First vegetables

Finally, the beans I planted way back in January have come up trumps and I managed to harvest some broad beans, some peas and some runner beans. This is just the beginning of the season for them.

As regular readers know well, I am a massive fan of beans – broad beans being my absolute favourite (though I love butter beans as well) so I’m pretty pleased with my harvest. They’re a little later than last year – but not by much. Do you think the year is catching up?

Broad beans

I’ve even had a handful of peas and runner beans. The runner beans look pretty happy now, it must be said, though I think next year I might plant them straight out, as it was tough to move them as they were in such big pots. I had my first pea and bean herb risotto on Monday night and it was GOOD to eat fresh stuff from the garden and not frozen stuff from last year. Saturday, it was new potatoes, broad beans, runner beans, peas with a little olive oil. I seriously could live off that meal. The peas are just perfectly sweet, the broad beans are still small and soft and the runner beans are also really crisp. I grated a little cheddar on top and it was just about the best meal I’ve had in ages.

Of my 250kg target for the year, I have so far harvested:

2.5 kg sprouting broccoli

4.5 kg cherries

1.1 kg broad beans.

100g peas

100g runner beans

That makes it 8.3 kg out of 250kg. It’s going to be a bit of a slog! I think I’ll have to rip up the broad beans quick sharp, add some compost and get a line or two of bok choi out, and some squash. Swede and turnip can also go out this late and they weigh in a bit.

To be fair, lots of things are beginning to happen. The first baby tomatoes are forming, the pumpkins seem permanently in flower. The potatoes look amazing and I hope they haven’t succumbed to blight. The kale is coming on great guns, as is the broccoli. The corn and mini-pop corn are beginning to pousse (I’ve always liked that French uses the verb ‘to push’ for ‘to grow’…).

As for the other stuff, well, not so much. I planted out a few peppers last week, despite the rain. They seem to be okay, but I don’t hold much hope for them growing big enough, putting out flowers, putting out fruit and ripening all before September. Likewise the aubergines. The rain has brought lots of mushrooms up, and I kind of wish I had a mushroom farm. It’d be hugely successful right now.

The lettuce have obviously had a bit of a drama and some of them have gone to seed. I would too if I were them. I bet they don’t know whether they’re coming or going with this weather. Pouring down for days at 20°C and then fresh this week. 24°C is not what I would expect of the weather for a daytime high. Oh well. You get what you are given. I think this serves me right for gloating back in January. Today, it is predicted to be only 10° hotter than that January day. Bah to that.

Still, whilst it is still too wet to mow, it is not too wet to weed, and I can start to make some headway on the annual weeds that have set up shop all over my nicely dug patches.

Last year, my coreopsis were flowering, the monarda were in bloom and I even had hazelnuts. This year, well, everything is very green. And that’s about the best I can say.

It was about this time last year that a very small puppy arrived here – Mr Heston Crow. He is not so little any more, but he is a darling. Really, he should be out herding stuff and looking pretty, but he tolerates long walks well enough.


He doesn’t look so very cute any more, though Verity was right: he did grow up handsome.


Charlton is a lovely dog. He is everyone’s best friend. There isn’t a dog alive who he doesn’t try to play with, should they come round to his house. If they grumble, like Dillon does, well, he leaves them alone. He’s currently playing Uncle to two very beautiful little boxer Xs that Madame V is fostering until they are permanently adopted. Milly and Molly. They are quite the delight. Charlton has had a very good teacher in Lola the GSD though. She has taught him exactly how to play nicely with others.

So, whilst it’s a bit skinny on the harvesting front, it’s busy on the work front. The school year is coming to an end, but I have plenty of summer clients to keep me busy. The marking has had its back broken. I’m surprised by how much I’ve done of it, to be honest, since the last few sessions I haven’t managed to mark my initial allocation in full. I have a better approach now – though I prefer to mark one question a day and to do the easy ones first, this time, I marked the hard ones first and the ones that are pair-marked, I’ve been marking in the evening like everybody else. This year, I haven’t had so much checking and enforced go-slows as a result. Plus, the weather has been a bonus for that. What else is there to do but go to bed early and mark?

I’ve banned downloads or DVDs as I usually do in the marking period, though I have been checking in regularly with Mr George RR Martin and his Game of Thrones creatures. I’ve nearly finished all of his books again, though I am disappointed that he hasn’t managed to whip out Book 6. I’ve said before and I’ll say again – if he doesn’t finish them, I will be distraught. Iain Banks’ death really brought home to me the mortality of my best-loved authors. I feel like some druggie whose dealer has shuffled off this mortal coil, ferreting around their old stuff in the hopes of finding a nugget of something that can give me a hit.

I think I need another epic series.

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