Monday, 26 June 2017

Harvest Monday, intercropping and Eves Hill Veg Co

This week has seen the proper start of *courgette season*....ooh. I picked these yesterday, two were from one plant, with a single one from another. I only have the stripey ones this year 'cause none of the dark green ones germinated (the seed was very old).
And today there was another from the plant that had two yesterday...that plant's going to be the most prolific by the looks of it - though it was the first one I planted out so maybe it just has a head start. Also there was the first cucumber, hurrah -an outdoor variety who's name I've forgotten (and I'm out babysitting so can't check). We'll have the cuke with lunch tomorrow, hope it's not bitter after this dry weather.
Yesterday I lifted a few early spuds - these were from three plants, so still not loads, but not too bad. The tops have died off completely now - a lot earlier than normal. And the maincrop plants look a bit dodgy, it's been so dry.
I tend to boil them all up then mix in with other bits n bobs.
At home in the lean-to greenhouse we've had our first ripe tomato - a yellow tumbler type - these always ripen earlier than the rest so it's good to have a couple of plants of them as well as the bigger varieties.
Look, we even cut it in half and shared it (new game 'spot the tomato'). There's been a lot of lettuce leaves from the back garden too, much better than last year when the slugs ate more than us.
Talking of the back garden, here's a quick snap of it. Raised veg beds on either side (the soil isn't very deep as the foundations of the old terraced houses are still under there). To make use of the space I grow things up the fences too (beans and cucumbers this year, the beans were direct sown, so are a lot shorter than the ones growing up the right hand wigwam, which I grew indoors in loo roll tubes). The beds are fenced off so our cat doesn't use them as a giant litter tray (she would if she could).
Back on the allotment, the strawberries have pretty much come to an end (they were earlier than usual) but have been replaced by summer raspberries, yum yum (there are a few tayberries in the tub too, which grows up the side of the shed). This pic is from the other day, the raspberries are really big and juicy, which is a surprise as I haven't been watering them and it's hardly rained recently. But this year I did mulch them with compost, then cover with several layers of newspaper, and weighed the newspaper down with old couch grass roots. It seems to have helped a lot, and kept the weeds down too.
So this afternoon I thought I'd have a couple of hours of proper berry-picking. Clockwise from top left - Raspberries (will need to pick again in a couple of days), gooseberries (need a dedicated session just for them another time), Saskatoon (what remained after a blackbird has gobbled the rest, doh), redcurrants (could again spend ages just on them), blackcurrants (still loads more). Well, it's a start, and the freezer will be well-stocked!
I thought I'd just share a couple of intercropping / polyculture methods I'm using this year - cucumber and blauhilde climbing beans sharing wigwams, with chard in between.
Nero kale with dwarf French beans direct sown inbetween, plus a crystal lemon cucumber growing along the ground through the middle. This one's a real experiment (and is the bed where I had to lift my garlic early due to white rot), whereas I've done the bean/cuke wigwam before. In other areas of the plot I've under-sown sweetcorn with dwarf French beans, have cuke / beans growing up a fence, and have beetroot under bean wigwams and under a gherkin climby thing. It'll be interesting to see how well each crop does.
I've left some leeks to go to flower too - they're so beautiful, and good for the insects (maincrop onions in the adjacent bed).
Out at Eves Hill Veg Co (not for profit market garden where I volunteer) it was the monthly community day on Saturday. I spent most of the session weeding and using the wheel-hoe (push-along hoe, good for doing the paths and quite fun). Other people focussed on getting leeks planted out - there's a lotta leeks! The salad area is still looking good, so many varieties...I'm not sure what this one is but it's a lovely shape.
Basil seedlings in the small polytunnel
Very long row of beans!
As it was near the solstice, we had a BBQ in the evening to celebrate...and were treated to an amazing rainbow
The light was gorgeous (here's those runner beans from a different angle).
Huge huge rainbow, what a treat!

There was no filter on those photos...don't think I've ever seen such an intense rainbow, wow. Well I don't think we can top that each session at the farm but you never know.
Thanks for reading this week, I'm linking in with Harvest Monday, kindly hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres. Head on over to check out what other people have been harvesting too.



  1. I'm busy berry picking too :-)

  2. Beautiful rainbow!
    Lovely berries!

  3. Those are some great rainbow pics for sure! You have a lovely selection of berries there too. And the first tomato is indeed exciting! My shallots bolted and bloomed and the bees just love them, and I bet they like your leek blossoms too.

    1. Thanks Dave. That's been the sole ripe tomato so far! I think I might see another one on the turn now. The leeks are lovely, I've actually brought a few home in a vase (they were in the way on the plot) and left some others for the buzzies.

  4. Wow you have so many kinds of berries! I'm drooling. Can't grow most of those here in the desert. Lovely gardens. One year as the lettuce bed was thinning out I planted a bantam sweet corn and bush beans in the gaps. Was nice to have them earlier than if I'd waited until the whole bed was empty.

    1. Thanks Mary. I bet there's things you can grow there that won't grow here though :)
      Yep sometimes you can be opportunistic with plantings and it turns out really well. Usually for me it's due to a happy accident rather than planning in advance!

  5. Wonderful pics of the rainbow. Looks like you are having a great start to your season ... our spring (and first week of summer) has been very wet and cool so I'm super envious of your greens, courgettes, well everything pretty much.

    And I agree with others on the amazing berries you always seem to have on hand! But most impressive are those perfect looking basil plants.

    1. Thanks Susie. Our weather's gone a bit cool and wet after all the sun, though today seems like it'll be a bit nicer. Hopefully yours will perk up :)
      Yeah I'm not wanting to jinx things but this year is going ok crop-wise. There have been some loses (eg seedlings frazzled) but nothing too disasterous, phew. I've also seen signs of powdery mildew on the courgettes so will have to keep a look out for that elsewhere.
      Ah those basils are up at the farm, sadly mine don't look half as good!

  6. Beautiful berries you have there! Love your pictures of the farm too!

    1. Thanks Lotte, will hopefully get out to the farm again this week :)