Great season for vegetable harvesting

Some of our vegetables have performed extra well this summer.

Sunday, 26th August 2018, 4:35 pm
Sweet corn has excelled in the garden this year. Picture by Tom Pattinson.

Corn-on-the-cob has been on the annual seed list and performed well for as long as I can recall, but it has excelled this time with bigger, sweeter cobs that ripened earlier than usual.

When buying the seed we go for cultivars bred for our shorter, Northern growing-season – Earlibird, Swift or Sundance, for example. Then if wall-to-wall sunshine arrives, all the better.

The seeds were sown individually in pots in early April and stood in moderate warmth.

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Block formation planting to encourage wind pollination followed at the end of May. Twenty-four plants, each producing two fat cobs, went into a one square metre, organic-rich plot, and regular watering during the heatwave clearly paid off.

But it is not the only vegetable success story.

Runner beans have been rampant in their growth and pods available for picking, but even the so-called stringless varieties need harvesting young.

When you have a glut of them, which is always the case, blanching and consigning them to the freezer in batches is the best option.

Big onions, such as Kelsae, raised from seed at the beginning of the year, have made good growth and the time has come to advance the ripening process by easing them up with a fork.

This is a popular exhibition variety, but here they’re grown for winter storage and kitchen use.

Surprisingly, given the size, they have such an agreeably mild taste when cooked.

Perpetual spinach is one of the most underrated vegetables.

Sown outdoors in April, it’s capable of producing leaves non-stop for one year, and a packet of seed containing 250 costs only £1.99.