Well, you thought I had big news regarding the vegetables last week did you, dear reader? Just you wait. This week has been a STONKER on Farm Emily.
We are still patiently waiting for the tomatoes to turn anything resembling red, I’d even take a pale orange at this point, but they are staunchly remaining green and no matter what I try to encourage them they just glare at me with their hulk-like facades. It’s rather off putting. However, past experience with tomatoes (one of the few veggies I have a reasonable amount of experience in!) tells me that they are often slow to ripen, especially the standard size ones. If you’re after something that will produce a heavy crop and ripen earlier in the summer I would recommend going for cherry tomatoes, and my personal favourite are the cherry plum varieties as they somehow always seem so sweet and tasty. However, I am sticking with my moneymaker tomatoes, which were a loyal friend to my grandparents for many years, so fingers crossed we will see some activity soon.
The courgettes are still running rampant around the garden and I’m harvesting one or two a day at this point and giving them away to literally anyone who passes so much as within thirty feet of me (but no closer than six feet!). We’ve been using them in almost everything we cook – who knew the humble courgette was so versatile? I uploaded one of our new favourite recipes, the courgette and sweetcorn fritter last weekend and on Sunday I will upload another firm favourite in my household – a vegan courgette and lemon loaf cake, so look out for that one!
The carrots have started to really poke their orange heads above the ground so we’ve started harvesting a handful of them every few days. Now, they’re delicious, the most carroty carrots I have ever tasted, but I cannot excuse their appearance at all. They’re not the most aesthetically pleasing carrots you’ve ever seen. However, grated into a salad alongside some beetroot (also harvested from the garden!) and cucumber, they’re pretty dang good.
Speaking of cucumbers, I really didn’t know what to expect as the seeds were sown much later than the other veggies, but they’ve done really well! After initially taking a while to get going, as soon as they started spreading their viney tendrils throughout the greenhouse they have thrived and we are getting a full sized cucumber from them every day or so. The variety I have are Beit Alpha F1 cucumbers, which comfortably grow to around 15cm in a domestic greenhouse and provide very sweet flavourful fruit. At the moment we are enjoying eating these fresh in salads, or mixing with some yoghurt and herbs for some homemade tzatziki, but I am more and more tempted to attempt pickling some smaller cucumbers just to see if I can. However, I am conscious that that will involve stinking the whole house out with vinegar for a few hours!
The dwarf green beans are another surprise hit! They seemed fairly innocuous for a long time and their flowers were small and delicate, not like the big beefy flowers I became used to seeing on the courgette and pumpkin plants. However, once they got into their stride with growing bean pods there was no stopping them and we’ve enjoyed green beans served a few different ways. My personal favourite is what I like to call my “green gnocchi”, where you mix in everything you’ve got that is green (I like beans, peas, spinach, courgette, mangetout, sugar snap peas, small piece of broccoli) with a bit of pesto and cream cheese and then stir all that into some gnocchi or pasta. It’s absolutely crammed full of veggies, super easy peasy to make and dang delicious.
The cayenne pepper plant is probably the most considerate of all the fruit and veg plants we have in the garden at the moment. It kindly ripens just one pepper at a time, which is perfectly paced and they are just ideal in terms of spice. If you’re feeling brave then it’s definitely possible to just munch on one raw, but they release a lovely sweet spice when cooked in to dishes.
The pumpkin plants are my pride and joy, they are hideous now, just hideous. They’ve taken over the entire garden, they’re bigger than any other plant we have growing here and I’m pretty sure it’s their mission to grow so big that they end up climbing into my room whilst I sleep. They’re monsters. In the best way. I have a handful of pumpkins actually growing, but of course the thing with pumpkins is they take a LOT of water and they don’t actually look like the pumpkins we know and love for AGES. They sort of have this appearance of a rather bloated looking lemon at the moment, which is not ideal and definitely not the basic girl autumnal Instagram aesthetic I am aiming for. So please cross your fingers that with a bit of love (i.e. water and tomorite) they head in the right direction and we are blessed with our very own pumpkin patch. If this does happen, I am using this opportunity to warn you all that I will be spamming my Instagram with endless photos of me with my pumpkins. Expect something along the lines of a maternity photoshoot but with a pumpkin instead.
Anyhoo, that’s quite enough enthusiasm about vegetables for one blog post. I’ll see you next time dear friends, and let’s hope by then I have a red tomato (and a green pepper! That’s one for all those Ready Steady Cook fans out there – a big audience I feel).