherry tomatoes.
Wednesday: 26g salad, 122g cherry tomatoes, 135g courgettes, 197g large tomatoes.
Thursday: 148g runner beans, 310g large tomatoes, 85g cherry tomatoes.
Friday: 408g large tomatoes, 23g parsley.

Total for week = 5.62kg; value = £54.40
Total since 1 May = 36.7 kg; total value = £397.36