This is the time of year when the garden is at its most productive. There’s plenty to harvest, successional sowing means the next flush is coming up behind and plants for winter are established and full of promise.
The ladder is in the orchard as the seasonal ritual of climbing up to reach the highest fruit begins. The cherry plums have been eaten, the Czar plums are just starting to ripen and every day I squeeze the greengages to see if they’re ready. The autumn fruiting raspberries are so prolific at the moment that Beth is picking them for her Raspberry Gin and we still have enough to eat at breakfast layered with oats and yoghurt.
There’s a ready supply of peas, beans, carrots, salad leaves and beetroot, though the carrot germination wasn’t good this year. We have a steady trickle of tomatoes, though I suspect that we will reach glut proportions in a week or two.
Looking ahead, the leeks have been transplanted into their winter beds and are growing well.
On the left of the photo is the dibber to make the holes for the leeks. Constructed from scaffold pipe, it makes a monotonous job easier and saves a good deal of bending over.
I’d hoped to have Brussels Sprouts again this winter. There’s always a dispute about whether to plant them or not; I like them because it’s handy to have a vegetable that’s easy to pick in the middle of winter but Bill thinks they take up too much room and look a mess. I got my way this year and the plants were growing well until the guinea fowl decided that the sprout bed was the best place on the entire farm to take a dust bath. They uprooted some of the plants and the remaining ones look pretty sickly. I noticed that Bill shouted at the guineas when they were eyeing up the carrot bed for their dust bath but has remained very quiet since they discovered the sprouts.
The courgettes are running amok and I have no idea why we have grown five plants when two would have been more than enough. I suppose the answer is that last year only one seed germinated and this year all of them did. The yellow courgettes are producing like there’s no tomorrow and are pressed on anyone who happens to pass by, though the green ones have hardly started yet.
This week I made pickled courgette, which we will (possibly) eat with cold meats in the autumn. Of course, it may languish on the pantry shelf for months, gradually disappearing behind the more attractive Spiced Crab Apples or chutneys. We’ll see.
Meanwhile, I have a batch of courgette cakes in the oven, which goes to show how desperate I am to use them up and am trying to convince Beth that Courgette Gin would be a winner.