It’s been a week of heat and high humidity, moody skies and thunderstorms. The garden is growing like a rainforest and the summer harvest has begun.
We’ve been eating the ‘Green Imperial’ broad beans for several weeks now, first as tiny pods steamed whole (well worth trying, they’re delicious) and now as beans. Despite having been bashed by wind and torrential rain, they are cropping well.
The peas, both the ‘Early Onward’ and ‘Douce Provence’ are coming so thick and fast it’s a job to keep up with them and needless to say several pods go missing between garden and kitchen… Still waiting for the pink flowers to open on my girlie purple-podded peas, though.
We decided to grow a ‘proper’ first early potato this year instead off our usual choice (Charlotte), these ‘Pentland Javelin’ are melt-in-the-mouth scrumptious, with a second early ‘Nicola’ following on behind.
The ‘Latino’ courgettes have been fruiting for several weeks now, they have a lovely nutty flavour either raw or cooked. No chance of them getting anywhere near marrow size, we’re picking and scoffing daily.
The two rows of Japanese ‘Hi-Walker’ onions I planted in autumn were trashed by a mole and I’m really cursing the little fiend now as the few that have survived have grown well and are doing exactly what they’re meant to do – filling the gap between the stored onions and this year’s crop. Definitely one to try again, moles permitting.
Sticking with the onion family, the garlic has died off very early this year, I’m not sure whether it will keep growing now but will delay harvesting it in the hope the bulbs might swell a little bit more.
Why are spring onions so slow? I planted a mix of white ‘Silverskin’ and red ‘Crimson Forest’ weeks ago, it feels like we should be tucking in by now but they’re still too tiny.
We have a good succession of salad leaves – the usual reliable culprits – but these are a couple of new varieties I’m trying this year: radicchio ‘Palla Rossa’ and in the foreground something called ‘Par-cel’ which is parsley with a celery flavour.
Last year I planted some French ‘Navet Plat Hatif’ turnips and not one germinated. Better news this year: despite extensive flea beetle damage to the leaves, there is a good row of tender purple babies ready to be eaten. I’ve found a recipe for them cooked with honey and mustard which sounds like something that needs to be done.
Not such good news on the beetroot front where only three of my ‘Plate d’Egypte’ have grown. Roger will be pleased as he’s not a fan, I shall just have to savour the lonely little survivors myself.
What a difference some better weather has made to the more tender plants. The sad tomato plants in the flower border have suddenly perked up and doubled in size,
while in the tunnel fruits are setting and swelling rapidly. These are a cherry variety called ‘Bambino’ which I’m trying instead of ‘Sungold’ this year.
The ‘Hunter’ butternut squashes are setting fruit in the tunnel
and the outdoor varieties (this is ‘Stripetti’) have set out to take over the garden.
There is already a good crop of chillies on the ‘Long Slim’ and ‘Koloksai Paprika’ varieties.
Three out of four of the ‘Green Globe’ artichokes I raised from seed last year made it through the winter and all are about to flower. Yum!
I must admit I wondered whether we would have any climbing beans this year as the slugs hit the young plants so hard . . . but they’re romping away now, the purple ‘Cosse Violette’ are halfway up their wigwams with the borlotti ‘Lingua di Fuoco’ not far behind. Nice try, slugs, but you’ve lost this round!
The flower garden is full of poppies this year, very apt for the D-Day commemorative events held in northern France last week and the centenary of the start of World War I.
In fact, much of the colour in the garden at the moment is down to self-set annuals. This is my favourite guide to flower gardening: Year 1 – plant lots of annual seeds; Year 2 and beyond – do nothing and let nature take its course.
Lazy, I know – but how could I improve on this? 🙂