Monday, 24 October 2011

October harvest: week three

I started clearing the last of the tomatoes. I picked all the remaining fruit in the front garden first, and pulled up the plants from the ground, gathering those in grow bags together, ready to be taken round to the compost bins. A couple of days later, I stripped all the fruits from half the varieties in the back garden, and the rest I'll do in the next couple of days (I did it that way so I didn't get confused between similar-looking varieties, given they're mostly all green).

I also picked the first stem lettuce (celtuce). I was impressed - it was exactly what I was expecting. It turns out I planted them too close together - they were tiny when I put them in, but they swelled and are pressed together now they're getting mature. But they are perfectly healthy, and that's really encouraged me for next year - the oriental greens can be sown early in the spring as well as after midsummer. I need to harvest the rest of them soon, because I don't think they are frost hardy (and I need the space for other crops). I prepared the first one by discarding the lower leaves, then taking off the upper ones, washing and chopping, peeling the stem, and chopping that into matchsticks. I stir fried it with lime juice, fish sauce, and Shaoxing wine, and sprinkled with (shichimi) tōgarashi (Japanese seven spice). Despite being a mature lettuce, it was very mild with almost no bitterness.

Totals for week 15th-21st October:
19th: 205g stem lettuce (comprising 88g stem and 117g leaves), 1.984kg tomatoes (comprising 22 'Risentraube' at 130g, 63 'Jaune flammée' at 1.185kg, 1 'Super marmande' at 24g, 1 'Cherokee purple' at 171g, 6 'Costoluto fiorentino' at 140g, 7 'Sub arctic plenty' at 176g, and 19 'Cream sausage' at 158g; day total: 2.189kg)
21st: 137g baby pumpkins, 293g 'Uchiki kuri' pumpkins (largest 153g), 1.434kg tomatoes (comprising 7 'Snowberry' at 32g, 15 'Costoluto fiorentino' at 821g, 18 'Jaune flammée' at 306g, 67 'Sun belle' at 275g; day total: 1.864kg)
Total for week: 4.053kg
Year to date total: 37.891kg

The pumpkins were a writeoff. Of the two plants that I got into final positions (out of several dozen sown into pots), one produced nothing, and the other didn't have time once it had recovered from snail attacks to produce full-sized fruit. The baby fruits I took from a vine that grew of its own accord from homemade compost. It germinated in July, I think, but has spread along the whole depth of the front garden - I'll measure it before I pull it up. Sadly, the fruits were bitter. Squash cross-fertilise easily, so if you plant seeds you've saved (or allow seeds to germinate from home-grown or shop-bought fruit), they might have crossed with something inedible, like an ornamental gourd. In any case, that's probably why they tasted so bad. Never again!

I will be able to post my roundup of the tomato season in the next week or so, once all the fruit is in. Meanwhile, I've been doing a bit more preserving - pickling beetroots, and bottling tomato sauce, so I can savour my harvest into the winter.

No comments: