June 2021: Good eating

The first crops are ready for eating including peas and beans, leafy greens and salads, onions and garlic, carrots and beetroot… and lots of dill, parsley, coriander, mint and other herbs are available.

We’ve also started eating our first early potatoes grown in bags in the polytunnel. The crops have been small enough, with some scabbing from inadequate watering, but the potatoes are absolutely delicious.

We’ve been steaming them and finishing them in a hot pan with olive oil, onion, herbs and seasoning.

We also harvested two ‘summer’ cauliflower curds grown in the polytunnel but found them to be very light in weight, a bit bland in flavour and unappetising to look at. Cauliflowers are notoriously tricky to grow, in particular getting the watering right, so we’ve covered over the other developing curds with their surrounding leaves to protect them from the sun and will up the watering to see if that improves the next round. The cauliflowers sown outside have yet to develop curds.

We’ve harvested our autumn-sown onions (yield c. 70 bulbs) and garlic (yield c. 20 mature bulbs), and have been drying them in the polytunnel. The tunnel is also home to 12 tomato plants (four different varieties) which went wild over the past couple of weeks and needed a serious cut-back. We had not been as diligent as we should have been with pinching out side shoots and trimming the surplus leaves. They’re now tidied and retied up and showing lots of little green fruits.

We’ve had no luck with aubergines, squash or melons in the tunnel: all plants have died. We’re going to try aubergines in a large pot as a last ditch effort. Cucumbers are fairing better and starting to show small fruits, peppers are growing slowly but steadily, and soya beans are starting to develop furry little pods. Salad too is doing well. We’ve planted Italian and Thai basil in pots, as well as ‘goat horn’ chillies.

Our ‘golden’ mange tout are doing well (and tasting good), and neighbouring pea pods and broad bean pods are starting to fatten up.

Finally, the start of the courgette glut is just a couple of weeks away. We’ve got three plants currently (more to follow) and have been cutting and eating the early fruit while young and small to encourage stronger growth for subsequent courgettes.

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