Gathering Gluts. 3rd August 2018

The fruit and vegetables this year seem to have come in gluts mainly I think because of the hot weather. A farmer near us has had to close his pick your own strawberries because the fruiting has finished, which is not the norm.  Similarly our beans have had a short season. We have been picking two colanders full every other day. I normally quite like gluts and finding inventive ways to use the produce but there are limited ways you can use french beans. I’m not keen on them frozen so have tried some fermented in jars. They are in a salt solution and only time will tell if they are a success.

The courgettes too have been coming thick and fast and will I think stop producing sooner than normal. I’ve even been giving them away to people passing by when I walk home from the allotment, as I think our neighbours and friends must be satiated by now.

The kale experiment didn’t work (see last allotment news) and the plants were looking sicker by the day. Not only did we have caterpillars and white fly but little black beetles (which I think come off the local rape flowers) were making holes in the leaves. We should have learnt by now not to grow summer kale as we have hit this problem before. Planting it in Autumn is much better. It overwinters then produces in spring and early summer before the pests arrive.

The potatoes are up and stacked in the garage. I like to grade them so we have small, medium and large in different small sacks. Much easier then to find the size you need. We have grown a variety called kestrel for the last few years as they are slug and disease resistant. Despite the dry weather we have had a fairly good crop and although I’m not a mad potato fan they are a delicious variety, moist and buttery but suitable for most types of cooking.

At the moment we are spending very little on fruit and vegetables and are enjoying, chard, french and runner beans, potatoes, onions, beetroot, courgettes, lettuce, radish and raspberries. It’s lovely to eat in season, enjoy the crops as they arrive, mourn their departure but then look forward to the next one arriving.