Friday, 8 July 2016

Bring back summer

It really feels as if someone has switched the months around this year. Here we are in July, with April/May weather: highs of 16C and frequent showers and no end in sight.

Still, it is a good temperature for working in the garden, between showers, and the fruit & veg are growing quite happily. We've got quite a large variety on the menu now: cucumbers, new potatoes, broad beans, mangetout, cabbage, lettuce, courgettes, beetroot, radishes, shallots and, slowly but surely, the first tomatoes and carrots.

Strawberry Symphony
Our main crop at the moment, however, is strawberries. Blackbirds permitting, we are harvesting two litres a day. Strawberry rhubarb jam has already been made and some strawberries frozen. We eat about a litre a day, so yummy in porridge, with ice cream or cream or on top of a sponge cake.

Gooseberry Invicta
The gooseberry bushes are absolutely laden this year. We've had a few already, but most of them should be ripe over the coming fortnight. Same goes for the jostaberries and currants.

New bed, with quinoa in foreground. Note the weeds that
have grown since we removed the black plastic in April!
Jim's still digging the new area, which is very stony. Half of it has already been planted with quinoa.

New herb bed
The new herb bed is really coming along and makes the top of the garden look much prettier. This year it's a bit of a hodgepodge of herbs (summer savoury, dill, coriander, majoram, rosemary, anise hyssop and blue hyssop, borage, camomile and Vietnamese coriander) and other things that needed a sheltered home (sun flowers, grain amaranth, red cabbage).

The mint bed is also filling in. The lemon catmint is proving particularly tasty.

Colourful displays everywhere
Roses, lavender and wild flowers are out in full bloom now and everything is looking colourful. All we need is some balmy sunshine to sit out and enjoy it all.

This is what we want!


  1. You seem to manage fine with your weather! is quinoa a short day crop? Our mangetout are flowering so we are hoping to sample them soon.

  2. Apparently the quinoa flowers in July/August and the seed is ready in Sept/Oct. Fancy giving it a try? Well, let's see how I get on with the harvest first though it sounds relatively straightforward: We've got tons of mangetout at the moment. I've now figured out which of the wigwams are mangetout and which are peas - I must do more labelling, I always think I'll remember, but of course with so many crops I don't!

  3. Mangetout is handy because the quality doesn't deteriorate with freezing like the beans'does. Ours (Oregon Sugar Pod) looks so different from the ordinary peas that even I remember which is which.

    1. We grow Oregon Sugar Pod, too, and Kelvedon Wonder and Douce Provence for podded peas though the latter is also good as mangetout. I might freeze some mangetout if they freeze well since we can hardly keep up at the moment! We're having them as snacks and in salad every day.