The rain has thoroughly soaked the garden and totally filled both of our water butts, so no worries anymore about draughts! Now we just have to get out there and get tidying up the plants, harvesting fruit and maybe sowing a bit for whatever is next.
At the moment there is a constant flow of courgettes, potatoes whenever we need them and raspberries, red currants and gooseberries in need of picking. The peas, lettuce and carrots are still coming, although we are passed the best. I should be sowing more lettuces, but there is always something else happening, so they will have to wait!
It is fun having potatoes in the garden, although they only supply us for a few weeks of the year. I think it is one of those important lessons for the kids on where food comes from, and there is always excitement to see how many, and how big, the potatoes are lurking under the plants. For the past few years we have taken part in the Potato Council scheme for schools and home educators of primary age kids. Once you register, they will send you grow packs of two types of potato to try, with full instructions. All you need is a bit of space, sun and some compost.
The garden is going a bit potty in the current heatwave, and I am having to water all the pots daily to stop them wilting. This means our two water butts are starting to run low. I am being quite careful watering so as to waste as little as possible, aiming under leaves of plants and concentrating on the plants fruiting now, like the courgettes and strawberries. I probably shouldn’t say this, but I hope we get a bit of rain in the next week or we’ll be using the kids bathwater. Maybe we’ll have a good, solid, butt-filling thunderstorm with all this close, humid weather?
We have been happily munching on the odd strawberry when in the garden for a while now, but I think tomorrow we should be able to pick enough to have for pudding, if we can resist them on the way in to the kitchen! We are also in the midst of our cut and come lettuce harvest, with mixed leaf salads at every meal. Which reminds me, I should give some thought to sowing some more, if I can find a space.
The courgettes appear poised to explode into a glut, so I am scurrying through recipe books for courgette inspiration. I shall let you know what is a hit (or a miss)! The plants are great, with fabulous leaves and the most amazing huge yellow flowers. If you have never tried them then give one a go next year. I grow mine from seed, they usually all germinate, and then pot them on into big pots, 40cm diameter or so. Last year the slugs got most of my seedlings, but this year I have five plants, I had to plant two in one pot, but they are doing fine.
We are all watching the peas and the raspberries as the next things to be ready. The peas have done well, with lots of flowers and the first pods filling out nicely. Keeping the kids off the peas is the hardest thing as they are eager to try them “just to see if they’re ready”! The raspberries are probably a longer wait, but the canes are covered in fruit, so we should be able to gorge ourselves without restraint when the time comes.
We came home from our main family holiday tired but ready for new challenges and were met by the inevitable flourishing of the garden into a lush green jungle! Don’t get me wrong, the good plants had done well too, but the weeds seem to erupt from nowhere into foot high beasts. I couldn’t manage to leave them alone for two weeks, who knows what would have happened? Luckily it was not too long before I got the chance to cut down the long grass round the edges of the beds, in which I am sure the slugs lurk during the heat of the day, and clear out all the weeds.
I also cleared out some of the things which had got out of hand. The vegetable patches look very professional now, I am quite proud of it.
The spinach was billed as being slow to bolt but as a mere week without being attended had led them to show signs of flower stalks, I took out the lot and froze the leaves. Spinach had been sown to go between parsnips and beetroot, both of which are now up and growing nicely, so they need the room anyway. The radishes I sowed between rows had also done well, but luckily we got to them before they got woody, although they were nice and peppery.
I have enjoyed the baby spinach and radishes though, so maybe we shall sow some more where the beans failed. That is what I like about gardening, the plans shift with successes and weather so there is always something to consider, and every year is different.
Currently we are enjoying lots of cut and come again salads, the first few strawberries, and we are eyeing up the pea pods and vast array of summer raspberries only a week or so from being ready!