In the growing garden: 20 July


After a very crazy end to the last weekend, more on which another time, it’s high time for a little update on my garden now that summer has finally arrived.

Space for the Butterflies - the growing garden

And with summer has come the first serious harvest of the garlic and onion bed.  I’ve lifted all our garlic and both sorts of onions, as far as I know anyway – Pip has a lovely habit of pulling on the leaves so there’s every chance we’ll find a stray when I turn up the beds, but for now, all is safely gathered in.

Space for the Butterflies - the growing garden

This year’s garlic was not a great success, I planted Marco garlic this year and I’d say that out of the whole patch I’ve got two that look like proper heads of garlic.  The rest seem to have just made slightly larger single cloves, which I’m sure are edible, but I’m not sure are actually going to make an appearance in the kitchen.  I genuinely don’t know where we went wrong this year; last year I had heads of garlic that were completely formed but tiny because they got choked by grass when I abandoned the garden in the middle of the year, so this year I’ve been much more diligent with the weeding (despite occasional appearances to the contrary).  They may have been spaced a bit too close together thanks to my enthusiastic assistant gardener but I don’t think that should have caused it – could it be just a duff batch of garlic sets or have I done something really obvious that I don’t know about?

Space for the Butterflies - the growing garden

Truth be told, both sets of onions also suffered from over planting and a failure to thin, but in among what would more charitably be called shallots we do have some genuine homegrown onions that look like they could have come in a veg box, so I’m counting that a win.  Pip and Elma are mostly just thrilled that we are finally finally allowed to pull things up from that bed – it’s been a long time since November!

Space for the Butterflies - the growing garden

The red onions are called Electric and the yellow are Senshyu Yellow and assuming they taste as nice as they grew, they’ll be worth trying again next year.

And so now I have an empty bed, or at least I will do when I pull the weeds up.  I’m thinking about trying another crop of spinach because the last one grew so quickly so I think I could easily get it in before the end of the growing season but I don’t know whether I’d be better letting the bed ‘rest’ before onion planting time comes around again.  As with all these things it will almost certainly come down to time and energy rather than any great gardening principles so we’ll just have to wait and see.

Space for the Butterflies - the growing garden

Next door the parsnip forest continues to flourish.  It is now almost certain that most of the parsnips are a smidge on the close side, which is probably apparent from the photos to everyone but me, but they’re borderline so I’m leaving them all be for now, and if I end up with micro-parsnips they’ll still taste nice roasted with maple syrup.

Aside from the spinach (which is in an odd sort of will-it won’t-it regeneration at the moment) this year’s successes despite cat-based odds are the beans and the peas.

Space for the Butterflies - the growing garden

I ate my first sugarsnap pea straight off the vine yesterday and the more I look the more I see; I’m trying to hole out for enough to be a formal side at supper before I pick the lot but they’re very hard to resist for casual snacking.

Space for the Butterflies - the growing garden

And last but by no means least, the purple bean plants have not only flowered teeny tiny little purple flowers, but started to grow teeny tiny little purple beans.  Given how many bean plants we lost in the early days, these are serious survivors and it will make them all the sweeter when we get to bean harvest time.

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  • Kim 22/07/2016 at 1:13 am

    Looks great Carie. I love the look for purple beans, mine are just about the same size as yours….almost time to start harvesting.

  • sustainablemum 23/07/2016 at 10:49 pm

    Wow what a great harvest you have had. I love the colour of your purple beans they look amazing.