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What are you harvesting today?

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Post by Chilli-head on 19th August 2016, 4:42 pm

I really rate Rose de Berne, lovely size, colour and flavour.

My tomatoes are in a bit of a lull after we picked off loads before heading to Cornwall. We did get some big Red Pear though earlier this week to make Greek style stuffed peppers and tomatoes. Last night at the allotment I picked another 2lb of purple teepee beans. A 4-5' row seems to produce that many about every two weeks. I have again cooked them to Madhur Jaffery's
spicy green beans recipe, which freezes much better than the raw beans and is my favourite curry side dish. They are cooked with lots of garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin, dried red chilli and tomato. I freeze them mostly cooked, and freshen them up on re-heating with ground roasted cumin and a squirt of lemon. Interestingly, though the purple of the beans fades on cooking, it imparts a wine dark red colour to the tomato sauce, which I rather like.

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Post by Ploshkin on 19th August 2016, 7:44 pm

Amazingly another bowlful of gorgeous strawberries. It's Mr P's birthday tomorrow so I made strawberry tarts which are one of his favourites. I've still got enough left for something else. They have been producing almost non stop since the end of May.
Harvested my last sweetcorn cob. I have had 8 good ones from 11 plants and some small partially pollinated ones. None of the later ones to form got pollinated. I may have been a bit overzealous with my shaking early on because there was no pollen left or does that happen anyway. They weren't wasted because the pigs love them. As it was my first attempt at sweetcorn I'm pleased with the result.
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Post by freebird on 20th August 2016, 5:35 pm

CH - do you grow Rose de Berners-Lee outside or in the greenhouse? I only ever tried them once, but all the plants succumbed to blight before any usable fruit. They were outside.
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Post by Ploshkin on 24th August 2016, 3:05 pm

64 lbs of honey. I haven't finished harvesting yet but made a start this morning. It's not one of my favourite jobs but the result is one of my favourite things. It looks as though the season isn't going to be as much of a wash out as expected.
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Post by Dandelion on 24th August 2016, 5:32 pm

Ploshkin wrote:64 lbs of honey.  I haven't finished harvesting yet but made a start this morning.  It's not one of my favourite jobs but the result is one of my favourite things.  It looks as though the season isn't going to be as much of a wash out as expected.

That's an amazing yield!

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Post by Ploshkin on 24th August 2016, 7:54 pm

Actually, Dandelion, it's a mediocre yield. I would expect 80 - 100 lbs from 4 hives. I do still have some more boxes to come off but they could be empty (or full).
I'm just cooking my first Mr Fearns beans of the year - they really are a good, reliable variety.
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Post by Dandelion on 24th August 2016, 7:56 pm

Well, to a non-beekeeper it sounded like a lot!! If you picked 64lb of runner beans you would be wondering what on earth you were going to do with them all!

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by freebird on 28th August 2016, 3:26 pm

At last, my Roma tomatoes are ripening. Picked first one today.
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Post by Ploshkin on 30th August 2016, 11:57 am

I need to up my preserving game. I've come back from the polytunnel with 16 tomatoes the size of oranges (Marglobe and Ruby). It's not a problem I've encountered previously.
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Post by Chilli-head on 30th August 2016, 12:44 pm

You might consider one of these:

http://www.seedsofitaly.com/PASSATA_MACHINE_BY_RIGAMONTI_OF_LECCO/p1834925_15092652.aspx

We put a few pounds of San Marzano's through ours yesterday. Works a treat, and you can get small children to crank it, if available. Ours has grown out of that now Neutral

The freezer is now full of bags of passata and Madhur Jaffery style spicy green beans. Had to oust the cool bag freezer blocks - any more and we may have to evict the vacuvin wine cooler jackets Shocked
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Post by freebird on 30th August 2016, 12:49 pm

CH - you may have missed seeing this further up the page. Do you grow Rose de Berners-Lee outside or in the greenhouse? I only ever tried them once, but all the plants succumbed to blight before any usable fruit. They were outside.
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Post by Chilli-head on 30th August 2016, 1:03 pm

Ah, sorry. Been away on hols, I did see it and meant to reply, yes, under glass. All my tomatoes are under glass now, they always get blighted otherwise. I used to be able to get away with pots/baskets of cherry toms on the patio, but even they seem to fail now.
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Post by Dandelion on 30th August 2016, 4:16 pm

Beans, beans and more beans. Now that it's only Mr D and myself, I must grow fewer plants. 20 tomatoes and 15 bean plants of different sorts is really too many for two people (although our youngest does like to have a stroll round the garden collecting fruit and veg to take back to her new flat when she visits, which is lovely!)

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Ploshkin on 13th September 2016, 2:42 pm

In case any of you think I am delusional and that my everlasting strawberries are a figment of my imagination, this is what I picked on Saturday. I have picked about the same again this morning. The plants were runners pegged down last year and grown in 4 self watering hanging baskets in the polytunnel. I had my first major pick in the last week of May and after a short rest they have continued to crop continuously. Problem is that they have produced no runners at all this year so I will have to use the same plants next season.


