Not much to report on the harvest front this week - I haven't been down the plot to pick anything as I had a busy weekend. So I thought I'd share this harvest fail instead!
Last year I grew gherkins for the first time and they were REALLY prolific. I wanted to try a couple of different ways of preserving them, and one was the natural fermentation method. You basically mix up a brine solution to a specified ratio (that I don't remember right now) and pour it over your gherkins/ chopped onions/ spices etc that you've packed into a jar. Then you cover the jars with a cloth or similar, so that the pressure doesn't build up, and let the natural bacteria on the veggies develop and ferment for a few days, skimming off any white froth from the surface. When it gets to your required sour flavour, you seal it and keep in a cool place (to stop the fermentation continuing).
I made loads of jars of these and they took up the whole bottom shelf in the fridge. Now, as far as I was aware I was making these all in the same way. But, left to their own devices in the fridge, some developed a really thick white gloopiness on top, and those batches are inedible.
I've had to compost several jars because of this. Anyone know what might have happened? Should I have just kept more of an eye on them in the fridge and started scooping off the scum as it grew?
Hmm, I dunno, but I'll try again this method again this year too.
On to more positive things, my tomatoes are continuing to germinate. They're getting a little bit leggy but when I come to pot them on, I'll plant them deep, so that the stem is covered (toms grow roots from the stem when it's been buried, so it's not a problem at the moment)
Another thing to watch out for when growing on a windowsill is that they lean to one side to reach towards the light. You can keep turning them round each day to even them up but they can get leggy this way too. For some reason this year I haven't had to so far. It might be because I've made them a bubble wrap wig wam that seems to diffuse the light more evenly. I'm just using a pencil to keep the bubble wrap off the seedlings, acting like a tent pole. Also I've put a white bag beside them to reflect the light more evenly too.you can use anything reflective like tin foil etc. or even a white piece of paper would do I guess.
The peppers haven't come up yet but they need more warmth than toms to germinate, so if they haven't come up soon I'll probably take them out into their own little protected area.
I went quite late in the day so it had quietened down a bit but I heard that it had been really successful, which is great. You could take along seeds to swap or just make a donation if you wanted seeds but didn't have any to swap. There were stalls there too, like a couple of the local allotment associations. I didn't actually swap any seeds or take any as I'm pretty full on the seed quota for this year but wanted to show some support for the event. (The day before I had also bought a magazine that had 11 free packs of seeds on it!!).