Monday, 6 August 2018

Harvest Monday - full swing (and chick peas!)

There are quite a lot of harvests coming through now, with plenty of kale and chard. Here's a small bunch I picked earlier in the week, though last night  I actually harvested about three times as much. I'm still thanking the wasps who've been doing a marvellous job of picking off most of the caterpillars.

Ooh, and talking of caterpillars, I was carrying out a bit of tomato care (removing lower leaves etc to improve light and airflow) in the greenhouse at home and came across this cutie munching it's way through some leaves. 

I popped it outside with a few leaves and later on, after a bit of book and web research, identified it as the interestingly named 'bright line brown eye' moth, which is also known as the 'tomato moth'. The name refers to markings on the adult moths, and apparently it eat lots of different plants, not just tomatoes. Anyway I'm happy to share a few leaves with it for fact it probably did me a bit of a favour as the leaves were quite dense and needed thinning!

It definitely hasn't impacted the tomato crop, I'm getting bowl after bowl at the moment, with four currently lined up on the worktop!  I'm really loving the detail on the stripey tigerellas. They're delicious too. One evening, when it's a bit cooler, I need to do a bit of batch prep with them, maybe I'll just do a tomato and basil sauce instead of slow roasting's too hot to have the oven on!
Back at the allotment, the blackberries are continuing to ripen well. A fair few have already gone past their best on the plants (probably due to the rain last week, plus I haven't picked them as often as I'd like), but there's still plenty for us. I eat quite a few of the squishier ones whilst I'm harvesting, mmm. The beans are ok overall - blauhilde (purple) are now coming along nicely, whereas the dwarf beans are struggling a bit with the return to dry hot conditions. The crystal lemon cucumbers are romping ahead of the other varieties, their leaves are still looking ok whereas the others have quite bad mildew (which is worse in dry weather). The crystal lemons are in a bit of shade some of the day, so that may actually be helping them this year. Although there's a nice big courgette in this photo, I've only got one plant producing, and it's quite slow to put them out, so I don't actually have a glut for a change! The patty pan summer squashes are finally developing little fruits though, so we should have some of those soon. The tiny apples are windfalls, but are reasonably ripe, so we're able to eat those too, quite nice chopped into the breakfast muesli.

An example of one of my favourite meals at this time of year - chop it all up, fry a little bit and add a couple of eggs. This had some leftover potatoes in too,  yum!
And onto the chickpeas...I tried growing these last year. I think I just popped them in the ground (not even soaking first) - one plant grew up and excitingly started producing which point I went to move it a little from growing into the path, and of course the stem snapped, ah! So this year I sprouted them at home first - soaked in a jar of water for a day, then drained and rinsed with water each day until they started sprouting, then planted out (probably about 3cm deep, just making a hole with a stick). I also put a stick in the ground at each location I planted a chickpea, so I knew where to look for them (they were a bit randomly planted, in the area I have two dwarf apple trees).

Anyway...ta daah! I had a few plants make it through, and once the pods developed, gave them some water, to encourage swelling of the pea inside (or peas...up to two per pod) and harvested when the pods felt nicely full. 

They didn't take too long to pod, but I imagine if you've got a lot of plants it could take a while.
I boiled them in a tiny bit of water for about five minutes. There were enough for us to have a tasty portion each, with a salad of homegrown goodies. The flavour was very fresh, a bit like a traditional pea but slightly different (bad description!). I'll definitely be growing these again (I didn't buy special seeds, just used dried organic chickpeas from the wholefood shop).
My next exciting unusual harvest to come is edamame beans / soya. The pods are there but need to fill out.

Apparently we might get another storm tomorrow night...we definitely need some rain again anyway.

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


  1. Fresh chickpeas - that is exciting! I've never had them that way. I have grown edamame, and I love them fresh. After seeing your Blauhilde last year I'm growing it and they are doing great, just setting pods now. I'm hoping to get a taste of them soon. Looks like yours are a bit ahead of mine but then I had issues with the beans rotting in the soil earlier and had to replant. It's good you were able to give the tomato moth a 'controlled' feeding!

    1. Hi Dave, yes I'll have to set more space aside for the chickpeas next year, a real winner for me, and it's nice to be able to experiment a bit without worrying too much if it'll work. Ooh great, hope your blauhildes carry on as well. Yes, I first found a reference to a tomato looper caterpillar, which seems may be a big problem for growers, but fortunately 'my' caterpillar wasn't one of those, phew.

  2. So that's what chickpeas look like growing! Thanks!
    Great harvest - very interesting tomatoes
    Have a wonderful week!

  3. Lovely harvests! I sowed soybeans this year - it's my 2nd go at them - but not a single one came up - :(. Oh well, I'll have to try again next year.

  4. Ah, it's not letting me write direct replies, so...
    Thanks Lea, I've enjoyed growing the chickpeas and they didn't really need any special treatment, which is a bonus.
    Hi Margaret, I grew the soybeans in loo roll tubes at home first before planting out on the plot, they had a 100% germination rate I think! I'd repeat that method again even though it's a bit more effort than direct sowing :)

  5. I was going to ask where you bought the chickpea seeds from as I fancy having a go at growing them. How tall do they grow.

    1. Hi sue, the chickpeas didn't grow very tall, maybe a foot...most plants sort of grew off to one side and were more or less self supporting. I might do a bit of research and see how closely they can be planted (to see my if more can be fitted in) as I was just dotting them around under the trees.