Monday, 29 August 2011

Big Harvest and the Surprise Leopard


It’s been a fruitful bank holiday weekend with many a vegetable being harvested and we’ve seen some good weather too (strange I know!).  Work on the new plot has been slow, in fact nothing has been achieved since last week, but I’m determined to get it in shape and the soil fed by Autumn.  On my existing plot the harvest is coming thick and fast and the Beetroot has been exceptional this year.  I think this is more down to luck than skill but whatever the reason I think I’ll grow ‘Detroit 2’ again next year along with a few others.  The beet in the image above was the biggest of the bunch and it weighed in at over 500g.  Most are destined for pickling but one or two will be added to a cake or two.  I’m sure to post about both processes so if you’re interested just keep an eye out on the blog page or subscribe using the subscribe button in the main toolbar at the top of the blog page.

The Allium bed has been very productive and after pulling the onions, shallots and garlic, giving them time to bask in the sun, they were ready for storing.  Shallot ‘Golden Gourmet’ from Victoriana Nursery Gardens was quite productive and both Onion ‘Red Baron’ and ‘Stuttgarter’ produced good, if not slightly smaller than usual bulbs.  The garlic ‘Solent Wight’ that I planted out in late March also produced a great, if not extremely whiffy harvest.  My house now wreaks but it’s definitely a welcome smell.  I’ve ordered five new cultivars of garlic for planting this year and a few heritage bulbs, which I’m hoping will prove just as successful as ‘Solent Wight’.

In the potato bed, Potato ‘Pink Fir Apple’ is the last of my five potatoes to be harvested.  As I write a pan of these potatoes is boiling on the hob and with a few chives and a little butter they are destined for the dinner plate.  They are a lovely looking spud and somewhat similar in appearance to ‘Anya’ being knobbly and finger-like.  The harvest was great and the yield of this potato has been very good.

In the cutting garden it seems as though the Dahlias are coming to the end of their flowering period and after much deadheading the plants now look rather lifeless.  I’m hoping that they might go out with another big hoorah but the signs don’t look too hopeful.  I have Tulip bulbs ready to be planted for cutting next year and I’m hoping to expand the cutting garden further again as it’s been such a success this year.  The bulbs came from the pound shop again and so this tradition is not set to disappear anytime soon.  In fact, I’ve been so impressed with what I’ve bought for the cutting garden that it seems daft not continue with my pound shop experiment.
Whilst at the plot today I had another rather unusual surprise – I found a giant Leopard Slug lurking near the cutting garden.  It is easily the biggest slug I have ever come across and I just had to take a picture.  These slugs really are quite beautiful and are unusual in their habits as along with eating dead and decaying material they also prey upon other slugs.  I think I’ll embark on a captive breeding programme?!

I hope your weekend has been equally fruitful.  Also, don’t forget to check out the competition page to enter for a chance to win a great hardwood steamer chair worth £99.99.

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