I hope that the last week has treated you all well. We have been so busy working away on the garden, blog content and the podcast that I didn’t realise that it’s Wednesday! Where has the week gone? Following on from the previous blog post, I’m going to finish up talking about the fruiting vegetables I missed out on last time and the root veggies that worked for us. So if you haven’t grabbed a cuppa, what are you waiting for? Put the kettle on, grab some nibbles and have a few moments of calm while you read this post.
Aubergines – F1 Moneymaker
We have these beauties in 5 liter containers. They were a last minute addition to the garden because I watched this YouTube video from the 10 Minute Gardener / Learn How to Garden. The plants are related to tomatoes and I thought “well I had such a great tomato season last year, sure I’ll give it a go”. They really didn’t need a lot of care, just water and some deadheading and removing fruit that had set if I felt it was overloaded. We’ve had 4/5 per plant and they are almost spent now, with the last fruits just finishing swelling. These will only be planted again if I have room in the greenhouse or tunnel (which ever is there after the builders are gone). The Toddler really didn’t get much joy out of them but they didn’t need work, so yep if there is space I will plant again.
Chilies – Cheyenne
These guys are just the most prolific fruiting chilies I have ever grown! Last year, I remember grumbling away on Twitter when another crafter (who shall remain nameless) had the most beautiful outdoor chilies while mine up and died (I still don’t know why), she does live a lot further south than I do but I was determined to get it right this year and AHA! These beauties are stuffed in huge ziplock bags in the freezer even after using them for stuffed chili dinners. Seeds are saved and definitely taking their place back in my window boxes next year. These guys are from The Garden Shop and you can find them here.
Beetroot – Golden, Detroit globe
Every year, every gardener has a plant or vegetable that they just do not grow enough of and for me or more correctly my daughter, I did not plant enough of these. I thought 6 squares of my square foot garden would be enough but nope! She ate every last beet and then grabbed them from our plates. Both varieties grew well for me and rather quickly so they both have kept their place, just because my daughter begs me for them still! They have little or no pests and required little maintenance (compared to my tantrum throwing teenagers – the Cucumbers!)
Carrot – Purple Cosmic, Autumn King
The Cosmic Purples didn’t do that well for me and I was so excited about having purple carrots (just ask my Dad) but I think it was more to do with location and the fact that the potatoes took over my carrot bags and they got turfed out into the beds. I didn’t show them love and they didn’t show any back le sigh. It’s true that carrots do better in soil that hasn’t been freshly manured or had nutrients added so best to pop these in the rotation after a heavy feeder has been in its place. The Autumn Kings, oh boy now these are just beautiful big, sweet, juicy, orange lovelies. They took a little longer to mature but I have been constantly sewing them and they have been amazing. Direct sewing with these (and any root veg) works best. If your like me, the idea of thinning out the veg seems a bit cruel (or wasteful) and its hard to get round to the idea, you just have to do it! Believe me root veg do not like being disturbed and the bunnies loved all the extra mini carrots! I’m very lucky because I played fast and loose with my carrots and they weren’t covered and the dreaded dun dun duunnnnnnnn carrot root fly didn’t find me! *Does the wellie dance of joy* oh and do you remember Carrot Boy? No? Missed it? Well I will just add a picture then … *clears throat* I give you….. Carrot Boy – The Defender of the Carrot Patch:
Tomatoes – Moneymakers, Sungold
Well fudge to the weather this year, my tomato harvest has been so poor compared to last year. I stuck with cherry tomatoes (Sungold) in 2015 and I was in tomatoes to my knees until November! This year I planted Moneymakers from The Garden Shop and boy are they named wrong or well I guess they just don’t like the weather changes. It’s been so hot and cold that they have only started to change colour at the start of September! They have been planted since February! Now, I can be a patient person but holy moly, I felt like going out with a series of UV lamps and just holding it over my tomatoes just so I could taste their juicy goodness. And in the end wasn’t the wait worth the juicy goodness?? NO it wasn’t, they are the most boring tomatoes that lack EVERYTHING. I’m frustrated and annoyed mostly because I’m spoiled and I like my tomatoes to be warm, sweet, juicy and pack a flavor punch and these just don’t. Needless to say they will not be going back in my beds, no seeds saved here! This is probably due to a number of reasons and nothing to do with variety, they are in the temporary greenhouse which isn’t heated but is under plastic and protected from the rain, they did have constant, even watering but they just never looked happy. In the end, I tip my hat to them and agree to part ways in a civil manner.
