It is harvest time in our garden and almost every day we are bringing in something tasty for the dinner or to store for leaner times.
We have recently adopted a lovely young dog, and between training her and building our extension, most of the growing season has been very busy. Today it was time to harvest our onions and shallots and as you can see in the picture; our onion bed was completely covered in weeds and plants this morning. We have been growing nasturtiums for three summers now. They self-seed prolifically, taste nice, bring in pollinators to the vegetable plot and look very cheerful on a dull rainy day. Another reason to have them in the vegetable garden is that they act as weed suppressants and if they get too big and start to shade out your crops, they are very easy to pull out.
We started our onion harvest by pulling out most of the nasturtiums and weeds and after that it was very easy to get the onions out. We put in small sets in spring and have been eating and giving away lots of lovely fresh onions all summer so today we were surprised to find that we still had enough onions to fill a whole wheelbarrow. The only problem is that we have had a very wet summer here in the West of Ireland and they cannot be put out in the sun to cure and dry up a bit. We are planning to tie them into bundles and hang them from the roof of our open shed where the sun might shine on them once in a while, but the rain can’t get to them. If it works out we are hoping to be self sufficient in onions up until midwinter at least.
The weather has been very wet but it seems to have benefitted the members of the onion family. We bought a bag with about 15 shallots in spring and today we harvested hundreds. Each set had grown into a big cluster of plump healthy looking shallots.
Another crop we were looking forward to check on were the potatoes we planted on St. Patrick’s Day. The tyre stacks had grown quite high and we pulled apart one stack of the long fingerling ratte variety and two of the blue ones. The ratte potato is a French second early variety and the tubers had grown all through the stack but as it has been a very cold summer the harvest was not as big as we had hoped, but we are looking forward to tasting the ones we got. They are supposed to have a chestnut flavour. Our blue potatoes were growing close to the ground and had no tubers near the top of the stacks, but the ones we harvested were very big and healthy looking. We have not had any problems with blight. We are not sure of the variety but are looking forward to baking, frying and mashing them. We still have six more stacks to harvest in the next week or two.
Our runner-beans are called sunrise but so far there are only pretty flowers to look at and no beans. It has been too cold for them to really flourish.
We are growing purple, green and yellow peas as well as lots of daylilies for stir-fries. The daylilies (hemerocallis) are very tasty and can be picked as buds, flowers or the day after they have flowered for stir fries. They are eaten regularly in China and yellow daylilies are sold dried under the name of golden needles for soups and stews. As far as we know, not all varieties are edible so use caution and do some research about yours.
All in all it has been a very wet and dull summer but we are happy with our harvest, despite mostly ignoring the kitchen garden and letting the weeds run riot we have enjoyed many tasty meals this summer and we are looking forward to the continued harvest.