|Anyway, back to the redcurrants. They are superb. I never expected this much fruit from just a couple of bushes. Since that first saucepan-full, I’ve picked three more lots and there will be at least one more to go. The first batch was stewed with enough sugar to give a sweet-but-tart flavour. Stewed redcurrants make a great accompaniment to roast pork or poultry. The rest are being frozen in batches.|
|Another success story this year has been our rhubarb patch (in the corner of another raised bed), which has finally got going. I’ve managed to get four or five batches of stewed rhubarb from it. In the process, I discovered a tasty way to eat it – with vanilla yoghurt. Rachel’s Organic Vanilla is nice, if expensive. Or you can buy supermarket’s own natural yoghurt, and add sugar/natural vanilla to taste. For a more substantial dish – a proper meal as opposed to a dessert – add raw porridge oats to the yoghurt, stir in and leave for half an hour before adding the fruit.|
|Sadly, it’s not all been good news. The mouse melon seeds I planted at the same time as my tomatoes grew into healthy looking seedlings, which I hardened off outdoors before potting up and placing against our extension wall. A couple of them have died and the others are not growing at all. I don’t know what went wrong there. Not enough sun, I suspect. I still have some seeds left so will try again next year.|
Today I picked our first roast dinner-for-two sized handful of runner beans. (I had picked four or five beans earlier this week, but they don’t count.) Obviously the lateness of the beans is down to our dreary summer, but actually looking back at last year’s posts, the beans aren’t that late – maybe a week or so, perhaps.
The same cannot be said of our tomatoes, none of which are ripe yet. This time last year we were picking Gardener’s Delights and hanging basket toms every single day. This year, there are a few Gardener’s Delights which look almost on the point of turning red, but none of them are actually edible yet. We do have hundreds of tiny green fruit though. My feeling is that all our tomatoes will ripen at once in mid-August, thus prompting a frantic session of cooking: freezer portions of tomato, onion and garlic pasta sauce on the one hand, and chutney on the other. Mr Beans makes fabulous chutney.
I’m glad I never bothered with courgettes this year. I think I will wait until the sunspot cycle does its thing and we’re back to sizzling summers again.
Most of the rest of the country seems to be experiencing a total meltdown at the moment, with rioting, looting etc. So here is something nice to look at: what I picked from the containers in our front garden this morning:
The tomatoes are the first of the Gardener’s Delights (there were a couple before these but now they’re starting for real), plus there’s a small One Ball courgette.
|OK, here’s a question for all you expert gardeners out there: from the picture, what is up with my runner beans? As you can see, the leaves are discoloured and patchy-looking. I’m assuming it’s some sort of mineral deficiency (nitrogen? phosphorus?) but would appreciate a bit of advice. If it’s relevant, the bean variety is good old Scarlet Emperor.
On a completely unrelated note, I am plagued with blackfly at the moment. They started by attacking the small comfrey patch in the back garden, and are now spreading to my tomatoes. Looks as though I’ll be out with the spray gun full of soapy water tomorrow morning.
The good news: I have two respectable-looking courgettes! Yay! Go me!
Growing runner beans looks easy, but it has its pitfalls. After harvesting a nice handful of runner beans last week, they seem to have hit a bit of a brick wall – not least because a lot of the flowers have disappeared! (See pic below.) Either this is due to the high winds we’ve been having in the last few days, or some insect/slug entity has decided to put my runner bean flowers on its personal menu. I’m told by Someone Who Knows that my beans will undergo a second flowering and that I should therefore get a nice crop in September, with any luck. Hope so, because runner beans are my favourite vegetable apart from courgettes and asparagus and I would hate to think that I built my bean wigwam in vain LOL.