A trugful of vegetables.

DSC_0055An 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.

Off to a garden party with my trug.

Off to a garden party with my trug.

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.

On the undersides of the fronds were little rows of tiny black eggs. The eggs appeared to have been stuck on with superglue and were very difficult to get off.

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.
IMG_0456Sorry 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.

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49 Responses to A trugful of vegetables.

  1. Debra says:

    Great photos! And I learned a word: ‘trug.’ Thanks =) Love the garden party photo.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Debra. You mean to say you haven’ t got a trug?
      Oh dear, how do you manage when you want to float round your garden looking ethereal?You need a trug with a few flowers in it and several gardeners to tug their forelocks as you pass.

      • Debra says:

        I can see it now: a twirling parasol and my trug overflowing with cut flowers. In fact just picturing this is giving me the vapours and I fear I may swoon. =D

  2. AnnetteM says:

    Most of your veg look great – shame about the asparagus beetle. Maybe you will still beat it. I seem to have won against my pea aphid on the lupins – though I did have to cut one right back to get rid of them. I come from the south of England and I have never heard of a trug either. A great word.

  3. lizard100 says:

    Those asparagus beetles are sort of yeuchy. But an impressive trug load for sure!

    • Chloris says:

      You are right the asparagus beetle larvae are vile. I’ m hoping someone will tell me how to get rid of them safely and in a less disgusting way.

  4. linniew says:

    I can imagine if someone arrived at my house for a garden party and they were carrying a nice empty trug then I would consider filling it with flowers or some other garden thing so I hope that happened to you. I use cucumber overages to make quick summer pickles, which you don’t cook in jars for winter but rather keep in the refrigerator and eat directly. (I wrote about it last summer when I gave up ever making complicated ‘real’ pickles.) Love the polka dots in your lovely party outfit.

    • Chloris says:

      I was only joking, I didn’ t really take my trug to the party.I took lemon posset and a bunch of sweet peas. An empty trug would have looked weird.
      I must come over to your lovely blog and see if I can find your last summer’s recipe for summer pickles. It is always a problem what to do with excess produce.

      • linniew says:

        I had to look up lemon posset. Seems to be a mix of cream and sugar and lemon and sounds divine. I’ve never heard of it before but I might love it, like custard. I think you should have taken the trug but I do understand. There is a search box at the very very bottom of my page for finding the pickle recipe.

  5. Kris P says:

    Your vegetable garden looks good, despite the invasion of insect marauders. Your beans are clearly much further along than mine. I didn’t know what you meant by courgettes until I looked up the term this morning – I shouldn’t have been surprised that they’re what we call zucchini, as those are notorious among gardeners here (and my husband, the family cook) for producing an endless supply of produce. I did know what a trug is, though! I hope you enjoy your garden party!

  6. Cathy says:

    Like your trug Chloris… and the veg in it look pretty good! Still, after all that extra sowing you deserve a tasty reward. Bugs etc can be pretty disgusting so I’m rather glad that photo was out of focus… I have been very vigilant and haven’t seen any lily beetles yet. And asparagus beetles are new to me… thank goodness we don’t see them here, as I live near the heart of Bavaria’s asparagus region. Hope your asparagus plants recover!

    • Chloris says:

      Thanks Cathy. No lily beetle? I have been battling with them on a daily basis since April when they started on the Fritillaries as their hors d’ oeuvres. I had never heard of asparagus beetle either, I thought they were a weird sort of ladybird when I first saw them. Let’ s hope they don’ t get as far as Bavaria.

  7. sueturner31 says:

    fantastic crop…Mr Malc is bringing home a ‘trug’ full every day, so our meals are very much like yours. Have you tried courgette cake ?

  8. mrsdaffodil says:

    The empty trug does not look very large, but it seems to be able to hold a lot of vegetables. I’m glad the chef was pleased, as we all know that happy cooks produce the very best meals.

    • Chloris says:

      I am very lucky to have such a great cook in the house. I like being able to offer him a choice of lovely veg to cook fresh from the garden.

