Tuesday 23 August 2016

Summer Summary

I've been too busy in the garden to blog this month. August has seen mixed weather - but mostly quite sunny and hot. In between some showers, often quite heavy, so in general things have been growing OK. We had a spell a couple of weeks ago when we had to get the hose out to the veg and the fruit trees each evening.

The raspberries are between harvests at the moment. We had a good harvest during July and I put some in the freezer and made lots of raspberry jam as well as eating raspberries with cream, yoghurt, in trifles or just off the bush. All the other soft fruit has finished but the raspberries are just starting to set for the second flush.

The fruit trees are starting to produce. A few plums are ready. The Bramley apple is absolutely loaded. Surprising, because last year it gave a good harvest and Bramleys are notorious for "one year on - one year off". With the strong winds there are a lot of fallers, so blackberry and apple crumble was on the menu on Sunday. (Blackberries from the hedge).

The runner beans are nearly finished but have done well. This year we put the brussel sprouts in a cage to keep out the cabbage white butterflies and the pigeons. So far they are doing well and hopeful for sprouts for Christmas. A first for us this year is sweetcorn. Again, we caged these to keep off the rabbits and squirrels. The cobs are beginning to form nicely and should be ready in a couple of weeks I should think.

We've had a couple of meals from the chard which is going very well and on Sunday I planted a second row. The beetroot in the veg plot are really good and I popped half a dozen in the oven alongside the roast beef yesterday. The beetroots in the "leek bed" are rather poor. It's quite shaded under the ever-expanding cherry tree and also very dry. Planted another row of beetroot in the veg plot, because you can never have too much beetroot.

In the greenhouse the tomatoes continue to amaze. I pick them as soon as they start turning and ripen them off on the kitchen window sill. Plenty for us and for the neighbours too. There's also 5 pepper plants with some small fruit just forming.

So everything is doing well on the produce front.  After last year's neglect the shrubs and flower beds are pretty desperate and we've all been out there digging and chopping to try to get the jungle under control. Good exercise! Oh, and while clearing weeds and overgrown bamboo fromt the top of the rockery I stood on a wasps nest - OOUUCCH! They got inside my trainers and stung both ankles. Decided to leave the rockery until the wasps move on.

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