Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Harvest (in the nick of) Time

When, in the depths of winter, we're plodging around in freezing mud like idiots in order to try and get a patch on the allotment sorted, it'll help to have a record of a day like today. A day when, after work we popped down to the allotment and dug up the remainder of our spuds (Marfona 2nd earlies- no main crop for us), three cabbages, 4 massive courgettes, some rhubarb and a few berries. Good frigging times.

brassica



These cabbages have taken some serious care and attention so it's a pleasure to see some make it to the finish line.  We harvested the two largest round cabbages and a greyhound pointed cabbage that had formed a full head.  Clubroot, cabbage whites, overly acidic soil, numerous and various weeds, pigeons, slugs and snails- in your face, the lot of you!

victory
Cabbagey victory
As it happens, it looks like we got to our cabbages just in the nick of time, as who should be lurking on one of them but this comedian:

caterpillar
A git, earlier
I'm presuming this is a cabbage white caterpillar? Looks similar anyway. On closer inspection it turns out there were a bunch of eggs on both the round cabbages I pulled up. Not for long.  It would've been fully gutting to have had the whole crop munched by caterpillars, so good job we caught them in time. I relocated the caterpillar to our back yard, still attached to an outer cabbage leaf. I hope he/she appreciated my clemency. It does go to show that you need a really fine mesh to keep the Cabbage White butterflies at bay as these plants were meshed; obviously just not finely enough.

allotment
Slim pickings
The blueberry bushes that we put in this year are doing not bad and putting up some small amount of fruit; tastes amazing.

Went home with a basket full of veg almost too heavy to carry. Bosh. The largest cabbage, once shorn of all inedible leaves, weighed 1.5 kilos, which seems fairly impressive to me. Suffice to say I wouldn't want to take a blow to the face from the blighter. Strawberry harvest wasn't up to much mind.


Dinner was grilled courgettes, cauliflower in anchovy butter and half a pointed cabbage cooked in a little butter and water. Felt good to stuff ourselves on nowt but veg, especially after such a meat-laden weekend (bbq at the folks place). The other half cabbage went into a Nigel Slater recipe coleslaw. Never made a home-made coleslaw before, though I will again.

Our nasturtiums are seeding all over the place. I gathered up a bunch of the seeds which will be pickled. A bloke on a herb-gardening course we went on had some pickled nasturtium seeds and they tasted amazing, like hyper-capers. I'll let you know how they work out.

10 comments:

  1. Its such a good feeling....

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  2. We don't grow main crop potatoes either but the arlies last us through the year. Small white butterfly caterpillars are just green and large white are yellow and black stripes and lay yellow eggs. They usually feast in groups. I have a bit of video here this page of my website The one in the photo looks a darker colour but I suppose it could be just the light. Hope you don't mind me posting the links - just realised I dod this in my last post comment too!

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    1. Don't mind at all! That's a great vid, eat your heart out Attenborough. We've had some of the small green caterpillars which I assume are small cabbage whites. The one above doesn't look like the stripey fellows in your vid tho. D'you reckon it could be a non Cabbage White species? Ps, until today I would've had no idea what "frass" was; thanks for rectifying that!

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    2. It could be something else Lee - what colours was it? There is no wonder they make short work of thinks when you see how they munch and munch and munch is there. I think the frass is as bad as the damage!!!! Yuk!!!!

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  3. Wow, what a great harvest you had. I'm going to check my spring brassica netting later. There have been far too many white butterflies lately for my liking.

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    1. The swines! I was running round the plot like an idiot earlier in the year, chasing butterflies away. Probably not the most effective of methods...

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  4. Well it looks like things are going well for you. It's nice now things are finally becoming ready to harvest in earnest. I never heard about pickling seeds so I will be interested to see how you get on.

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    1. Recipe that I'm going to use here if you're interested: www.cottagesmallholder.com/pickled-nasturtium-seeds-recipe-uk-capers-3791/

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    2. A plot neighbour made pickled nasturtium seeds and we tried some which were very good.

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