So lovely to pick my first courgettes of the year – the start of several months of picking. These in the picture are Jemmer, a yellow courgette that I grow every year along with some green ones such as Defender. The yellow courgettes are easier to pick – the colour stands out, so there’s less chance of missing the odd one and ending up with marrows by accident! I also had my first picking of Mange Tout peas last night, which I ate in a stir-fry with the courgettes. Summer eating!
Wow, bare-rooted fruit trees for sale at Stroud Tesco in June, when the normal season for planting them ends in March.
Dead as a doornail, every one of them. Irresponsible retailing? If you’re going to sell plants and trees, you really should have someone in the shop who knows the difference between live ones and dead ones!
Tempting to leave these autumn onions to fully mature, but it makes more sense to start pulling and using them now, as I’ve been having to buy cooking onions for the last few weeks since my stored maincrop onions ran out in April. Probably the best use of autumn or japanese onions is to cover this gap, as they are prone to bolting and don’t store so well. I’m usually a bit late planting them, must try to get them in in late August or September this year so that they might be ready to start eating in May. Really I should never need to buy cooking onions, not even for a few weeks a year!
First strawberry of the season today, and how the taste takes me back to last summer’s strawberry glut when there were almost too many to pick at my allotment, and I had to ask friends to come and please take them away.
Not only the first strawberry today, but the first broad beans of the season too. I’m a great fan of broad beans, and the younger and fresher the are, the less cooking they need, and the tastier they are. I usually just fry them in olive oil until they have split and are browning slightly – this only takes three or four minutes – then add a little lemon juice and a dash of tamari (or a pinch of salt). A great summer delicacy which I look forward to for months.
Today’s beans are from Acquadulce broad been seeds, planted direct in direct in the ground in November, and they are ready earlier than usual this year due to the mild winter. Later sowings of broad beans always suffer from blackfly, but these plants are beautifully aphid-free. I know that my next batch of plants will get covered in blackfly by the time their beans are ready though… it’s just part of life.
A lot of people don’t like broad beans… I really can’t understand that – I love them. Maybe they’ve never eaten young fresh broad beans: most of the ones in the shops are far too big and far too old, and are only tasty if you slip the skin off every bean after cooking (not as difficult as it sounds).
This reminds me of a law of gardening which I invented. The most important stage of growing food is the cooking and eating. If you don’t do that, all the other stages (sowing, transplanting, weeding, harvesting) were just a waste of time! It’s as well to remember this, and if you only have limited time, do the harvesting that needs doing, and ignore the weeding.