Broccoli – Purple Sprouting
Doesn’t that picture look pretty? There are two varieties and I had the short season from The Garden Shop because of that picture. These were doing fantastic until I planted them out in my back raised bed and the ********************* ahem the roots got eaten and the plants died. I had only planted three as a test and boy did the robins who nest in our trees love the day I cleaned out that bed! So, I got to see the beautiful green leaves but not a flower and not a taste sniffle. There is always next year, I will try these again and not the long overwintering variety because I will need the beds before they are ready to be culled.
Spring Onion – Lila, Ishikura
Oh now these I got excited about. The idea of having pretty pink Lila spring onions on a bead of freshly grown salad leaves from the garden, it just sent a thrill of excitement down my spine. Yip, I don’t care if you think that’s silly but I was singing and doing the wellie dance again while planting these seeds. I followed this GIY video on planting in groups of ten seeds at a time and it worked like a treat and was a great space saver in the square foot garden. I got these from Mr. Middelton but the link appears to be gone now. Both seed packets are by Thompson & Morgan if you want to try them.
There is a reason why among my fellow GIYers that Ishikura is known as an old reliable and we speak about it in hushed tones. It germinates well and produced lovely onions. It requires little maintenance and just happily grew and then got just as happily gobbled up by us! You just need to add these to your garden and you will have spring onions that look just like the ones you get at the shops.
Sweet Pepper – Rainbow Mix
These seeds I got from The Garden Shop (see a theme this week?) and they needed a little care to germinate. I used a homemade propagator in the end to get the seeds to sprout. Lil’ T helped by removing all the plant tags and come May/June when I was moving everything around outside, I had a huge problem distinguishing between the pepper and chili plants. I guessed right in the end and it was an educated guess, as I ended up with indoor chili plants and semi-outdoor peppers. They did ok, not great but that was because of their housing. They really need to be indoors and if I had the space I would have kept them in the conservatory. The weather this year just wasn’t on my side and the temporary greenhouse, even though it was made from polytunnel plastic just didn’t cut it and these guys just never heated up enough for great fruiting. They do need extra care and they loved the bunny poop (but not as much as the courgettes did, they just wanted to bathe in the stuff) and I will plant these again next year just for the black /chocolate brown peppers!
Potatoes – Shetland Black, Red Duke of York
Well now, I could do a whole post on growing potatoes and I just may do that in the future! This was the first year I grew potatoes and we ate only potatoes from our garden from about May until early September. In fact I think my husband just bought our first bag of potatoes there on Monday so that’s not too shabby if I say so myself. This was worth doing for the pure joy the potato hunt brought us on Saturdays with the toddler. She loved it and she loved planting them too. We got the seed potatoes from Mr. Middleton and we grew them in bags and staggered the planting. Both varieties are just gorgeous but very different. The Shetland potatoes are beautiful and keep their purple vascular circles if you steam them! We used these mostly for chips and sauteed potatoes for colour. The Red Duke of York on the other hand are just the most gorgeous potato. They are creamy and give you the best boiled and mashed potato, oh and the roasts! *looses track while thinking about dinner* ahem both of these deserve a space in your garden and I will be growing both again next year without a second thought, in fact I’ll see if I can get my order in now!
And there she is folks, our harvest round up of 2016! We are still eating from the garden and if you want to know how we set it up, the podcast will cover some of it and next week’s post, on Monday, will explain the Square Foot planting in a little more detail with diagrams and everything (oh er!) If your looking for the suppliers I use here at the cottage, you can find the links along the side (on pc view) or below (on mobile view). This year the beds, seeds, toddler tools (and whole heap of garden tools and care items) came from The Garden Shop, seed purchases (and we joined up to the GIY membership program) from GIY international along with all the love and tweets sent on the start of their Grow HQ and QuickCrop we used for plug plants, seeds and tutorials. We ordered our fruit trees, seeds, grow bags, bulbs and more from Mr. Middelton and their catalog. I have to say with all four shops we received fantastic customer care and follow ups and I’m not sponsored so you can trust me when I say that.
If you have any questions / want to contact me you can mail me (nadia(at)cottagenotebook.ie) or find me on:
and Bunnyt on Ravelry.
and of course I will answer questions on the podcast too! Till next time, keep digging and help me win the war on weeds!