I don’t think you’re ready for this Courgetti

I’m drowning in Courgettes, and I’m spiralizing them as fast as I can go…. but I fear this is only the start!

You might remember that I planted 6 Courgette ‘Black Beauty plants earlier this year, and when I moved into my new house at the end of April, I swiftly built a raised bed and planted 4 of them in it, and 2 of them nearby.

Two Homebase raised beds stacked on top of each other and filled with soil.
I built my raised bed at the end of May, and planted 4 courgettes, 2 squash and 2 aubergines.

Well, having since had weeks of hot weather and sporadic heavy rainfall, I’m now in the midst of a Courgette-valanche, a Zuchinni-overload, I’m drowing in them. Plus, i somewhat foolishly gave them all liquid fertilizer at the weekend! :S

Today I went out and picked 8 courgettes.

Courgette harvest of week 4
4th week of courgette harvests – 8 of them!

Introducing the Courgettometer

Because I love a good bar chart, I’ve decided to keep a tally of how many courgettes i’m picking per week, and how much they weigh. I’ll probably do the same for the French Beans, although the Courgettes will win on weight easily.

Here’s the Courgettometer’s cumulative courgette weight chart so far:

Courgettometer - week 4
A chart showing the cumulative weight (in grams) of Courgettes from my garden – week 4

I knew I’d get more than I needed (I’m the only one here to eat them), but in just the 4th week of harvest, they show no sign of giving up. Thankfully I traded in my wrist-achingly manual spiralizer for a Morphy Richards electric spiralizer a few weeks ago, and after a few very disappointing and messy squishy attempts, I’ve pretty much mastered it and now I’m eating a courgette most days via the magic of courgette spaghetti – or ‘courgetti’ as I like to call it. I don’t eat pasta or noodles, so turning a courgette into a noodle form gives me a lovely bulky meal that’s also far healthier (and less uncomfortable) for me to eat. It also means I can eat them alongside a load of other vegetables without realising I’m eating a whole courgette.

A bit of a squeeze

The Squash ‘Spaghetti Stripetti’ are likely to give the courgettes a run for the title of heaviest veg harvest this year, with the one surviving plant in the raised bed having gone potty (I almost wrote ‘bananas’ there) in the last few weeks. It has probably reached a good 15 feet in spread, swamping and strangling anything in its path, and there’s loads of squashes littered around the garden under its leaves.

The largest Squash 'Spaghetti Stripetti' a few weeks ago.
The largest Squash ‘Spaghetti Stripetti’ a few weeks ago.

I originally planted two squashes in this raised bed, but sadly (and probably fortunately), the wind snapped one of them in half. Stupidly, I sowed a replacement, which is now sitting impatiently on my kitchen windowsill as I wonder whether the hell I can let it grow.

As for the courgette overload, I’ll keep eating them, but at some point I’m probably going to have to start giving them away to neighbours and friends. That’s one of the great things about being a vegetable gardener – if you produce too much food, you can be sure that you can give it away. Veg gardening can be a very sociable past time.

That’s it for now – but let me know whether you’re drowning in a pile of fruit/veg yet? I’d love to hear of more recipe ideas too – I’m thinking about Courgette muffins, courgette cake, and wondering whether they convert to soup very well.

As ever, thanks for reading, and happy gardening!

Andrew 🙂

 

Starting my new garden from scratch

A new blank garden has so many jobs to do – so I’ve begun breaking the lawn, and zoning off areas for vegetables, lawn, and flowers, and I’ve built a raised bed.

It’s been a few weeks since I last posted anything, and that’s because I’ve been busy moving house, and so amongst mowing grass (courtesy of a gift of an unwanted lawnmower from a family friend), caring for the shifted plants and seedlings, and the inevitable decorating, I’d not been out on the garden very much.

