I suppose for someone new to sweet corn, it wasn't a bad start and we still have some cobs in the freezer.
But I was horrified one day to notice that my lovely swelling cobs had developed the fungus you can see in the picture on the left. Wish I'd taken my own photograph. This one, and the information, comes courtesy of Organic Gardening. It turned my stomach, but apparently the Mexicans love it, calling it huitlacoche.
Nick typically researched the problem endlessly in the wee small hours and came to the conclusion that we could make our fortune, because it's quite an expensive delicacy.
He wanted to put a little stand out in the street to sell to passers-by. Since the French are known to eat pigs' intestines (Andouillette - the smellier the better), possibly there'd be a market for it.
What concerned me most when I finally read the Organic Gardening page yesterday (try the link for more info), was the realisation that I should have been burning my debris in order to avoid the problem next year. And I definitely want to grow sweet corn again - well worth it! I read also that the fungus is worst in years with warm, dry early summers followed by rain. Which just about sums up 2014. Better luck next time - and note to self to rotate!
I have just finished eating fresh French beans. They were climbing 'Fortex' and dwarf 'Processor' - this last sown in July, a good late crop. I collected the remaining pods to dry for winter eating - haricots are important here!
Pumpkins are good. More on my lovely butternuts later, but I also grew 'Musquee de Provence' and 'Rouge Vif d'Etampes', as per last year. I'd say the greenish 'Musquee de ...' is the one I've liked the taste of most, so far. But you have to have the orange as well, don't you, with Halloween coming up? Hence the 'Rouge Vif d'Etampes'.
Broccoli 'Atlantis F1' finally started to sprout after a late start and still gives me greens every 3-4 days.
Potatoes ('Charlotte' and 'Belle de Fontenoy'). Fantastic ... but think I might just go for one really good salad potato next year - that's all I get in any case!
I'm always good at beetroot and parsley ...
Onions amazing. This is the first year I've tried seed-sown onions (back in March). Given the cost of a packet of seed, it was well worth it. Had some really quite respectably sized 'Paille des Vertus' (yellow) onions. The reds I did from sets.
Garlic good as always.
Kale 'Black Tuscany' (picture above) is looking and tasting good, but wish I'd done more now; ditto leek 'Monstreux de Caratan'. Both seem to do excellently on our claggy clay,
As for my lovely tomatoes - they did look nice in July before the blight rains of August killed them outright (but stay tuned for the green tomato chutney recipe). A friend from just up the road in Bourbonne-les-Bains confirmed the awful truth - you can't grow decent tomatoes in Haute Marne or Lorraine without a greenhouse. I wouldn't use a poly tunnel (as many do here), because they 'sweat' so much. Who'd have thunk it? This is France! I thought I left that 'blight nonsense' behind in Ireland. You live and learn.
Anyway - if you are reading this, thanks so much for taking the time. However (FYI) it was supposed to be me learning from you, not the other way round. Any comment?