|Red and Golden Raspberries|
It’s been a fantastic year for fruit. So far. Earlier on my strawberries really put out, and red and golden raspberries have been plentiful, continuing to produce juicy fruits. Strangely, the Autumn Gold variety is, as the name suggests, supposed to crop in autumn though mine have been making fruit alongside the reds right through the season. But things are a bit strange up at Magic Plot 7 this year. There are bizarre ‘growings-on’.
The first thing I noticed when I arrived yesterday was that the sweetcorn plants are starting to make tassels. This all sounds very normal except that the sweetcorn plants are less than 3 foot high. I put a fork in amongst them for this photograph so you can see how tiny they are.
Now I always plant everything closer together than advised. I've been doing it for more than 20 years with generally good results, and indeed I teach my students that close planting will result in a smaller crop, though this is not necessarily a problem for those of us who are one or two people, or don't need to feed a family. So I can't say that my sweetcorn plants are so short because of the close planting. They are not a dwarf variety if such a thing even exists. It's all very odd. Let's see whether or not I will get any cobs.
I noticed too that the Marmande tomato plants are only about a foot high, though they have plenty of beef tomatoes ripening on the vines. They look very peculiar. Once again, the reason for their shortness is unknown.
A squash that came from a seed packet labelled Turk’s Turban looks like anything but, being smooth and round and orange. I remember when the same thing happened a few years ago, but this is from a new seed packet!
|Not Turk's Turban!|
The purple podded climbing beans took forever to get going. They are still making foliage, which is plentiful and climbing all over the frame, but as yet there is not even a hint of flower. Similarly for the Blue Lake French bean plants. Will there be beans this year? It's very odd for me to be in August already and not yet tasted one.
|Plenty of purple podded foliage, but no beans yet|
There are plenty of pollinating insects around, so that can't be the problem. My leeks were super-skinny, as were many of my allotment neighbours’, with not much edible stem so I left most of them to flower. In addition to this there are flower heads from Angelica and Lovage, all regularly smothered by visiting butterflies, bees and hoverflies.
But back to the fruit, and I have had tons... well all right, kilos and kilos.... of round, dark, sweet blackcurrants which have been eaten fresh with yoghurt or ice cream, made into jam and included in cakes. I found a delicious and very simple blackcurrant cake recipe; just a regular half fat to flour/sugar sponge, but you rub the fat into the flour and sugar, much like making a crumble, then incorporate the egg and blackcurrants. Baking it in a glass dish means the flavour of the fruit doesn't taint, as it might do in a metal cake tin. Fiddling around with the ingredients ratio I used good quality cocoa to make a chocolate version as well. Chocolate and blackcurrants – a fabulous combination.
My other heavy cropper this year was gooseberries. Fresh or made into jam and fool, sweet and utterly delicious.
Love a Fruit Harvest