  9. Cathy says:

    Mmm – lemon possett. Yummy! The Golfer and I were just talking about it yesterday (on offer at Aldi)… and all the other things that are available at supermarkets that people clearly don’t realise are easy to make for themselves or perhaps wouldn’t even dream of doing so anyway… Your veg look great, despite your lack of rain – do you water them? You and the Pianist must really be appreciating the fruits of your harvest, despite the overabundance of courgettes.My climbing French beans have hardly climbed at all so far. I can see that asparagus beetles are in league with the lily beetles and teach each other new tricks. I have a set of 3 trugs which tend to be used for deadheading roses more than anything else.

  10. Chloris says:

    Lemon posset is my standby, it is delicious and yet so easy to make.
    I do water my veg beds, they dry out really quickly, I suppose all the water drains to the bottom.
    Ah, now that is a good idea using your trug for dead heading roses. I will do that too. Any other uses for a trug that I hadn’ t thought of?

  11. rusty duck says:

    Be careful where you keep your trug, mine got woodworm. Himself has treated it, so I’m a bit worried about using it this year.. does fly in the face of growing organically. Perhaps the effects of the treatment have worn off by now, but using it for deadheading the roses sounds like a good plan for this year. Found somewhere today selling David Austin roses at half price. Two more big holes to dig..

  12. Chloris says:

    Oh no, woodworm in my trug? As if I don’ t have enough to worry about with asparagus beetle. Oh dear, you have just reminded me I have left it outside and we have a thunderstorm at the moment. That is no way to treat your trug.
    Half price David Austin roses, how wonderful, and you only bought 2?

  13. pbmgarden says:

    Glad you’re enjoying a productive garden this summer Chloris. I don’t grow vegetables but do love them. I keep looking at your photo to see if you won’t just turn around for a second. I wouldn’t have come up with the word “trug” but did recognize the term when I saw your photo. I was stumped by lemon posset and went right away to look it up. Sounds good.

    • Chloris says:

      No Susie, I’ m too shy to show my face . In fact I did hesitate about showing my back. One does like to preserve a bit of anonymity in these blogs. One doesn’ t want to be like those awful people who post pictures of themselves and their families on Facebook and describe in intimate detail all their goings on. It is a fine balance, sharing enough to keep people interested ( after all we all like the human interest) and we can’ t build a relationship with followers if we are always strictly impersonal. But maintaining our privacy and that of our families is important too.
      Lemon posset is divine and easy to make. It’ s very calorific though.

      • pbmgarden says:

        Chloris, I was teasing a bit, but actually very much agree with you about privacy.

      • Chloris says:

        The people like you, who I follow and who follow me feel like friends and it would be lovely to see each other’ s faces but we communicate in a very public arena and the world is full of weird people. You are lucky in America to have garden bloggers’ flings , I wish we had them in Europe. It would be lovely to have a chance to meet blogging friends.

  14. I had to chuckle about the description of a person who would use a trug, and then seeing the photo of you all dressed up and ready to go with your trug. It sounds like a useful little carrier, and well-made, too. Your garden is very productive. Enjoy the harvest!

    • Chloris says:

      I’ m not the right sort of person to float about with a trug. I don’ t dress up often enough. But I have learnt from people’s comments that plenty of people have trugs and they are useful when dead heading roses.
      We certainly are enjoying the harvest, July is a great time for eating from the garden.

  15. At the Chicago Botanic Garden the horticulturists use the word trug to describe a sort of wide pail for weeds and other garden debris. I had not heard the word before. They were not wearing floaty dresses. Looks like you are having a bountiful and delicious harvest.

    • Chloris says:

      Those horticulturists in Chicago have it all wrong; you must tell them their pails for weeding are NOT trugs. You can’ t use a trug unless you are a lady in a floaty dress.

  16. hoehoegrow says:

    Hi Chloris, you have such a lot of lovely veg ready, your meals must be sublime ! When our handful of beans and tomatoes are eventually ready I really love that hunter gatherer feeling that comes when you look at a plateful of food and realise you have grown all of it. So satisfying.
    It is bad enough squishing Lily beetles (cunning little quick change artistes that they are!) without more squishing of Asparagus beetles ! Mind you it is what thumbs were made for !

    • Chloris says:

      I love the feeling of producing your own food too, Jane. I used to keep hens and then I could have a whole meal from the garden.
      I have looked on several sites about controlling asparagus beetle. Several suggest dropping them into a bucket of soapy water. Pah! Soapy water is for softies. As you say it’s what thumbs are for.

