An American blogger asked me what a trug is. Sussex trugs are long shallow baskets made from sweet chestnut and cricket bat willow. They have been made in Sussex since the 1500s. My son’ s lovely partner gave me one for my birthday a year or two ago. It is beautifully crafted and I was delighted with it but not sure what to use it for. But I was flattered that she imagined I was the sort of person who uses a trug. Most people’ s idea of a trug is something that is carried by a lady in a beautiful, floaty dress as she strolls round her garden giving orders to her team of gardeners and picking flowers for the house. I don’ t have a single gardener to give orders to and my scarecrow is better dressed than I am. I don’ t have the right clothes to carry a trug unless I am going out somewhere. And then I can’ t take my trug. It would look silly. On the other hand I am off to a garden party this afternoon.
But now since I have my lovely productive lasagne vegetable beds I have a use for my trug at last. I have been harvesting potatoes for some time and my wonderful chef, aka the Pianist, groans when I come in each day with yet more courgettes. To be fair I have been bringing him courgettes every day for over a week.
Yesterday, I thought I would surprise him with a lovely selection of summer vegetables and I brought them in to him in my trug. I nearly put on a floaty dress for the occasion but it was a bit chilly yesterday. Ok, there were the inevitable courgettes and potatoes but I also brought him carrots, snap peas, french beans,broad beans and rainbow chard. I think he was impressed, except for the carrots. He wondered why they were so short and stumpy. I decided to grow round ones this year. My lasagne beds are deep but I didn’ t wait for the soil to settle before planting. I thought there might not be enough depth for long ones so I grew ‘ French Market’. They are round with a superb flavour. They are quick to mature too.
I am delighted with my vegetables and my trug but there is a problem with my newly planted asparagus. It had been growing well up until a couple of weeks ago when I noticed that a lot of it was looking straw- like. On investigation I found lots of nasty brown grubs browsing on it and some spotted beetles. I’m sorry I haven’t got a photo of a beetle at the moment. They are as cunning as lily beetles and as soon as they become aware of your presence they fall onto their backs in the soil and they are then impossible to spot. If they weren’t so destructive you would think they were quite pretty, with a distinctive black and cream checker board pattern. They look a bit like elongated ladybirds.
I looked it up and found that I had asparagus beetle: Crioceris asparagi. I had never heard of it and didn’ t know there was such a thing. I would love to hear if anyone else has it and what they do. I go out each day and squash the grubs and beetles but I am worried about my poor asparagus plants and whether they will survive. Fortunately I have plenty of practice in squashing beetles and I have learnt not to be squeamish as I nonchalantly squish lily beetles every day from the spring onwards. Now I have to do asparagus ones too and the nasty slug- like larvae. Actually they have little legs if you care to look carefully which I don’ t. Sometimes being a gardener means you have to do revolting things. Killing things with your bare hands is one of them.
Sorry this is out of focus but you get the idea. If you grow asparagus you might want to check it out. But let’s not dwell on these horrors, because although my asparagus looks awful and is covered with these disgusting things, the courgettes are doing well growing with the sweet corn plants.
I am delighted with the snap peas which we tasted for the first time last night. The snail shells seem to have worked very well as a warning because they are unscathed.
The french bean leaves are irresistible to slugs and I have had to sow several batches to get my beans. But although the leaves are nibbled I have green beans and also ‘Purple Teepee’ which I love. They are so tasty and tender too.
The runner beans have not been attacked and they are full of flowers.
The bumble bees love the flowers.
I had to do several sowings of broad beans because the slugs or something loved the young plants. But they are doing nicely now. I just picked a few because they are still quite small.
All in all, I think the chef was pleased with his trugful of vegetables.