Firstly apologies to Keats for borrowing and altering his first line of ‘To Autumn’ but it rather fits the current state of the garden and gardeners. Mostly we try to write the To Do lists when its raining and pick the fruit in the sunshine but yesterday Sheila and I picked raspberries in a downpour.
The blackberries are coming along slowly and as usual some of the biggest ones are out of reach so I’ve been thinking of these as the Angel’s Share (as in whiskey making). The blackcurrants were the best they’ve ever been and I made lots of cordial and jam and froze lots too so we can make a fresh batch of cordial for a taste of summer in the depths of a Yorkshire winter. The yellow plums from Oullin’s Gage have been eaten and now the Victoria plum has produced a vast harvest. We are reveling in the delights of picking a plum ripe from the tree that is juicy, sweet and comes clean off the stone as opposed to those bought in supermarkets that never really ripen. I have not yet resorted to making plum jam (in the style of the WI) but instead offer them to the builders. We’re watching the apples ripen by the day, Emily’s tree Early Windsor will be first as usual.
The Pomodoro tomatoes are being used to make passata, and the Sungold are being eaten daily in lunches. As ever we are just about keeping up with them thanks to Sheila’s dedicated watering regime. The strange Green Zebra and Orange Russian are a rare novelty and the less said about the Faworyt tomatoes the better.
We were recently gifting a few pounds of damsons and as we have so much jam I decided on a new tack and made ketchup – I’m told it goes well with fish and chips.
The runner beans were sown rather late – I realised as we were constructing the tower that I hadn’t actually sown any! However that means they’re ready now when there’s a lull in the dwarf french beans thankfully. All the beds are full and the garden looks lush today after the heavy rain.
Five new beds were built this year along the track below the courtyard to accommodate all the extra veg we wanted to grow and has a bed of potatoes, a bed of sweetcorn, two beds of mini sweetcorn (which we’re eating now) and a bed of Trombonchini squashes which have chosen to ramble horizontally rather than up the lovely wigwam structure I built from them as the packet said they are climbers! Below the sweetcorn are the pumpkins and when Sheila cut the mildewy leaves back twelve were revealed and are now hopefully going to turn orange in the late summer sun. Note to self – next time I ask the kids to peel the many layers off the mini sweetcorn ask them to do it outside – the hairy bits got everywhere!
The wildflower border along the back track has been so beautiful and sucessful we’ve decided to extend it towards the growing area. With the easy bit of ordering the seed done there’s just lots of hard digging to go. It’s ground we’ve never grown anything on and is full of bramble and giant willowherb roots and big stones. Hopefully next year it will be full of corn chamomile, meadow buttercup, corn flower, self-heal, yarrow, bird’s foot trefoil, goatsbeard, red campion and many more.