The late summer vegetable garden

beans basketI’m just popping out to pick rocket. I may be some time. And unlike the Antarctic explorer Oates I do return. but if you are waiting for your lunch and the rocket salad is on the menu then you have to accept delays.

Bean picking. It’s endlessly fun. Hunting in among the dense foliage. I have been using the dwarf French beans as a ground cover crop all over the potager. So that means every pocket and hand comes back clutching the fresh batch. beans in pockets

Each evening meal is served with topped and tailed beans, dressed with a finely chopped clove of garlic lightly fried in olive oil.

And some meals, a grating of good Parmesan cheese as well.

Eventually we are going to tire of this feast o beans. And then I will blanch abean flowersnd freeze them in batches, or give handfuls away to every visitor to the door.

They do actually keep very well refrigerated. But better blanched and frozen.

One other veg that is taking a star turn in the potager this season are the courgettes. Zucchini.

I do prefer the yellow coloured ones; mainly because I can spot them so easily in the undergrowth of beans.

courgettesI know that there are dire warnings about letting little courgettes grow so large they turn into marrows. But these new varieties produce such firm fruit that I let them get to the girth of the a baseball bat.

All the more for the pot I say.

My current favourite way of serving them is to use a veggie peeler to slice them into ribbons. First I put a slick of olive oil in the base of a heavy frying pan, peel directly over the top.  And grate and grate until you are left with just the slightly mushy centre.

That’s the cook’s treat. I know it’s not much of a treat if you think in terms of sweet or meaty gratifications, but this is vegetable season on the farm, and a mouthful of courgette while you cook works for me.

I then add a pinch of chilli flakes, a clove or two of finely chopped garlic and a good handful of maroram over the top. chard revival

High heat, I do nothing until it becomes quite hot. (I’m too busy scoffing the bits of left over courgette) and then give everything a stir for a minute or so. Just to take an edge off the garlic.

The high water content does mean that the dish does collapse a bit. But with the quantities of courgettes I am pulling daily out of the garden, you still get quite a substantial meal.

And remember my cussing and crossness about the deer eating all my Swiss chard? It has resprouted nicely. And dare I say it is juicier than had I left the leaves to grow on earlier in the summer.

It’s perfect in stir fries right now. The green and vivid red of the stalks a rather welcome relief from the relentless yellow of the courgettes. And the ‘oh, beans again’ comment when I serve the evening meal.

And to finish; a shoarturbackt of the only wildlife I prefer in the potager at the moment. He loves hiding in under the jungle of French beans.

But right now he is trying out a new spot in the potting shed.  He is like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. He has numerous new spots for sleeping. But he hasn’t settled on which.

The one he is perched in has two layers of drying lavender underneath him. That seems to be his current daytime spot. It must be wonderfully soothing. But early in the morning I find him perched in the grotty tin bath of spent compost. I wonder if it is like a blanket of warmth?Goldilocks

The nights are finally getting cooler, but alas, it is still 31C in the daytime. When does this long, long summer relent?