Time to start harvesting!Posted By: rocket veg Category: Growing Veg
There is definitely more than one ‘best bit’ to having an allotment. I still get excited when seeds germinate, especially the sight of a perfect row of a tricky-to-get-started variety such as parsnip. I get huge satisfaction from removing what I am absolutely certain is every scrap of bindweed root from the soil (ha!). I love looking along neat rows of veg plants and the pristine soil in between when I have finished hoeing. But best of all is the joy of harvesting crops - the result of all the time and effort spent over the past few months - and we’ve reached that time of year when the fun really begins. Here are just a few of my favourite crops which I am in the process of harvesting…
I was once asked which of all the vegetables that I grow on my allotment is my favourite. After a moment’s thought, I replied ‘Potatoes’. A look of incredulity followed, until I justified my choice by asking if the questioner had ever eaten a freshly-harvested potato – which she hadn’t. ‘New’ potatoes, cleaned, boiled for a few minutes until just tender and served with butter, chopped chives and a scattering of Maldon salt flakes are a thing of utter delight! If you aren’t growing potatoes this season and have the space to do so, make a note to buy some seed potatoes early in the new year.
I grow both dwarf and climbing French beans, a few plants of each, some producing green pods, some a deep purple – all with lovely flowers. Much as I love what is referred to in these parts as ‘string beans’ (runners), I prefer their continental cousins – simple to prepare and cook; great crunchy finger food for my grandchildren. The first beans are just about ready and if picked on a regular basis they should crop for several weeks.
It’s the soft fruit season: black and red currants (I have a white currant bush too) which are weighed down with juicy berries like clusters of jewels in the sun. My sprawling loganberry canes are so heavy with fruit that they have snapped their supporting framework. Gorgeous gooseberries too! All this wonderful fruit makes great eating right now – or turning into jams and jellies, freezing, or if you fancy something a bit different, try steeping in gin for a few weeks for the base of a delightful summer cocktail.
Sweet baby beetroot, crisp lettuces, zingy salad onions – summer on a plate! It’s not too late to sow seed for a tasty crop in a few weeks. If you grow courgettes, don’t forget to pick them on a regular basis or you’ll end up with massive ‘fruits’ which weaken the plant. Courgette flowers are wonderful dipped in batter and deep fried, or stuffed with cream cheese.
Whether you are an experienced gardener or new to the joys of fruit and veg growing, I hope you are having a great year and being well-rewarded for all your hard work.