Gardening Blog – Keep on picking!

Henley Herald Allotment produce med

Cooking for family and friends is one of life’s many pleasures.  When you’ve grown a lot of the ingredients yourself, that pleasure is more than doubled.  This weekend, I fed four generations of my family with the fruit and vegetables I’ve been growing.  They seemed to enjoy knowing that they were eating the good healthy food that I’d grown, almost as much as I enjoyed serving it.

Sharing produce with allotment neighbours is almost as satisfying.  It’s rare at this time of year, to come back from an hour’s weeding or harvesting without an extra little treat that a neighbour has shared.

Of course, the only way to make sure that we have plenty to share is to keep on picking. Courgettes, french and runner beans will go on producing their fruit for a while yet, as long as we don’t stop harvesting.

Top tips from the allotments:

  • prune blackcurrants by cutting out one third of the stems at ground level
  • get ready to plant out new strawberries next month.  Either use the runners being produced by established plants or (if you haven’t grown strawberries before) think about buying some new plants.
  • keep busy with the hoe when the weather is dry (!!)
  • keep harvesting your crops


  1. Graham Jones says:

    The advice about harvesting is important. Once plants have set viable seed they seem to believe that their job is done. Sweet Peas are notorious for this and all blooms should be cut every other day and no seed pods should be allowed to develop.
    All too often at this time of year I see a row of runner beans bulging with seed and no flowers. In a few days there will be nothing worth picking.

    • Liz Ware says:

      Thank you Graham. Perhaps part of the problem is that bumper harvests often coincide with the school holidays? I remember having to pick even the tiniest whisper of a bean before I went away when my family was young. The alternative was coming back to a veg garden that had given up for the season! I guess one solution is to offer all the produce to any friend who is willing to keep picking?

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