Welcome back to Reads Retreat, our blog diary of growing your own veg in Raised Beds. Sorry for the lack of updates lately, regular readers will know that a lot of our efforts go into the Allotment, which is going well, whilst less effort is seen on the home plot. That said thought, we are still making rich pickings from the raised beds. Pictured here is our runaway success: These are dwarf yellow podded french beans which we had never grown before, but will definitely grow again next year. The plants stand about 18" tall, and bear large trusses of beans that start pale green and mature into bright yellow. They make a fantastic addition to the dinner plate, and add a splash of summer colour. Prior to planting I erected some 4' canes for support. I'm laughing now!!
Despite the messy appearance of our tomato plants, the yield is looking good as the toms are now starting to ripen at quite a pace. We have 3 varieties growing: Moneymaker, Gardeners Delight, and a Yellow Plum variety - the name of which escapes me! We have had minor issues with Blossom End Rot, but those affected were picked "green" and discarded. The rest it seems are doing ok. We have more plants dotted around the raised beds, some hidden behind other crops and some wherever there was some vacant land!
Our late planted Courgette plant is putting on good growth too. At first it seemed intent on just growing leaves, but now it is finally bearing fruit! We have lost a couple to slugs etc but that is to be expected. Now though it's looking good. There's at least 3 there ready to be picked, ranging from 4 - 6" long. Next year we are planning on growing many more of these up at the allotment, as they are a lovely tasting veg, and they can easily be frozen too. Maybe we can save a few for Christmas dinner ?
Talking of a "vacant" space in the beds, this Tomato (v. Gardeners Delight) was placed in a sunny spotand left to it's own devices! We grew far too many tomato plants for the space available - or should i say far more germinated than we had expected! I even gave half a dozen or so plants to my neighbour as we had no room left. Mind you, I always think that some of the fun from growing your own is giving some away!
Talking of late sown plantings, these 2 courgette plants were only transplanted to their growing position a few weeks ago. They were "found" in the conservatory, and we thought it best to get them in. Even if the planting is too late to provide some fruits, then at the very least we'll get this show of late summer colour! And if pushed, we could just eat the flowers!!
Another late sowing (a trend here perhaps ?) was this Sweetcorn (v.Swift Early). We had never grown this before and we were eager to try. We have been astonished by the growth rate, and have already harvested our first cob! Shared 4 ways at the dinner table, it was delish.
It seems a bit hit and miss when it comes to harvesting - are the brown silks really the best indication of ready ?
A lesson well learnt now, is that you cant plant 4 x Butternut Squash plant (v.Hunter) in a bed that is 3' x 3' ! Well, you can, but the leaf growth soon romps away from the bed. We have had to cut stems back at various times throughout the summer, but the result has been worthwhile:
This specimen is at leat 8" long, and about 4" girth. All we need now is a bit more sun to ripen it off! And there's me only yesterday praying for rain! There's a few more small fruits too. This is something we will grow more of next year too. Its only recently that we started to eat them, and they do taste superb. We got the seeds from from the BBC Dig In promotion, details of which can be found here. Go and have a look, and bag some free seeds!
Final pic for today, is this Passion Flower which is growing wild in the border. It seems that the bounty of fruits are ripening off, so maybe we can harvest these too. I've not tasted them before, so am keen to give them a go.
Thats all for today folks, hope you've enjoyed our update!
A quick hello too to Aunt Ann, who is visiting the UK again at the moment - hope you have a lovely stay.
Pop back soon all, for more updates from Reads Retreat.
Enjoy your gardens,