  17. Flighty says:

    A delightful post and lovely pictures. My plot trug is generally a builder’s bucket which is more in keeping with my allotment attire which I call the ‘Compo’ look!
    My sympathies re the asparagus, which is is something that I don’t grow as it’s a vegetable that I’m not much fussed about. The rest is certainly looking good.
    I hope that you enjoyed your garden party. xx

  18. Chloris says:

    Thank you Flighty. The party was great.
    I use a plastic builder’ s bucket all the time too. I couldn’t manage without it. And I look like a female version of Compo when I’ m gardening. I never met a proper gardener who didn’ t look like a scarecrow whilst they are working.

  19. All looks amazing! I always thought that whilst one wafted around the garden you might wish to dead head the odd rose which could then be dropped into the trug until it got too heavy (6 or 7 I would imagine) at which point The Boy (who was carrying the secateurs) would empty it for you.

  20. Chloris says:

    Yes several people have told me they use their trugs for dead heading roses. It sounds very tidy to me. I just leave mine lying around. Or chuck them over the fence into next door’s garden. ( Only joking I don’t really. It’s all right my lovely neighbour doesn’ t read my blog.)

  21. Your trug puts my little plastic bucket to shame! Mind you, I’m not so sure weeds would look so good in a wooden trug . If you had taken the trug to the garden party you’d have had some funny looks.
    You’ve a very productive vegetable garden as well as a beautifully stocked flower garden. A real credit to all your hard work Chloris.

  22. What a magnificent display from your first season! Well done! I fall in with your description of a “Compo” style gardener – that’s definitely me! I have a couple of trugs, courtesy of flower arrangements – great for picking fruit and flowers – but for the hard graft, I favour my grandad’s old metal buckets. Nothing better!

  23. Chloris says:

    Thanks Ali. The great thing about spending most of your time looking like a female Compo is the look of delighted amazement on your husband’s face when he sees you scrubbed up and in a posh frock and in an extreme case with a touch of lippy.

  24. bittster says:

    You clean up much nicer than the scarecrow 😉
    I’m far too manly to use a trug, but always wanted a nice one for pulling up potatoes. For non-dress wearing gardeners trugs and root vegetables seem a natural combination… but I’ll never give up my trashy white 5 gallon buckets!
    The pianist did an excellent job with the stumpy carrots, your meal looks delicious.

  25. Julie says:

    This a great crop of veg, very satisfying and very rewarding. Asparagus beetle is new to me but I am hardened to squishing pretty much anything now. A trug is a really lovely present too, a very thoughtful gift.

  26. Robbie says:

    I agree with above, I have never heard of “trug”…Love your outfit for the garden party and your trug looks perfect! Eeek! I hate those wormy things that crawl and destroy plants, I agree, I am over the “afraid ” stage, I just smash those suckers-lol!!!I feel a great sense of pleasure, one less nasty bug in my gaden.
    Your vegetables look amazing. I put purple asparagus in this year, but I have not seen anythihg like those, if I do YIKES! I will be smashing them for sure….keeping my fingers crossed. I am seeing more of the four legged running through my gardne this summer, and they can’t be smashed!

  27. What a wonderful vegetable bounty! I’m a lover of trugs too and always imagine myself in that floaty dress meandering around the garden. In reality, I’m in muddy jeans and a battered t-shirt! I’ve never heard of the Asparagus beetle either, but Lilly Beetles I’m very familiar with. At first I used to leave them be as they were so pretty, now they get squished at the first opportunity! Glad to have found your blog.


  28. What a lovely vegetable garden you have! Maybe round carrots would be a good solution for me–our sol is too rocky to grow long ones! Proud to say I knew what a trug is, but I hadn’t realized the history of them. I personally have a handmade wooden strawberry basket, designed to hold eight quart sized baskets. It’s rather unwieldy to carry about the garden, but it’s great for holding an assortment of small gardening tools in the garage.

  29. snowbird says:

    What a marvelous trug, and how very glamorous you look going off to your garden party! I have a trug but it’s just a big plastic floppy bucket with two handles….your veggies look great, shame about the asparagus mine didn’t grow at all and this is formby, home to asparagus growers!!!
    It’s most odd, I am following you but am not getting email notifications of new posts! xxx

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