30th September 2016: I love the fact that when growing your own, each vegetable has a season and then it’s over for that year. It means that you really enjoy the fresh vegetables, mourn their passing then look forward to whatever is next in season.
We have eaten the last of the sweetcorn and the plants have been pulled up along with the French beans that wound around them. Interestingly the courgettes we grew in between the sweetcorn (see Almost Planted Up- 3rd June), which have produced poorly all summer, are now romping away as they can see more light. Hopefully they will produce for a while longer.
We are also coming to the end of the lettuce in the garden due in part to the slugs. I have managed to keep us self-sufficient in lettuce all year and we do eat a lot of lettuce as we have a salad for lunch most days in summer. My normal procedure is to plant seeds inside a plastic ring cut from a large water bottle. Once the seedlings are a couple of inches high I plant them out but I always plant more seeds in the ring. This way we have a succession of crops.
In spring when the first lettuce are growing we go out at night and pick up any slugs we find which cuts the population for a while. Unfortunately slugs mainly come out when it’s dark so once the light nights arrive they are left to their own devices and so the population increases, especially if we have rain. And this year they have obviously increased well as no matter what tricks I employ they are eating the lettuce as fast as I can plant them out.
We have a new crop of chard which is growing really well. Our first crop went to seed probably through lack of water when we had a stretch of hot weather. I had planted a row of seeds in the back garden to pick as baby leaves to go with salads so we transferred these up to the allotment and they are now ready to pick with enormous leaves. Chard is generally an easy plant to grow and apart from a little slug damage doesn’t suffer much from problems. I cook the stalks separately from the leaves as they take a little longer to cook then I combine the two, toss in a little butter and season well with salt and pepper. It really is delicious.