VEGETABLE GROWING 2020

Discussion in 'Edible Gardening' started by ARMANDII, Jan 18, 2020.

  1. shiney

    shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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    Our blackberries are only just coming ripe for picking but they don't get watered. They have been in our blackberry beds for 70 years and have a lovely flavour, when ripe, but are horribly vicious.

    Our apples and pears are having a fantastic year, not ready yet, and the apple trees have certainly been thinning themselves out in the high winds. We have given away over 80lb of windfalls.
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    The pear trees haven't dropped many and are doing well. These Williams pears should be ready in a couple of weeks or so
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    Conference pears are usually at least a month later
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    I'm picking about 5lb of beans a day at the moment but expect that to double in about two weeks time
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    The rabbits ate the beetroot :mad:
     
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    • Scrungee

      Scrungee Well known for it

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      I can't understand using garden space for blackberries, plus pruning, training, feeding, etc., when the hedgerows are covered with them. We picked 13lbs in 45 mins yesterday and a another 13lbs 8ozs in 45 mins this morning. When one patch finishes simply move onto another where they ripen later.

      Even worse is paying about £5.78/lb for them in shops (Tesco Finest) when they can be picked a few minutes walk away.
       
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      • shiney

        shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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        I understand what you're saying but it's not quite the circumstances. The blackberry plants were put in over 70 years ago, they're not in the way, we never train them (although I do tell them to be nice) and we don't feed them.

        The 40ft run of them takes about 20 minutes to prune once a year and we don't have to drive any distance to try and find blackberries that somebody else hasn't already got to. We wouldn't pick from hedgerows near the road because of possible pollution.

        Our plants give us sufficient to last us all year and we're just using the last few pounds of those frozen from last year. Our resident birds love them and this morning the baby pheasants were picking the ones within reach. :) They were also eating some of the windfall apples but mum came along and brought them to the bird feeders for their seeds for breakfast.

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        • Aldo

          Aldo Super Gardener

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          I see your point but I think it really depends on location, what type of garden and other things.
          Personally I love having blackberries in the garden and I would not want to be without.

          Once trained they take little space in our small garden, running behind the beds with other plants which seems to do fine anyway. I was a bit worried the blackberries might perhaps increase the chance of diseases and pests, but that does not seem to be the case.
          They are a veritable magnet for pollinators earlier in the season, the buzzing sometimes is even disquieting somewhat :D
          Also they give us some privacy from several other small gardens.
          Of course, many ornamentals could work as a screen, but the look of blackberries, with their thousands flowers and fruits, is really something else (to me, that is). It is a matter of personal taste, but given all my plants are edibles of some kind, they kind of fit well.

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          And honestly, the faces of guests, and particularly children when they come to the garden, is well worth the effort :)
          They like the strawberries, when there is any, and of course the tomatoes.
          But that stretch of lush berries just waiting to be picked stands out.
          Granted, this year has not been great for inviting people over, because of covid and other reasons, I regret that. But still we enjoy plucking one or ten from time to time while enjoying the garden.

          It is a bit of a pain to maintain them at times, but now I have some practise taking them early.
          The only major pain in the back is removing them at the end of the season. Beside that, they really do not need watering. A feed a few times per year, some aspirine solution once, because I do that anyway with other plants.

          If I lived in the countryside and had a lot of bushes within walking distance perhaps I would think differently. But then, we had that in north London and frankly we did not go picking much and the competition was fierce, whole families filling up buckets with anything remotely ripe.
          And of course we only pick 6 to 10 kg per season, so that 20 feet or so of well maintained bushes which we can harvest continuousy are enough for us.
           
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          • Aldo

            Aldo Super Gardener

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            Of course you were right, they are recovering already and looking much better :)
             
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            • Aldo

              Aldo Super Gardener

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              I decided to remove the only pumpkin from a Huchiki Kuri. It has been hanging there looking ripe but without growing since forever, and the plant is slowly dying, it seems.
              Tomorrow I think the plant will go too, replaced by a spare jalapeno or pepper.
              The pumpkin is half the size of what it should be, but I think it will taste fine once cured.
              I was expecting the plants to be more productive though.. Perhaps I should have mixed in more BF&B.

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              Some of the veggies ended up the Pad Thai. I tried volunteering the pumpkin flowers too, but only few were allowed, with reservations.

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              The new spacemaster cucumbers are still small but growing.

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              I also lost a tomatillo branch to the wind.. It has been planted and watered abundantly, after all it is a relative of tomatoes, but I fear it is wishful thinking.

