Just into September and the weather is beginning to change. So some crops that struggle with the very high temperatures and bright sun of summer will now begin to grow better. Crops that thrive on heat and sun will slow down.
Perhaps now is a good moment to review the successes are failures in 2012.
Tomatoes have produced a huge crop and this year I have been better at using them and preserving them. My store cupboard is full of tomato sugo, readyto use throughout the winter months to come. We’ve eaten fresh raw tomato sauce, gazpacho, and in numerous other recipes. They are coming to an end now, a little earlier than I would have liked but I can’t complain, every plant has produced more than I could possibly expect. I have cut back most of the plants, leaving off shoots from near the base in the hope that they might provide a few more trusses. I also used some off shoots as if they were cuttings, but I fear I have done this too late. I’ll update information about this in future posts.
I’ve loved preparing delicious tomato salads from all the different varieties I’ve grown, these are all small varieties but their taste packs a real punch.
Some tomatoes are now being eaten by a caterpillar
Zucchini have not been over prolific this year but if I’m honest, we’ve had as many as I’ve needed. The yellow variety were a disappointment, my favourite variety, Romanesco, were OK.
Climbing beans were not the success I was hoping for; I am pretty sure that there wasn’t enough humidity for good germination, but I will try the purple climbing beans again because they were so delicious. Dwarf beans were more abundant and I managed a successional planting so that I have lots more to pick now, I have made another sowing outside and will also sow in the greenhouse to hopefully have green beans until December.
Barlotti beans were also very good. I harvested some fresh and some dried in the pod, and then allowed the plants to continue growing; great as I’m now harvesting again from just one early sowing (March, I think)
Cucumbers were slow, there’s been enough for when I made gazpacho but really they needed more water and not quite such hot temperatures.
Capsicums and aubergines (melanzane in Italian) have been very stunningly prolific this year. One pepper plant alone had 18 fruits on it yesterday. I’m impressed because other years I’ve started with some grafted plants which everyone says produce more fruit more quickly but they have never been as good as this year.
I should probably thin the fruits on the peppers as the plants seem hardly big enough to support them
I picked a washing up bowl full on Sunday
…and another earlier last week
I roasted some prior to making into a concentrated sauce which I froze in ice-cube trays
Others made a roasted vegetable ratatouille
Melanzane I use to make baba ghanoush, curry, caponata, and some I prepare as in the image above and then freeze.
Strawberries produced prodigiously early in the summer, then a little rest with just a few bowlfuls now they are producing well again, with lots to eat and some I made into purée then mixed with Prosecco for a rather nice aperitivo.
Prosecco with some ice-cubes of frozen strawberry purèe, a little sugar and ……
Basil, both Genovese and Thai provide all I need and enough to freeze for winter use. Although I only make pesto in summer with fresh basil, I like to eat seasonally so don’t mind not having some things at certain times of year.
Raspberries need cooler temperatures than we’ve had this year, the early crop was miniscule but the autumn crop is a little bigger so we’re eating and freezing some every few days.
Chard is looking good and will hopefully take us through the winter. I’ve already planted broccoli, pointy cabbage, red cabbage and fennel. I have ready to plant some more broccoli and some cavolo nero and another type of cabbage. I planted leeks last week. I planted quite a few because I won’t have enough onions to take me through the winter this year. Last year so many went rotten, but I did have enough to last until the new crop so perhaps I’ll plant a lot again this winter.
I’m pretty happy with the crops this year, I haven’t bought vegetables or fruit except for a couple of melons, the fox ate mine!
What are you harvesting now?
This meme is great to compare what you grow and harvest with other gardeners across the world. Especially fun to compare the garden crops in the southern hemisphere with those in the north. Go to: The Garden Blog to read more.
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