April 26

Cucumbers by numbers

I bought a packet of Cucumber ‘Carmen’ seeds. The average number in the packet is 4 so I was a little disappointed to only get 3 – but someone has to if it is an average. I think they are what Charles Dowding grows or I just picked them out and didn’t look too closely at the price and seed numbers. The packet cost me £4.99 so that is £1.66 per seed. This might be the most expensive seed I have ever sown. Usually, seed this expensive is F1 or even F2 but it doesn’t say this on the packet although I can find examples of these packets which say F1 on google.

All three seeds germinated (phew) so no losses yet. They have been potted up and are in the unheated greenhouse, growing on until I put them in the polytunnel. Tesco organic cucumbers cost £1 each. It probably isn’t enough really and with the Netherlands not exporting cucumbers this year, I am counting on these. They will only need to grow 3 cucumbers on each plant to make them financially viable. This number allows for compost and pots in the cost.

I am also growing my stalwarts Crystal Lemon and Marketmore both inside and outside as they are prolific and my usual worry is how to use the numbers of cucumbers they produce from three of each plant. I’ll keep you posted about what happens.

June 4

Harvest Monday 4th June 2018

I do love this time of year. Everything in the vegetable garden starts to get going and there is a choice about what to have for lunch, not just spinach!

This is probably the earliest cucumber I have ever grown. I bought a grafted plant, Mini Star, which already had some small cucumbers on it and this one didn’t go yellow and drop off with the cold but grew.  It will take a little while for the next one to be ready.

This is the first beetroot from outside. It is a mixture of Boltardy and Bona and is the first year I have grown Bona. It has done just as well as the Boltardy the only difference being in the shape of the root: it is a globe with no point on the bottom.  On the back of the packet of the seed it says that they are as good as any hybrid which made me wonder if I could save my own seed from them.  I think I will sow some more, let them grow through to next year and save the seed just to see what happens. Tomorrow, however, I will make beetroot and feta samosas with them.

All of my outdoor carrot seedlings were eaten by slugs and snails. Grrrr! So, I only have the carrots in the polytunnel at the moment. Some of them are a little wiggly because I garden on sand and stone. I am going to eat these with the peas below, broadbeans and a lemon and mustard dressing.

Again, these peas are from the polytunnel. The outdoor ones won’t be long but it does show how the polytunnel extends the season at both ends.  These are Douce Provence and I will definitely be growing them again. The plants seem to be stronger and a little tougher than the Hurst Greenshaft I normally grow. The peas, however, are tender and sweet.

The smallest harvest ever of potatoes. One of the Nicola potatoes was flowering so I thought I would just take a look.  They are small but were delicious cooked with mint. Patience!

And soon to come are the strawberries and the globe artichokes. I can’t wait!

My thanks to the wonderful Our Happy Acres blog for hosting the Harvest Monday posts.