The garden is really hitting it straps now. With warm / hot sunshine and every day another jamspangler, it has been so easy to keep the weeds under control. The key has been keeping the veg and borders alive.
While prophylactic action against rabbits and caterpillars continues with sweeps of cabbages and brussels by gardener (result: several hundred eggs and 20 caterpillars destroyed) and hunting of vermin by dog (result: nil rabbits, nil moles, one hot and bothered dog) might ensure a good winter harvest, the real work is about the summer harvest that is getting into full swing.
And what a glut. Sugar snap peas, mangetout, purple sprouting, broad beans and continued salad leaves are all bumper crops. Yesterday we picked our first tomatoes and cucumber. We even had our first two blueberries (bushes a 50th birthday present from the Ladies of the Lane last October) and our autumn bliss raspberries provide just enough for a daily summer cereal accompaniment. And today we picked our first handfuls of runner beans and french beans with plenty on the way.
In addition, the concerns voiced to me by Piers and Hazel about the number of courgettes that we might have to contend with are being realised, as all the plants look like they are coming well and truly into blossom with courgettes turning from small pencils to police truncheons almost overnight. So we will shortly be entering the storage phase of the Smallway harvest season when I remember parents spending hours peeling, shelling, podding and slicing veg to be blanched in vats of boiling water to then be cooled, bagged and frozen.
But we are looking to be a little more creative with what we have and are thinking of making “ready meals” based on our excess produce. So if anyone has a favourite courgette, runner bean or french bean recipe they would like to share with us we would love to see them. Preferably with garlic and shallots included as I am not convinced I will be able to store my home-grown for too long. But I did manage, after a little trial and error, to plait them reasonably effectively. Even Verity seemed quite impressed which is high praise as she is still scarred by the memory of going to school with wonky pig tails after my ham-fisted efforts – not that anyone would too pleased to wear their hair like my shallots and garlic.