Tuesday 22 November 2016

A long harvest

okra pod and armenian cucumber

Health problems got in the way and then somehow it was too hard to pick up the blog again. Here's a brief catchup on some of this year's efforts. The Armenian cucumbers came to nothing in the end, from a couple of plants I had just two little fruit like the one above dashing my plan for salt cured pickles at Christmas. The okra was nearly as pathetic, the early sowed plants sulked through a chilly spring and the late ones never caught up. The Queen Anne's melon damped off in the pots although the germination was good and the Rock melons didn't come up at all. Bah.

raisin capujiner peas dried

The peas and beans did better and we ate well from them with plenty to save for seed. The only failure, and it was mine, was gathering the Irish Preans. I just missed the window for them and came back to mouldy damp pods with the seeds rotting inside. Think there are still some in store so I'll have to try again next year. One unlikely harvest was a good return of soy beans. I'd planted some rather random seeds in the hope of taking the pods green for edamame but they never seemed to bulk up like the ones I'm used to from frozen packets. Then I was away and when I got back the pods had matured and dried. Inspired I've bought a more commercial variety to try again next year.

grading onions

Onions were small but perfectly formed, I really liked the Rose de Roscoff type from Brittany and will try to get some for next year. The new onion patch is already taking shape with overwintering garlic and some Japanese sets in place.

Sweetcorn was another casualty of right time, wrong place. Our best year for some time but we missed having them sweet and fresh from the field and ended up with frozen cobs. Nice, nutritious but nothing more special than you can get in the shops. 

This year the only pumpkins were Whangaparaoa Crown. Despite a rather shaky start there were plenty of fruit for eating over the next six months and the seeds should be pure which will secure them for a few years in the rotation.

The tomatillos were a bit of a surprise this year - I thought I'd planted some green ones but it seems they were old seed from a packet of purple ones that had never been successful for me before. This year they were lovely, beautifully coloured and with a good flavour. I've saved seed from the most purple fruit and will try again next year. Perhaps I can work towards a new selection adapted to Normandy conditions.

There's also been a crop from the wild side. No hedghog fungus this year and few parasols but these big meaty ceps were some of the best I've ever seen, solid and almost entirely free of maggots.

Not a great year for chestnuts but I've managed to gather enough to save some for Christmas hygge.

The next big task is lifting the oca. Fingers crossed.