Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Yield, varlet!

I thought I didn't really mind about Pippa the scarecrow http://bean-sprouts.blogspot.com/2006/06/meet-pippa.html being destroyed, but today as I was weeding the allotment several mums pushed pushchairs along the path and each time the little children said "Where's the scarecrow? Where has it gone?" I didn't realise how much joy she gave to other people as well as myself, and it's such a shame that some yobs came and wrecked her.

One of the nice things about the allotment is coming home with armfuls of produce. Today for example I brought back loads of fresh onions, some green courgettes, and a punnet of redcurrants. The funny thing is I don't even grow any of those things, but people who have a glut give them to me (sometimes quite forcibly!) when they see me about. The allotment is producing things, mostly radishes and salad and gorgeous yellow courgettes. It won't be long until the runner beans start producing beans either, they have loads of red flowers on them.

In fact I think we'll probably have a glut of runner beans and I'll have to force them on other people. I read somewhere that 3 runner bean plants is enough for a family, but we've got dozens. It's one of the hardest things to find advice about - how much to plant. I've got one butternut squash plant. Will I get just one squash and think "That was silly, I should have planted more", or will I get loads of squash and think "Phew, good job I didn't plant 4 of them!"
I've looked in books, on the internet and on the back of seed packets but only rarely do you get any information about yields or recomended numbers to plant. Maybe I should do research for a few years and write a book about it.

12 comments:

Nerd in the Country said...

I'm looking at all that fruit that you're posting and getting hungry. (And it looks like our trip to Traverse City has been canceled)

Anyhow, if you want to know about plant yields, try joining some of the gardening yahoo groups. (And I like your idea of compiling all the info and putting it into a book).

Let's see... My best recollection is that you should get half a dozen squash from one butternut vine. The vine itself takes up quite a bit of room, though.

If you want to plant zucchini, plant two and pray that one dies. Then, look for lots of recipes (including zucchini pickles), and compile a list of friends. Sneak out and put them in their cars when they aren't looking.

By the way, pawning produce off on your neighbors is an old gardening tradition.

I was going to ask you about those courgette things. A google search reveals that they are zucchini. [snicker]

Good luck pawning them off! Get some zucchini bread recipes. Get the freezer ready to receive lots of bags of grated zucchini (so you can make zucchini bread all year). Find some good pickle recipes and use them instead of cucumbers. Learn to pick locks so you can put them into the cars of random strangers.

And don't be afraid to feed them to your chickens. They'll love them. Chickens are great garbage disposal units.

Kirsty said...

I was going to get an allotment before moving back to Scotland. I love where I am now and feel incredibly lucky that I don't even need a lottie now but I think it would have been nice to have the other folk pottering about too.

Chickpea said...

Hi Kirsty, it is nice having company, and if you need advice ("Hey, have I thinned these seedlings enough or do I need to keep going?") or a hand ("Can someone help me stand up? I think my back's gone!") there's usually someone around keen to help.

Nerd, I have 3 courgette (zucchini) plants. I had 4 but one died. I got lucky, huh? I'm already feeding a lot of stuff to the chickens. They love all the breakfast cereal the kids drop all over the floor every day, but they turned up their noses at some leftover sweetcorn kernels. I thought they'd really like those. They're just like the kids "Sweetcorn? That's a vegetable, we're not eating that. Give us more cheerios! NOW!"

Kirsty said...

lol, I was sure my blogger username was the same as all my others but apparantly not ;) It's kirstykbart from self-sufficientish!! *waves*

meant to say I liked the look of the cherry chocolate ice cream recipe too but got rushed while commenting. If I can gather enough cherries from what I've just discovered is a cherry tree I might try it!

blackberry44 said...

I grew runner beans last year and found that six plants didn't really produce enough beans for the three of us, although that may be because i) we are very greedy for runner beans and ii) they were planted in a large tub in the yard rather than the allotment. When I grew them in the allotment, the local vandals stole all the bean poles and it was next to impossible to unpick all the plants and re-pole them.

I was going to try again this year, but as I wasn't well enough to do anything much buy the plants at the time I should have bought the plants, I couldn't get any when I did feel well enough. So I feel a bit sulky about that!

I'm glad that everything's going so well for you in your allotment, but you deserve it to do well, because you've worked so hard at it.

blackberry44 said...

I grew runner beans last year and found that six plants didn't really produce enough beans for the three of us, although that may be because i) we are very greedy for runner beans and ii) they were planted in a large tub in the yard rather than the allotment. When I grew them in the allotment, the local vandals stole all the bean poles and it was next to impossible to unpick all the plants and re-pole them.

I was going to try again this year, but as I wasn't well enough to do anything much I didn't buy the plants at the time I should have bought them and I couldn't get any when I did feel well enough. So I feel a bit sulky about that!

I'm glad that everything's going so well for you in your allotment, but you deserve it to do well, because you've worked so hard at it.

Chickpea said...

Ah, *that* Kirsty! Hi! Nice to see you here. The cherry choc chunk ice cream is shamelessly copied from Ben&Jerry's Cherry Garcia (but mine is better ;-) ). You don't need many cherries to make a small batch and it seems to be a bumper year for tree fruit for most people so fingers crossed you'll get enough.

Geri, I know how depressing it is when illness makes you miss a whole growing season. I remember the spring I got really ambitious and turned a nasty back yard into a container fruit and veg paradise. Everything was growing nicely, but then I got pregnant and felt so tired and so sick for 2-3 months that I couldn't even go outdoors. When I felt better the slugs had eaten every last thing. I never tried again until we moved house - just looking at the bare dead yard made me remember that experience and feel heart-sick.

Linz said...

One of my books does have a box about how much crop you can expect per plant/how much to plant per person. I'll try to remember to look tonight and let you know which one.

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