Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Fantastic first earlies

Earlier this season I confessed that I couldn't understand why my fellow gardeners devote so much allotment space to the humble spud. They're just potatoes, for goodness sake and they don't cost very much in the shops. And I proudly announced that I'd only planted about six as I had other, pricier veg in mind.
And then, this week, I've harvested the first early potatoes, and god they're delicious. Also much easier to prepare than those I've been buying; the skins are very thin and scrubbed off almost as soon as I looked at them in the sink!
I served them boiled with mint for the Bad Girls Book Club on Saturday evening, we had some leftovers cold for Sunday lunch, then fried the rest with onions, some sweet potato, garlic and tarragon for Monday dinner. We've boiled the remaining few for dinner again tonight and tomorrow.
We aren't a family who normally eat spuds every day, and we dislike boiled spuds the rest of the year, but these are so well flavoured, so moist and soft textured, just needing a little butter to feel like a real treat enjoyed by us all. And absolutely amazing value - I only harvested two plants, getting about 5lbs in all. It is little short of a miracle that six or seven weeks in the ground can turn one potato into so much nutritious and tasty food!
We've also had the first dwarf French beans this weekend and handfuls of peas, from the Kent Blue variety as well as Victorian Purple. The VPs tasted better 10 days ago; the KBs, which podded later, are sweeter now. Completely different in their growth habits, the KBs are only about three foot tall while the VPs have shot above six. KBs have very nobbly little pods, moulding the peas tightly within like rows of baby teeth about to erupt, while VP pods are more classically crescent shaped, with just the suggestion of curvaceous peas within.
Our climbing French beans are just beginning to flower, so I expect some for our table by the end of the week, especially after the cooler nights and plentiful showers of rain overnight and today. The first sowing of Black Cherokee look particularly promising. We need them to be good. The runners are struggling this year thanks to blackfly, which seem completely uninterested in the nasturtiums in the presence of juicy sweet runner bean stems!
Lastly our salads are continuing to yield well, a couple of the plants have followed the rocket into seed but the others, which we've kept picking regularly, are developing more flavour as the season progresses. Bronze Arrowhead is picking particularly well. And we have lots of green tomatoes, so lets hope the weather warms up again to ripen them off!


ReapWhatYouGrow said...

Potatoes are a funny crop, a bit of an acquired taste for us gourmet gardeners. In some ways they are so ordinary, but in others as you describe, they are the best crop you get.

Jo said...

I love new potatoes, and prepare them just the same way as you, boiled in a little mint and smothered in butter.
My dwarf French beans are just starting to flower so hopefully, they'll be producing beans shortly.

Anna said...

I am a convert too after eating some of my plot neighbour's Lady Crystal potatoes - absolutely delicious. I will definitely make room to grow some next year. Here my 'Purple Tepee' French beans have just started to pod :)