I also picked 8 lbs of whopping tomatoes this morning, some of them weighing 1/2 lb. Earlier on they were a bit lacking in flavour but now they are fantastic. (Growing bigger tomatoes with a taste was one of my main reasons for wanting to try a polytunnel). They are particularly good cut horizontally into thick slices and grilled. I've also picked my very first, really good, undamaged sweet peppers. They've managed to get to about tennis ball size which is a tennis ball more than I have ever managed before. I've had most of my Victoria plums too now except for those I can't reach - I'm waiting for them to drop off. I've got a big boxful cut up in the freezer ready for plum and russet mincemeat (gorgeous) when the russets appear in the shops.
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Post by freebird on 13th September 2016, 9:25 pm

So what exactly are self-watering hanging baskets? And the variety of strawberry? Think I would like to have a go at that next year.
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Post by Dandelion on 13th September 2016, 9:39 pm

freebird wrote:So what exactly are self-watering hanging baskets? And the variety of strawberry? Think I would like to have a go at that next year.

Me too!

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Ploshkin on 14th September 2016, 12:05 pm

The hanging baskets are https://www.amazon.co.uk/Stewart-Corinthian-Hanging-Basket-Green/dp/B005DLCHXO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473850472&sr=8-1&keywords=stewart+corinthian+hanging+basket+-+green+round+31.5+cm
I hope that that link doesn't come out as long as it looks.
They have a 2 litre reservoir which is filled by a tube that sticks out the top (I use a small funnel). The 'false bottom' that the compost sits on has a layer of capillary matting with a tongue that hangs down into the water. I have had 3 of these for 20 years and when I empty them out I cut a new piece of matting to fit. The old ones are just as good as when they were new, they haven't gone brittle and they have spent each winter outside when they have had strawberry plants in them. I bought 4 new ones for the tunnel and was pleased to see that the quality appears to be just as good. The are not expensive either. I find that the reservoir can last up to a week but in the polytunnel when there has been sun all day it will last about 3 days.

The strawberries are Mara De Bois. When I first got them 3 years ago they weren't very easy to come by but they are now readily available. They are everbearers so they crop throughout the season rather than having one big flush (though this year they have surpassed all previous cropping in the greenhouse). I have 5 plants in each basket.
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Post by Dandelion on 14th September 2016, 4:50 pm

That's a good recommendation Ploshkin - will put on my list of 'new things to try in the garden next year'!!

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by Ploshkin on 14th September 2016, 4:57 pm

An advantage of growing strawberries in baskets is that you can move them outdoors or under cover depending on how the season goes. As I said, I always winter them outside but you can choose how early to bring them in to kick start them.
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Post by freebird on 14th September 2016, 7:55 pm

Thanks for that Ploshkin. I think I will get some of those baskets and try a few of that variety of strawberry too. I currently have one in the ground that I bought in a hanging basket - forget the variety but has bright pink flowers. It's giving a few berries now, so perhaps it's an ever bearer too.
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Post by Chilli-head on 18th September 2016, 11:17 am

Very impressed by the strawberries.

I spotted yesterday that as a compensation for the very wet start to the year that meant my carrots never got sowed, my quince tree looks to have a few quinces on it this year. Pork casserolled with quince .... mmm.

We are still in a bean crisis here, we can't eat them all ! The freezer is full of beans, peas and passata, so at least some sucess this year.
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Post by Ploshkin on 27th September 2016, 1:26 pm

Still more strawberries and zillions of fabulous Mr Fearn's beans. Tomatoes are coming to a conclusion in the polytunnel but I have let the sungolds and black cherries ramble across the crop bars and they look set to produce for a while yet. This is my polytunnel squash harvest (minus a few that I have used or given away). Orange ones are Uchiki Kuri and the others are Sweet Dumpling. I'm hoping that they will store ok. I have a prison van that I use to store beehive parts and I am trying the squashes in one of the storage cupboards in there. Its frost free, nice and dry and ventilated so fingers crossed.
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Post by Chilli-head on 27th September 2016, 2:07 pm

I remember reading somewhere that squashes store well in a warm place, and so stored mine on top of the eye-level cupboards in the kitchen. It worked well enough, they keep well into the winter. But when a pumpkin gets forgotten until spring and exudes putrid pumpkin juice into the cupboards, it is not pleasant to clean up Embarassed

That looks like a good barrow full. I have grown both of those at some point. Uchiki Kuri is qute a good flavour, I seem to remember. The Sweet dumpling were good roasted a little then filled with beef chilli, topped off with cheese and baked ...

I have harvested my pumpkins, they are the only things i have had stolen from the allotment in past years. I got only 2, but one is very big, I guess a good 18". I have a few butternuts left to harvest, they seem to attract less attention from the low life so can stay on the plant a bit longer.
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Post by Dandelion on 27th September 2016, 7:38 pm

Ploshkin wrote: I have a prison van that I use to store beehive parts and I am trying the squashes in one of the storage cupboards in there.  Its frost free, nice and dry and ventilated so fingers crossed.

You can't say something like that without elaborating...

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Ploshkin on 29th September 2016, 6:18 pm

You can't say something like that without elaborating...
I suppose that does sound a bit strange. Mr P buys old lorries, trailers, horseboxes and whatever else takes his fancy. He breaks them up & sells bits for export and the rest for scrap. He came across an ex prison van and got it for someone who wanted it for storage but they never came up with the cash so I appropriated it (minus the cab and chassis) and had it installed next to my beehives. It has 4 cells, each one 2'6" x 2' which are perfect for stacking hive parts which are 18" square. It also has 2 floor to ceiling storage cupboards 2' deep plus other nooks and crannies. It's bee proof, damp free and ventilated so no condensation. The only problem I've had is getting the seats out of the cells as they are designed to be vandal and removal proof.
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Post by Dandelion on 29th September 2016, 8:44 pm

Amazing!!

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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