July 2011

Total July harvest = £81.70 / 10.34 kg

Full details of weekly harvests at bottom of page.

Week 13:  July 24 – 30

Total for week = £24.90 / 3.65 kg (2010: £24.94 / 1.47kg)

The balcony is starting to grow jungle like in parts. Here I am peering out from the Runner Bean Tower. This unusual angle was captured  by Tom Moggach of City Leaf  by climbing the scaffolding on the house next door!

Between the water butt and runner bean tower © Vertical Veg 2011 (with thanks to Tom Moggach)

A couple of weeks ago I put up an image of nasturtiums. Here’s a pot marigold, another tasty edible flower. It’s also a good attrattor of beneficial insects like this hover fly.

Hoverfly on pot marigold. The petals add colour and flavour to salads as well as looking great on the balcony or window sill © Vertical Veg 2011

Week 12:  July 17 – 23

Total for week = £24.29 / 2.70 kg (2010: £24.94 / 1.47kg)

I love harvesting at this time of year! Here’s a picking this week from the window sills at the front of the flat:

Tromboncino squash, chillies, peppers and tomatoes from the window sills © Vertical Veg 2011

And here’s a salad picked from the balcony.

Freshly picked balcony salad © Vertical Veg 2011

Week 11:  July 10 – 16

Total for week = £17.98 / 2.31 kg (2010: £19.24 / 1.22kg)

Salsola (aka agretti) is a trendy Italian salad plant / vegetable reminiscent to samphire, succulent but with less taste of the sea. I tried to grow some unsuccessfully last year. The problem was germination. Apparently you need really fresh seeds, as they go off in just a few months. This year I’ve had more success – and once established the plant grows and grows. Keep harvesting and it keeps producing more. Fantastic! Great in salads but also delicious gently fried in olive oil – serve with suasages for an easy and tasty supper.

Salsola: once going it keeps going. Intriguing looks, good in salads, delicious cooked © Vertical Veg 2011

The tomatoes are ripening slowly in this rather cold weather – nearly a kilo this week. BUT some of the tomatoes are ILL. Rats. I got really stressed about this, as the black marks on the fruits look similar to blight, a fatal disease. Luckily the problem is not blight but, most probably, blossom end rot. This is not a disease but a calcium dificiency. The sick fruits are inedible but at least it won’t spread to other plants or even fruits on the same plant. I’m indebted to @rhizowan at Radix for helping diagnose this problem.

 

Tomato with blossom end rot. It usually affects the base of the tomato but apparently can sometimes affect the side walls like this.

The nasturtiums are also in full flower and at their best – regularly brightening up our salads and adding a little zip. The young leaves at this time of year taste good, too.

Queen of edible flowers: the humble nasturtium © Vertical Veg 2011

Week 10:  July 3 – 9

Total for week = £14.53 / 1.69 kg (2010: £34.61 / 2.84kg)

If you have limited space, bushy courgettes tend to be rather space hungry. Climbing varieties make better use of space but getting courgettes to climb (even varieties that are supposed to) can be tricky. So this year I’m experimenting with Tromboncino squash. These taste similar to courgettes BUT are vigorous climbers. They also have the benefit of eye catching, if somewhat phallic fruit. So far this experiment is proving successful – the plants have shot up, are fruiting well and the taste is good. It was recommended to me by Alex Mitchell, author of the Edible Balcony – thanks Alex.

Tromboncino squash on front window sill: vigourous, eye-catching and tasty. Perfect for the container garden! © Vertical Veg 2011

 

Blueberries are another plant that grow well and look good in containers – blossom in spring, berries in June / July, attractive red foliage in the autumn. They will grow OK in part sun but are supposed to taste better in a sunny spot. This year I moved them from a shady spot on the balcony to a sunny spot outside the front door. I thought passers by could also enjoy their good looks. For some reason (change of pots?) the plants haven’t yielded so well this year even with more sun. But they do still look nice (see below). (NB Blueberries are one of the few things I don’t weigh – this is because we can seldom resist grazing on them when outside!).

Blueberries outside front door: look and taste great but less productive than last year © Vertical Veg 2011

 

 

Week 10: July 3 – 9

Sunday: 49g strawberries, 338g salad leaves, 24g lovage
Monday: 17g strawberries, 91g cherry tomatoes, 69g vine tomatoes, 26g pea & bean shoots
Tuesday: 116g pea and bean shoots
Wednesday: 235g tromboncino squash, 35g cherry tomatoes, 28g parsley, 5g chilli, 2g summer savoury.
Friday: 111g cherry bush, 23g strawberry, 159g salad leaves, 6g chives, 6g mint.
Saturday: 252g tromboncino squash, 44g mange tout, 24g runner beans, 38g cherry tomatoes, 4g chilli, 12g Vietnamese coriander.

Total for week = £14.53 / 1.69g (2010: £34.61 / 2.84kg)

Week 11: July 10 – 16

Sunday: 77g vine tomatoes, 199g salsola, 153g salad leaves, 4g mint
Monday: 81g vine tomatoes, 51g cherry tomatoes, 9g sage, 6g parsley.
Tuesday: 262g salad leaves, 161g stir fry greens, 41g cherry tomatoes, 13g chilli, 4g parsley.
Wednesday: 68g green pepper, 45g cherry toms, 55g vine tomatoes, 44g aubergine, 5g chilli.
Thursday: 26g cherry tomatoes, 17g vine tomatoes, 17g parsley, 5g mint, 6g chilli.
Friday: 216g cherry tomatoes, 91g vine tomatoes, 215g tromboncino squash, 19g chilli, 161g green peppers.
Saturday: 81g pea and bean shoots, 80g salad leaves, 70g vine tomatoes, 6g chives, 5g mint.

Total for week = £17.98 / 2.31 kg (2010: £19.24 / 1.22kg)

Week 12: July 17 – 23

Sunday: 185g bush tomatoes, 24g vine tomatoes, 52g salad leaves, 145g tromboncino squash, 58g pea and bean shoots, 5g chilli, 7g Vietnamese corriander, 5g basil.
Monday: 81g bush tomatoes, 86g pea and bean shoots, 8g Vietnamese coriander, 6g chilli.
Tuesday: 108g pea and bean shoots, 70g vine tomatoes, 6g mint
Wednesday: 24g chives, 14g mint
Thursday: 14g chives
Friday: 346g pea shoots, 157g salad leaves, 197g Chinese cabbage, 49g mint, 7g chives, 395g bush tomatoes, 68g vine tomatoes, 6 g parsley.
Saturday: 68g salsola, 14g strawberry, 12g mint, 346g tromboncino squash, 76g bush tomatoes, 7g chives, 16g parsley

Total for week = £24.29 / 2.70 kg (2010: £24.94 / 1.47kg)

Week 13: July 24 – 30

Sunday: 32g blue and white beans, 63g runners, 371g white radish, 199g vine tomatoes, 92g stir fry greens, 26g strawberries, 189g sorrel, 137g salad leaves, 34g pea shoots, 8g Vietnamese corriander.
Monday: 20g vine tomaotes, 64g strawberries, 545g tromboncino squash.
Tuesday: 294g vine tomatoes, 480g bush tomaotoes, 82g salad leaves, 165g tromboncino squash, 5g chilli.
Wednesday: 208 g tromboncino, 44g sorrel, 58g pea shoots, 67g bean shoots, 111g salad leaves, 4g chives, 351g bush tomatoes.

Total for week = £24.90 / 3.65 kg (2010: £24.94 / 1.47kg)