Saturday, 7 August 2010

August in the vegetable garden

I thought a little round up of what's growing would be in order. Despite the cold winter and late spring, this year is mostly turning out to be an excellent vegetable year, probably our best ever. Above are the first runner beans, which are now flowering well and will be at peak production in a few weeks.
And the peas have been excellent too. This is a picture of the second sowing, but I'm still getting peas from the first batch as well. The rain came at just the right time for them.
The beetroot got off to a slow start as they were planted out in the dry spell, but they're growing on well now. Strangely the plants at one end of the bed are smaller than the others, but the biggest beets are now past golf ball size so we're looking forward to harvesting them in the autumn.
These are the jerusalem artichokes which are having such a good year they're spreading into the beetroot bed next door and out into the path. I'll rectify that when I dig up the crop in the winter.
This is the biggest marrow, with my hand on the end for scale. We have lots of small marrows growing right now, so many more meals to come. This is the first year we've grown them, but it's an experiment we'll be happy to repeat next year.
The pumpkins (above) and courgettes are also doing well. The excessively wet weather of the last few weeks has rotted off a few pumpkins but there are plenty more on the way.
This is a shot of the pumpkin bed - the biggest plants I've ever grown. The only thing I did differently this year with the pumpkins, courgettes and marrows was to put a good dollop of horse manure and compost in the planting hole instead of fertilising the whole bed. Seems like it was a good thing to do.
The brassicas are also having a very good year. Here are the purple sprouting broccoli plants - staked with canes as the heavy rain and winds recently battered them a bit.
And here is one of the cabbages, which are beginning to heart up well and should be ready to pick in September. We have the obligatory slug/snail damage but generally they're growing very well.
Of course, some things are finishing now. This is almost the last picking of strawberries - pretty good to still be picking them in August when they started in June.
But not everything in the garden has been good. I've already documented the poor crop of potatoes due to dryness - here are the onions which have been similarly bad. Some of the onions have barely grown since being put in as sets. I'm seriously thinking about giving up growing onions - one of the problems with my plot is the slug/snail population which is almost impossible to control due to the grassy embankments on the steep slope and every year they decimate the onions in June/July. So this may be the last year of home-grown onions.

We're hoping for a bit of dry weather so we can get back out now, since the drought restrictions came in it's not stopped raining!
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