August Update

I can’t quite believe it’s the end of August. I’ve been busy both in the garden and kitchen (over 40 bottles of tomatoes, plus raspberry and fig jam, canned peaches and peach chutney  already in the cellar)  and have not posted any updates for a month, so a lot of photos today!

My rhubarb plant continues to grow with such vigour – and supplies neighbours and friends who struggle to produce it. By complete chance I planted it in a good location and do nothing to it except give it a good dollop of manure in autumn and a very occasional watering.

The ash bin herbs are doing well – and the vine on the little pergola in the background is full of grapes
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Tomatoes are very successful again. This year a new variety of plum tomato called Uriburi is producing lovely big and fleshy tomatoes.

Craig made a great stand for the steriliser and for the trays of tomatoes, waiting to be bottled and sterilised. On the side, the last of the butternuts from last year – they have kept incredibly well, though I think they lose  flavour after this length of time

Peppers of all colours starting to ripen now. Plants are always so productive and need regular staking to cope with the weight of the fruit.
Real success with an early ripening, very hot chilli called Ring of Fire for Craig.
Peppadews, from original seed given to me by Jen, always ripen later, which gives me a bit of a breathing space on the bottling front
I only planted 3 aubergines this year and think that next year two will suffice, given how much they produce.  
One of my favourite plants is fennel – I love cooking with fennel, but also think they are such pretty plants.

Second cucumber planting, behind the fennel, is producing well, although the later plantings start to get diseased leaves quite quickly.
Leeks, permanently undercover to protect them from leek moth. 
Each year brings new challenges and this year it was the cabbage root fly. I kept on losing healthy seedlings after a few weeks, like this purple sprouting broccoli  in the centre of this photo. The plant transplants well, the suddenly wilts and dies off. Took me way too long to realise it was nothing to do with the planting or the soil, but with a fly that lays her eggs where the stem meets the soil, and the larvae eat the roots. Damn!  Fortunately not all were affected, but I must have lost 50% of my seedlings.

Now that I know what I am dealing with, I can protect new seedlings with collars around the stem, or with insect covers – below Chinese cabbage and cauliflower under the mesh.  Lettuce, coriander and dill in the foreground.
A cardboard collar is just visible around the front Tuscan kale in the foreground of this photo. Fortunately the Brussels ( a must for Christmas dinner!) in the background, were not affected

Not a great photo (looking directly into the early morning sunrise) but on the trellis in the background are black-eyed beans. I love the flavour of these little dried beans and planted them as a trial from beans I cook with. Very successful so far with lots of pods ripening. Lettuce, spring onions and baby leeks in the foreground of the photo.

The pumpkin patch vegetables are now in full production mode too. Second planting of potatoes ( first time I’ve done this)  are starting to flower, so we will soon have a second batch of new potatoes. Yummy!
Sweetcorn has survived the badgers,  and even though pigeons do some damage, we have had great pickings. Lots of butternut, but still a way to go before they ripen, although courgettes, in the foreground, seem to produce new fruit each day.  The row of small carrots is for late autumn/winter harvest.

Beans, Borlotti and Cocos are starting to fill out – I leave them to dry on the trellis.

On the subject of drying, I have finished stringing the onions and they now hang with the garlic in the garage. Come winter, I move them into the barn and the kitchen.
Last, but by no means least, a photo of the huge pile of manure, brought to me by  MIchel, the farmer who mows our fields.  Without such a great supply of manure, my garden would not exist.  MIchel is still amused by how excited I get when he delivers it, and I think friends and family keep away is autumn, just in case they get dragged into spreading it 🙂

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