Cucumbers and gherkins
We planted cucumbers and gherkins outside this year as a bit of an experiment. We know that they prefer the conditions in a greenhouse but were curious to see what we could produce in the open. They’ve actually grown very well, even if it took them a while to get going.
Once the gherkins were going we got a really good crop, most of which we ate raw, instead of pickling them. The results of pickling gherkins last year were a bit hit and miss.
The cucumbers were the biggest surprise. A few were curly, but the majority were straight and solid, just like the cucumbers you’d find in the supermarket. They certainly tasted better than shop-bought varieties though – very sweet and crunchy.
We’ll definitely grow both gherkins and cucumbers outdoors next year and perhaps even expand the area we assign to them.
Last year we said that we wouldn’t grow tomatoes outdoors again. Although we managed to get plenty of the fruit, we found that around 30% of it did not ripen and then another 30% suffered from blight. The remaining tomatoes that we could eat were delicious, but it didn’t present a very good return on you efforts.
However, we saw some tomato plants in a local garden centre on special offer earlier in the year and decided it was worth one last try! Unsurprisingly, the results have been very much the same as last year. This will now be the last year we try growing outdoor tomatoes and they will be consigned to the greenhouse from now on.
Our sweetcorn patch has proved successful once again. Over the years we’ve always been lucky with the quality and quantity of sweetcorn that we grow. The 24 plants that we have this year still have a couple of weeks to mature and we’re aiming to harvest them before the local badgers do – a problem we have encountered in the past. We’ve constructed a strong fence around the plants to deter any badger investigations but we doubt it will really stop them if they’re determined.
Learning from previous experiences of being swamped by hundreds of courgettes, we decided to grow only two courgette plants this year. We’ve still ended up picking more than we can eat or give away, but it’s manageable. We’ve stuck with the same yellow variety as last year as we find them sweeter and firmer than the more common green varieties.
Onions and garlic
The onions and garlic we harvested earlier in the summer are drying nicely and there should be enough to see us through the winter. They weren’t as consistent as last year but nearly all of them are edible.
Now it’s time to start thinking about which varieties we’ll plant later this year.