This garden, I hadn’t realised when I viewed it, sits on a very sticky clay soil. I’ve not had to garden clay soil before, and so I’m a little daunted at the long process it might take to break this up a bit. However, there is great news – it’s nutrient rich, and holds the water. Bad news, tools bounce off it when it dries out, and it can delay the growing season a little until plants become established.

A lawn being broken for the first border in a new garden
The first bits of lawn to be broken for the first border in my new garden.

There’s not much I can do but embrace it and get to work. So that’s what I’ve begun doing – but this started with the need to shift part of a pretty ridiculous patio fence enclosure, and shift it down the garden just in front of only-just-still-a-shed. The back garden runs a bit South East to North West, so the sun gets most parts of it during the day.

The previous owner had had a bit of a go with digging in a small 3ft x 6ft patch (approx) here, but otherwise it’s a worn lawn, and there’s no planting anywhere else. There’s some hedging alongside my fence, but these are in the neighbours’ garden, and i’m happy to have them there as the birds love them.

A lawn garden with sheds awaiting planting
My new garden – with an old shed, a usable shed, a fenced in patio (I took that section out and took it down the garden), and the blank lawn needs some work.

After some well-needed heavy rain, I was able to go out there and break the lawn, to cut in some first borders (i’ll enlarge these later), and to extend that little growing area into a bigger veggie plot that can handle my lettuce jungle, and the myriad of other items that have been screaming at the glass from my packed windowsills.

In an odd corner where the previous owners giant trampoline had killed the grass, and where a rotary washing line’s sunken base was almost covered over, i’ve built a raised bed. I bought two of the Homebase 6ft x 3ft kits and after wrestling with the screws, stacked them and filled them with a mixture of compressed cocoa, multipurpose compost, grass clippings, and some top soil (perhaps the odd banana skin and tea bag – i don’t remember, but it was hard work). This mixture should give the plants something interesting to grow in.

Two Homebase raised beds stacked on top of each other and filled with soil.
I stacked two of the Homebase raised bed kits and filled it with various soils and composts.

I just need to join the two levels, and it’ll all be good to grow in. I think my Squash Spaghetti Stripetti and some Courgette Black Beauty plants – which are desperately on flower at the moment, will go in here, and i might go round it with the copper tape. I don’t know how rampant the snails and slugs are in this garden compared to the last one.

There’s so much to do, and some corners of the garden are already finding their flowers.

For now though, happy gardening – and I’ll be back with another update real soon.

Andrew

A Foxglove Fanfare

The Digitalis ‘Primrose Carousel’ or Foxglove as it’s better known, has now begun flowering… and Andrew wonders what to do with four Aubergine plants.

It’s been raining heavily but on and off for about 4 days now. In this time, the garden has been getting a really good soaking. The plants that I put out at the weekend are perhaps now beginning to get used to their new homes.

I’ve been keeping an eye on the Digitalis ‘Primrose Carousel’, better known as the Foxglove, as it has been steadily reaching upwards with it’s lush green spire, covered in cream/white buds. In those 4 days, I reckon that it has grown at least a foot (3ocm).

Today the first of the flowers opened – bringing a blast of colour to an otherwise shady part of the garden.

foxglove-fanfare-of-flowers
The first Foxglove flowers in the garden.

 

I bought the plant on impulse one day for £3 from Tesco in Ramsey, Cambridgeshire. I hadn’t gone there for plant shopping, but knowing how much bees seem to like Foxgloves, and how they grow well in shady spots, I thought it would be a good gamble. I wish i’d actually bought a few.

This time next year I should have loads, having sown some Thompson & Morgan Foxglove ‘Excelsior Hybrids’ (Mixed) seeds. Hopefully I can nurture them to grow like this one has.

Jobs to do…

  1. I need to decide where my four Aubergine ‘Black Beauty’ plants are going to be planted. I’ve been casually looking at those vegetable bag/wicker boxes. Any one have any experience of using these? Do they retain moisture? Do they rot/fall to bits in one season?