Time to reflect on the vegetable(s) I enjoyed towards the end of the summer.
The beetroot has increased in size since blood & bone was scattered in at seed planting time. It doesn’t smell particularly nice (stand down wind if you possibly can), but it has certainly made a difference. A friend said “all the good stuff does smell bad” and I think she’s probably right! The rainbow carrots produced well too, and like the beetroot, can really just be left alone after sowing to do their own thing. Sadly, they taste no different, at least I don’t think so. But they make a pretty roast!
Corn was fun to grow and mostly trouble free. To maximise space, I decided to grow some pumpkins and squash at the corners of the same bed. It wasn’t quite achieving the “three sisters” companion planting of pumpkin, corn and beans, but a respectable effort. Next time: plant less! There is only a small window to enjoy corn at its best. I managed to give some away, but I was still left with some rather dry corn, which even in fritters was not the greatest celebration of all that home growing!
Then we come to the pumpkin growing itself. A mixed bag really. November wind decimated the large seedlings I’d planted out in late October. One by one, their leaves were stripped. I had a few ‘less choice’ seedlings as back ups, but all the labels got mixed up. So I direct sowed a selection at the corners of the bed: Atlantic Giant pumpkin, butternut squash and sunbeam squash (the funny flying saucers). From this late sowing, I’ve produced two 8kg pumpkins – Atlantic Giant certainly lives up to the name. The spoil from cutting them up goes to feed the worms in my new Hungry Bin worm farm.There are two green butternuts still lolling about the garden but as its late May, I’m not hopeful they’ll colour up in time. It’s true, the big leafed vines of these plants do march all over the garden. But they certainly make it lush and jungly!
Growing a mix of tomatoes has been fun, but by far and large the most abundant cropper has been the Yellow Pear cherry tomato. Cups full of them every few days. Towards the end, I had to reduce them all into a delicious pasta sauce with the giant basil growing nearby. The seaweed base I planted the tomatoes into prooved too good and the growth went mad without necessarily lots more fruit. Growing them in a row at the back of the bed made them hard to get to for constant thinning and tying up. Hopefully by next summer, that seaweed has mellowed, and I’ll try growing them in a squarer bed at the corners for better access.