Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Growing My Own Fruit and Vegetables

I've been really disorganised this year, and pretty thoughtless when it comes to planning ahead. We're usually on holiday around the third week in June, which is before the garden really needs a lot of attention as far as gathering in crops is concerned.  This year, for various reasons, we are not going away until the end of July, which looks as if it's going to be the peak of the harvest period as far as much of the garden is concerned. I can get neighbours to take the vegetables which are ready to eat, but it means we will miss out on the benefits of home grown produce, and to use a cliché, lose the fruits of our labours.

The photo above is of part of my small veg patch showing runner beans at the front, then mangetout peas, with courgettes and potatoes behind. In the part of the garden you can't see there is rhubarb, a strawberry bed and red onions, and a raised bed for salad stuff. We also grow tomatoes against the house, under a south facing bedroom window, and some herbs and more strawberries in pots on the patio. There is also a row of three minarette apple trees and two gooseberry bushes in one of the flower beds in the back garden.

Oh - and I mustn't forget a photo of the rainbow chard (above)  to show Celia - these leaves are just under 12" (30cm) high and will be picked soon. I'm using smaller leaves and thinnings in salads.

While watering the garden yesterday evening, I realised something was missing. All the fruit from one of our gooseberry bushes had gone! It was only a small bush and this year would have been the first small harvest, but it was a gooseberry which was red when ripe, and I was looking forward to mixing the fruit with the green gooseberries from the older bush. In a panic, I picked the gooseberries from the other bush, before the same fate befell them - birds, I guess, looking for some variety in their diet! The green bush gave us just over 500g of fruit, and I reckon there was about another 150g of fruit which was eaten from the red bush. Together they would have made a couple of generous pies or crumbles.

Here's where the disorganisation comes in again - I have very little room in my freezer at the moment - really bad planning. I think I can squeeze either these gooseberries or some of the prolific rhubarb in, but not both! I've already baked a tart with some of the rhubarb and the last of the strawberries for dessert for the next few days. I've also got some ripe but not very tasty pears which I want to cook soon. Now that the garden is becoming more productive, I really must be more organised, so that I can deal with the excess properly, or we are going to be giving a lot of produce away.

7 comments:

Jude said...

That chard is very pretty! And it all looks much more organised than mine even though I have most of the things you mention, plus aubergines. What a pain re the gooseberries, although I expect the birds had a good feast . . .

snowy said...

I can sympathise with you Sue as we have lots of vegetables and fruit ready to eat, but we've now sold our house, so there's not much point putting it in the freezer. I'm having to give lots away.
Your beds look so well organised and neat.

Joanna said...

Lovely photos Sue! It's the same dilemma for all of us with our all-at-once little harvests, small domestic freezers and holidays. I am sure your neighbours appreciate your kindness. Someimes I get lucky and do swaps with other growing neighbours who have different crops, I had some very nice Japanese onions the other week from my next door neighbour. She has ended up with rather a lot of lettuce lately :)

Suelle said...

Jude & Snowy - although it is quite organised, it only looks neat because I carefully chose the best photos, and tried not to photograph the weeds!

Joanna - I think I've persuaded my mother to come over to pick the excess - with a bit of luck she will freeze some for us. At the very least it will keep things like the runner beans and corgettes cropping for when we get back.

Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial said...

Sue, I saw the pic of the rainbow chard before I read the text - and thought, ooh, they actually look so pretty! The yellow and red stems look lovely. I finally talked Pete into just buying a $3 pack of seeds and we'll see how we go. I love how much of your own food you get from your garden, and am madly hoping we'll be able to do the same in about six months time. Thanks for the inspiration.. :)

Suelle said...

Hi Celia - thought you'd like the photo of the chard! :) The garden is getting more productive as we manage to improve the soil. It's heavy clay, so not very good for roots - apart from potatoes.

Foodycat said...

I wonder if you can bottle the rhubarb? Save a bit of freezer space!