State of the nation... errr... garden

It's glut time on the tomato front! I really need to do a big harvest and preserve of my cherry tomatoes, which are dripping off the bushes. There's been a distinct crisp nip in the air the last few mornings, so their days are definitely numbered. Most of the tomatoes I've been boiling down to sauce and freezing, but these are so pretty in all their different colours that I want to cold-pack them into Agee jars with some of the smaller specimens from my onion harvest and a few cloves of garlic. Come winter, I can boil up and sieve each meal-sized jar into a ready-combined sauce. Saves me time and effort at this end of things when there's so much preserving to do all at once!

The beans are grinding to a halt, which is almost a relief as they're filling up our chest freezer (and it seemed so big when we got it...). Still getting enough for a feed every couple of days though. With the aforementioned nearly-frostiness we'll be harvesting the pumpkins in the next day or two as well - I can see 17, but there's probably a few more than that hiding about the place. The courgettes have pretty much succumbed to the usual late-season mildew now but the scallopini, rampicante (trombone zucchini) and kumi kumi are still going, along with one of the cucumbers.

The winter vege seedlings all went in on the weekend - a bit late but they should be fine (if the bloody cat would stop digging them up, grrr!). Broccoli, cauliflower, cavolo nero, curly kale, Florence fennel, perpetual spinach and chard. Perhaps a bit hopefully, I've also stuck in some late carrot, beetroot, radish and parsnip seed. Again a bit late, but they can take their chances. I get random self-seeding lettuces as a bonus. :-)

I've harvested my first experimental crop of borlotti beans - I left them on the bush as long as possible because I wanted to dry them for winter. I got 2 1-litre jars worth of beans off a patch of plants about 60cm x 60cm! Will definitely plant a bigger patch next year (though our entire section is only 350 sq/m, so space is tight (and lawn is almost non-existent - just a bit left for the bunnies). :-)

Back on the preserving front, I've been bottling the pears we were given and turning the also-gifted quinces into my usual jelly and membrillo. Mmmmm, membrillo with cheeseboard...

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Comment by Sarah Gallagher on April 13, 2009 at 3:43pm
Oh, I love membrillo, I've some scrumped quinces yellowing up on the bench in preparation for some. It sounds like you have a wonderfully productive garden Jo!

We've got a massive section, almost too much to handle. I tried borlotti beans but only harvested a cupful which was a bit disappointing as I'd planted about 8 plants. I'd love to try them again. What kind of ground were you growing them in? Do you mulch? How often do you apply feed?

I've cavolo nero, broccoli, savoy cabbage, red cabbage, rainbow chard, spinach, jerusalem artichokes, bull's blood beets and sorrel in the vege garden at the moment.

Looking forward to chatting!

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