Harvest Monday Plot #59

Harvest Monday for August 15th 2016

I spent a happy couple of hours this weekend lifting the last of our second early potatoes down on Plot #59 . They’re a variety called ‘Saxon’, which is fast becoming a firm favourite. They have a lovely, creamy texture when boiled or steamed as new potatoes, store really well and make great mash, roasties and even jackets, if they get large enough. A true all-rounder.

This year’s crop was hit by the potato blight that has swept through our site this damp and dreary summer, and I took the haulms off at the beginning of July. Luckily a decent number of tubers had been able to form before I took drastic measures, and although we’re well down on last year’s epic crop, we should have enough to last us through to the end of the year at least.

They’re currently drying in the greenhouse before cleaning up a bit and sorting for either immediate use or storage, depending on the degree of slug damage.

August 2016 spud harvest
A shelf full of Saxons drying out in the seldom-seen sun…
August 2016 spud harvest
…and another shelf full of Saxons.

(There’s a third shelf full as well, but honestly, it just looks an awful lot like the first two…)

Jo and I also picked several kilos worth of assorted beans – runner, French and broad – which I spent my Sunday evening trimming, chopping, blanching and freezing for our winter stores. We picked another few tubs of mixed berries, too: raspberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants and Japanese wineberries (see last week’s post for pics).

August 2016 broad beans
A selection of tasty broad beans – ‘Red Epicure’ and ‘The Sutton’
August 2016 redcurrant sprig
No-one does jewellery quite like nature does jewellery…

And we’ve picked the last of the peas, most of which are too dry for eating fresh, but we’ll try storing them for soaking and adding to winter stews, see what happens. Oh, and more courgettes (which rather goes without saying) and a bit more purple calabrese.

Still to come: sweetcorn (forming up nicely, let’s hope they get enough warmth to ripen), winter squashes, chillis, cabbages (not long gone in, let’s hope they establish before winter), kale (likewise) and hopefully more turnips. Hardly any carrots though. The carrot-fly have ripped through them and destroyed around 95% of the crop. More on that set-back in another post.

Harvest Monday is a GYO meme hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres.

10 replies on “Harvest Monday for August 15th 2016”

That does sound like a wonderful potato variety and it looks to me as if you had a great harvest. Perhaps not as good as last year, but I for one would be thrilled if I pulled up that many potatoes from my bed!

And those berries – gorgeous!

Thanks Margaret. The berries are indeed gorgeous, especially stewed a bit with a smothering of custard… 🙂

I’m with Margaret, those potatoes do look good, but I understand the blight problem. I am thankful we have not had issues with our potatoes, or tomatoes for that matter. The carrot fly is not an problem here either. It’s too bad that something is always after our crops. Here it is the deer, which eat everything that isn’t covered or fenced in. Those red currants are beauties!

Well, yes, I can see how deer would be a bit of an issue. None of those in North Manchester, thankfully. The redcurrants are particularly good this year. I do need to re-plant a bush or two this winter though, to give them better spacing. Hopefully it won’t knock next year’s crop back too much.

Hi Melissa – the Japanese Wineberries are a variety of raspberry. I’d not heard of them before I encountered them in a walled garden over in Yorkshire. They had one plant for sale – grown from a rooted tip – which I snapped up and planted. Took a year to establish, but it’s cropping really well now. I’ll have to read up on pruning advice, make sure it’s treated well over the winter.

Lovely currants! And your potato harvest looks fabulous. I’ve never heard of Saxon, but they sound delicious. We always have blight problems here due to the high humidity. It’s good that you still got a harvest despite the blight.

Cheers Julie! I think Saxon is a fairly recent introduction, rather than a heritage variety, but it performs really well as long as the blight doesn’t get to it too early. I’m not sure it grows well on heavy clay soils though – I think my Dad-in-law tried it a while back on his clay plot down in Shropshire and it didn’t perform. But our lighter, sandier soil seems just right for it, and a dollop of horse much in the trench doesn’t hurt either.

Your potatoes look a good size and I am glad they are not blighted so they will keep. It has been so dry here we actually escaped this year, but the downside has been smaller spuds!

And redcurrants are indeed the jewels of the plot, for sure … lovely photo!

Hi Kathy – (Please excuse the late comment response, we’ve been over in Ireland for a few days). Yes, thankfully most of the second early crop is fine to store, so we should be eating those for the next few months. I haven’t lifted the maincrop variety (pink fir apple) just yet though. I really must get those done, before the slugs damage them.

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