Look, no leaves!

I’ve been too busy picking, eating and preserving to write anything here for a while, but with the change of season I feel it’s high time to start adding to my stroud/permaculture/gardening/food growing blog again.

It’s been a fantastic summer for food crops – a nice mixture of sun and rain.  I’ve been eating really well, most meals being largely home-grown.  The only fruit and veg that I’ve bought in the last couple of months are lemons, avocados, and some celery!

polytunnel tomatoes with all leaves removed for autumn ripening
A great crop of Sungold tomatoes – now minus all their leaves to aid autumn ripening

This week I removed ALL the leaves from my tomato plants in the polytunnel, to let more sunlight get at the fruits to aid ripening.  The polytunnel is so much lighter now.  I also de-leafed my sweet pepper plants, which are heavy with GREEN peppers, with NONE turning red yet – drat.

Blight is starting to hit the big Marmande tomatoes in the tunnel (though the small sungold tomatoes are more resistant).  I picked about 5 kilos of Marmandes yesterday and made over a gallon of delicious tomato and lentil soup, most of it going into my new big freezer.  I cut the slightly blighty bits off the tomatoes and cooked the good bits – they tasted fine.  Best to get them cooked now before the whole fruit becomes unusable.

You can use green tomatoes, of course, and if blight is striking, you’ll probably have to, because if you can see any brown or sunken patches on your green tomato, blight will destroy the fruit before it ripens.  Traditionally they’re used for green tomato chutney, but did you know that sliced and fried green tomatoes, served just with a little black pepper and salt,  are really delicious, tasting rather like aubergines.  Tomatoes, aubergines, peppers and even potatoes all belong to the same family of plants, the Solarnums – it’s so weird that one plant family can produce such a variety of foods!

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