Bumper harvest from the summer that was.

By James Wall

As summer concludes, there is an element of fondness for the good things in life that the season has brought before us. There are lots of memories.

Spaghetti sauce with home grown tomatoes – not out of a can. Jars of chutney. A little bit of chilli added to the dish once the kids are served. Capsicums of all shapes and sizes. The peppery flavours of wild rocket, thrown on a pizza just before serving. All this and not one visit to the shops. Oh what a pleasure it has been.

Tomato San MarzanoIf you got your tomatoes in by cup day, then bar any disasters, you should have got a good yield. Yes January was cooler, but the temperatures were still high enough to set fruit and without the extremes of really hot nights, pollination and fruit formation was excellent. Pictured is San Marzano Roma from Oasis seedlings.

Capsicum Long Green is always a favourite of mine and this year the yields were excellent. After stripping the fruit bare around christmas time, it flushed with a second bounty which we have been picking ever since. They were not all long either. There was a circular one too !

Zucchini didn’t go as well for me this year, but there were enough to keep us happy. We probably planted them in slightly shaded area, which combined with a cooler January wasn’t perfect for formation.

My thai chillis and long hot cayenne (pictured above) were quite hot. Jalapeno though is still quite mild even though it is red. Chillis get hotter as they get more sun so a cooler January has probably lowered overall heat levels. Don’t worry if your Jalapeno turn black – this is a normal progression from green, then they go black before finishing red.

I visited a vegie patch in Merricks which included this giant Tomato Sweet Bite plant. It was covered in fruit, but what really impressed me was this very solid staking system that included “reo” – you know the thick wire mesh they use in concrete. This won’t blow over ! And what about these climbing beans below.

The Merricks garden also had sunflowers which I just couldn’t resist.

Sunflowersw st MerricksTomato Grape from Oasis came on strong in February when trusses like these coloured up beautifully. These grape shaped tomaotes are even sweeter than the cherry types. Quality seedlings of a high performing variety like this make it all worth it.

Tomato Mr UglyTomato Mr Ugly is actually quite a beautiful fruit. For cooking it just can’t be beaten.

Tomato Green ZebraFor heirloom tomatoes, I loved growing these Green Zebra. They fruited over such a long period and with such a nice fleshy inside, I eat them with just about everything.

This tomato was meant to be a Father Tom variety, but we laughed when we saw it because it looked so like a strawberry. Not sure who ate it, but somebody did. Pictured below is a gnarly old beetroot – usually you pick them tennis ball sized or less. Beautiful though.

Gnarly old beetroot.

 After months that included preparation, digging, liquid feeding and mulching, thew harvest was my favourite part. It made me smile ! Bye summer.

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