Not quite a glut, but a nice quantity of beetroot. On the left, 'Chioggia' (which when cut open reveal concentric red and white stripes), on the right 'Cheltenham Mono', with long roots (but which have disappointed me by growing very slowly and not swelling much).
I have to go away again. It'll be for no more than a week, like last time, but once again I feel stressed. This time it feels like a tipping point - there are summer tasks I need to have done before I get back, because the end of July really is too late for some things. I can't expect runner beans sown that late to do very much, so any cheeky late sowings of anything remotely tender must be done before I go (and even then, I'm pushing it, but what do I have to lose?). I have got a few things done, planted the first bulb fennel, which should be ready by mid August, the second sowings have germinated - and there's still time for more. At last, the winter squash are being planted. Once again, this is very late - I sowed them at the 'right' time, and can only hope that by potting them on and feeding them, they have grown enough already to set fruit before too long (they're good-sized plants, 18 inches to 2 feet long in most cases, with flowers either open or budding, but they have been a bit constrained). I sowed cucumbers again, because all the previous plants died one way or another, but this time they went in the greenhouse, mostly sown straight into the beds. They'll compete for space with what's already planted, but it's better than nothing. I'm hoping by the time they start taking up space, the tomatoes' lower leaves will all be stripped (this is usual practice when growing indeterminate or vine tomatoes), so they can form an understory. Basil, ditto, but that's not a worry.
My first courgette! I believe this is 'Diamant' (from the first plant put in its final position, a large pot).
Some winter squash will be planted in the polytunnel, as insurance and because there's space in there - they should have extra time to grow and mature in the warmer conditions. Also sweetcorn, which was an unexpected success in there the first year here. Some of the largest brassicas are being fed in their pots as they too ae desperate to be planted. At least some can go in the onion and/or broad bean-pea beds once those are cleared, but in the meantime I have potted the largest ones on again (from 1 litre to 4 litre pots). In principle they can be grown in pots all the way to harvest, if the containers are large enough, but I'd rather not do that because it will involve much more watering. We'll see...
Most other things are fine, at least. The middle sowing of brassicas - cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower done in May - that I repotted a while back are bouncing into growth again (they'd reached a bottleneck), and the last sowing of these have germinated and been thinned to healthy seedlings. Barring slug and snail damage (which has wreaked havoc with them on and off this year so far), they should be good to plant in autumn, for cropping over winter and into spring. That's reassuring, at least - knowing the beds won't be empty in the colder months.
Nine kale plants went into the ground, and I took the three lowest leaves from each for this harvest - it weighed 200g. I could have picked twice as much, but I want the plants to concentrate on growing for now.
Harvests are quite plentiful, with the first courgettes ripening, although they're not prolific (will they ever be?). Lots of soft fruit, leaves, and legumes. Returning to the greenhouse, there's plenty of growth, with lots of green tomatoes and chillies, and even the aubergines are getting ready to flower, so it's not all stressful. The greenhouse so far has been a joy - I don't have to water too often, as the beds are deep and the plants can root into the subsoil, plus I'm using cut-off inverted plastic bottles to drip water deeply, which helps even things out (rather than watering then letting things dry out, back and forth). I get lots of pleasure going in there - especially on a grey day when it's much warmer under the glass than outside - and pinching side shoots, twisting the supporting twine around growing plants, and just enjoying the atmosphere. I don't expect any ripe fruit for a couple of weeks at least, but I can be patient.
13/07 - 110g mangetout, 120g lettuce, 80g (elephant) garlic*
14/07 - 80g lettuce, 95g courgette, (15g raspberries)
15/07 - 200g kale
16/07 - 120g broad beans, 95g mangetout, 20g peas, (315g raspberries, 30g blackcurrants)
17/07 - 95g peas
18/07 - 75g chard, 305g beetroot
19/07 - 110g courgettes, 45g kale, 95g lettuce, (400g raspberries)
YTD total: 5.56kg
*harvested at the beginning of the month, but left to dry a bit before weighing
Strawberries, raspberries, redcurrants, and blackcurrants, stewing with a little sugar for a summer pudding. The smell was delicious!