Monday 26 September 2016

Harvest Monday - autumny harvests and a glean

Brr, it's gone more autumny now, and a bit rainy today too. But there's still some reasonable harvests coming in. I managed to get a few much-needed hours in on the allotment before the rain came along....the paths are really overgrown so I'm working my way round them with the shears, and doing a bit of weeding in the beds as I go too. I also spotted some other jobs which need doing, like moving one of my dwarf apple trees, which is getting shaded out by the two hazels. I'll wait until it's dropped its leaves before I move it though.
In the back garden there's still some beans slowly growing, with a couple of pickings like this during the week:
And in the lean-to I've been picking pairs of peppers (both are sweet varieties. Oh the Quadratos (right hand side) didn't turn out to be hot like the first one, so I guess that was a fluke).

Just a few tomatoes this week
I've set aside some of the green tomatoes together, for ripening. I cut down most of the plants but there are still a handful left standing, that have some toms on too.
I did get a couple of cukes from the lean-to aswell, and there may be more if the plants hold out.
The rest of the harvests are from today at the allotment...some nice chard and beans. These are actually quite big but the scale is hard to judge.
A few last summer squashes (though I should get a couple more courgettes). The little yellow ones weren't going to get any bigger because the plant was past it, so I thought I may as well pick them.
And I decided to bring back all the butternuts...not as many as I was hoping for but they'll see us through for a while. The biggest one is around 4 - 5 lbs (my scales don't go up high enough)'s a shame they didn't all get that big. I also dug up all my potatoes today...a nice big bagful, but no piccies!
Meals this week have included a nice stir fry by Jan (carrots aren't home grown unfortunately...I have none whatsoever).
And yesterday we roasted-up a big orange squash that I brought home from the allotment a few weeks back (might be a Hubbard variety?)
(With garlic and pumpkin seeds)
With roastie potatoes and topped with a curried veggie mix (plus crushed chick peas)
The potatoes came from a glean I helped at on Saturday, just over in Cambridgeshire, in the fens (I brought home some damaged potatoes which wouldn't have been good to include in the proper harvest).
Here we have a rather large, rather flat field (typical of the fens). The soil had absolutely no stones in it...incredible. So, the potatoes had recently been harvested by a machine, and we were kindly allowed by the farmer to go through finding any that had been missed or dropped.

It wasn't a very quick process as the potatoes were quite spread out, but every now and then there was a good's funny how excited you can get hunting for potatoes.

We were a smaller group than the last time I helped, but we still harvested around half a tonne of food that would've gone to waste. Here's some of the loverly tatties....
Once again, there were so many more potatoes that could have been harvested if we'd had more volunteers, but at least we saved a good load from going to waste. The gleaning days are organised by Feedback, and the harvests are then distributed by FareShare. It's really worthwhile taking a look to see if they're active in your it's a nice day out with nice people. They're active in the U.S. as well as over here.


That's me for the week, thanks for reading. I'm linking in as usual with Harvest Monday kindly hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres.




  1. Gleaning should be more widespread. I'm sure that loads of food must be wasted every day, for want of a bit of human activity to augment the machinery! You sound disappointed by the Butternuts, but having ones of different sizes surely gives you more flexibility when it comes to using them. I often find that a recipe calls for half a Butternut - then you need another recipe to use the other half.

    1. Hi Mark, absolutely, I'm sure there is so much waste (intentionally or not) on most big farms.

      I guess the main reason I'm a bit disappointed with the butternuts is the amount of effort that went into each plant, and only getting a small squash from a plant that for ages I kept checking everyday for slugs etc is a bit 'was it worth it?'. Of course the answer is always yes though :)

  2. Beautiful harvests - I love harvesting hidden treasures, like potatoes, carrots and onions. There's just something about unearthing them that is so much fun.

    And I agree with Mark in that I would rather have a bunch of smaller butternuts (or other winter squash) than a few large ones as they can be more difficult to deal with.

    1. Hi Margaret, yes, just like finding hidden treasure, and good fun.

      I only got one squash fruit per plant which is why I'd have liked them to be a bit bigger....more reward for looking after each plant.....but a small one is better than nothing. Sometimes if I don't need a whole big one I'll cube the rest and stick it in the freezer for using another time.

  3. The gleaning idea needs to be publicised. I'm sure people on a low income would love to go gleaning if they could keep some of the food.
    It probably helps the farmer too not to have a volunteer potatoes coming up all over the place.
    We are spending more time tidying up now rather than harvesting.

    1. Hi sue. Yeah I'm not sure what the farmer does about volunteer potatoes....there must be loads of them.
      I've had a couple more paths cutting session now....still lots to do but I feel like I'm making some progress, phew.