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              • shiney

                shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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                The flowers could be used a few ways. A couple of ways is stuffed (with anything you like) dipped in Tempura flour and deep fried or just dipped in lightly spiced Tempura and deep fried. You can get recipes on the internet. :blue thumb:

                I used to train our blackberries on wires stretched between 8ft high posts but gave that up years ago. The branches would grow 30ft in a season. As we have the space they are now kept no higher than waist height and the long runners are lopped off so they don't get in the way. There is space kept around them so we can just walk round the bushes. I'll try and remember to take a photo. :)
                 
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                • Aldo

                  Aldo Super Gardener

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                  Actually, frying the flowers is the most popular way back in Italy. That is how I used to have them as a child and loved it :)
                  My mum did not put anything in, but I do stuff them with cheese and/or anchovies and basil before dipping them in either eggs and flour or beer batter.

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                  I do the same with zucchini, calamari and all sort of things..
                  Which is a problem because, even when frying in olive oil, the result is delicious but too high in cholesterol to be had often I think.
                  So we were trying other recipes. We get so many pumpkin flowers every day right now, while I never see them in supermarkets, so I feel bad not using them.

                  For now we have tried with Pad Thai, but honestly they do not work very well, and with a pasta sauce which I enjoyed but my family was not that keen on.
                  I think next time will try a risotto..

                  Looking forward to the photos of your blackberry bushes, I love blackberry plants :)
                   
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                  • Emily Jones

                    Emily Jones Gardener

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                    Got to say Aldo...looks delicious. Tummy is rumbling :rolleyespink:
                     
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                    • Emily Jones

                      Emily Jones Gardener

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                      Wowee...I am in awe. Looking f.a.b!!
                       
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                      • Aldo

                        Aldo Super Gardener

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                        Very easy to make actually. You can use any squash or zucchini flowers, but pumpkin flowers are best. The green bits at the bottom of the flower, and the stamen inside, need removing because they taste bitter. The zucchini needs to be sliced quite finely so they can cook quickly.
                        Mozzarella, anchovies, basil, other kinds of cheese too work well as stuffing for the flowers, but they are nice even whithout.
                        The batter is one egg whisked with an optional splash of milk, a pinch of salt and pepper (I like the ground fresh). They can soak a lot so I drain them in a strainer a bit and then roll them in normal flour. One way to do that with less mess is to put some flour in a bowl, then some battered veggies, cover with a plate and give it a good shake.
                        Then I fry it all in a few inches of vegetable oil, sometimes mixed with olive oil. Or full olive oil if I am having guests :D
                        The oil should be as hot as it can go, but the frying time is very short, 30 seconds for the flowers, 1-2 min max for the zucchini slices, to light brown only basically.
                        Normally I dry them on a metal strainer, sprinkle a bit of salt and toss them so a little goes a long way. If you do not normally use much salt, you can skip that. Then dry further on kitchen paper if available.

                        Carrots are quite nice fried that way too. If you have a spiralizer and a potato, you could also make the spud into spirals or spaghetti, soak it briefly in warm salty water, strain it and fry that up too (with no batter). My kid loves potatoes that way, very crunchy and takes 30 second to one minute to fry.

                        Well, if you have some zucchini and perhaps flowers from the garden, give it a fry! :heehee:
                         
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                        • shiney

                          shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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                          If you're gluten free you can use chick pea flour (also known as Gram flour) and I actually prefer it to ordinary flour. It usually gives a drier, crisper finish. :blue thumb:
                           
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                          • justracing2

                            justracing2 Gardener

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                            I have recently moved and have a pretty restricted planting area for vegetables so I decided to grow some runner beans in pots this year and quite frankly they have been a complete waste of time.P1020259.JPG . Any advice welcome please for next year.
                             
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                            • Sheal

                              Sheal Total Gardener

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                              I picked the first of the runner beans today and although your can't see them on the plants it's going to be a good crop. :)

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                            • shiney

                              shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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                              It looks like a lack of sufficient water and nutrients (but not feed additives). You have a lot of dead leaves, which shouldn't happen.

                              I can't see any flowers on there. Did you get any?

                              When runners are grown in the ground they need a good couple of gallons of water, at least twice a week, for about 10 sq ft of ground. When they're in pots they need more than that as they dry out quickly. I would tend to double that figure for pots that size. The bigger the pot the better the water retention. A mulch on the top will help a bit, even in pots.

                              Runners don't like hot and very sunny weather (they do like sun and bright skies) so tend to be late in setting pods during heatwaves but as I can't see any flowers that doesn't seem the problem. As there are no flowers any pollination problems won't come into the situation.

                              Some people have asked me questions about poor pollination of flowers this year. It could be lack of pollinators. Having some pollinator attracting plants nearby helps but not ones that are the greatest favourites of pollinators as they may keep to those instead. Hot evenings don't help as the pollinators are not as active. The old saying about spraying/misting the flowers to help pollination has been proved to be wrong as it tends to deter pollinators. If using plant food don't feed the plants until they are in flower otherwise it will promote leaf growth instead of flower.

                              Runners don't like acid soils so if your soil is below pH 6.5 you would need to use an additive (e.g. lime) to bring it back up.
                               
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