An explosion of life! Summer garden update
Above, the sluice gates and millrace
Following the fabulous heatwave that we’ve been experiencing recently, the garden has absolutely exploded into life. Debbie (who forms half of our gardening team of two along with Emily, pictured above), was explaining to me that it’s all happened a little later than usual this year because of the cold weather snaps we experienced earlier on, which followed by this sudden hot spell has unfortunately caused many of the plants to bolt. However, now that a lot of the soft fruits, lettuces, vegetables and flowers have finally blossomed the garden has been overflowing, with enough inspiration for recipes to keep me busy for months.
In the greenhouse, we’ve been experimenting with some new plants that we haven’t previously grown, including agretti, cape gooseberry, edamame beans, cucumelons (mini watermelons with a type of lime and cucumber taste), chick peas, and minutina (a little like a leafy asparagus). I’m currently planning on turning some of the agretti into a delicious quiche when we have enough to harvest.
Some of the ongoing jobs at the moment include summer pruning, with a focus on our soft fruits, thinning the apples, and successional vegetable and salad sowings. Keeping all the plants watered and commencing the mulching to protect them from slugs is also an ongoing task. Very sadly we lost one of our sheep to old age, and some of the sheep’s wool will be used for mulch around the shrubs and fruit trees, which apparently deters slugs. I’ll report back on whether we have any success…
The herbs that were planted in the circular raised beds have been flourishing with vibrantly packed beds of fresh mint, and little green apples have begun to form on the apple trees, including the espaliers (which had such beautiful blossom earlier this year).
Over on the other side of the garden, we have the vegetables, salads, more herbs, and the soft fruits. We’ve built a fruit cage to keep the birds out, which has meant an absolute bumper crop of strawberries, gooseberries, redcurrants and blackcurrants. Next on the agenda for recipe testing is a vanilla cream and redcurrant tart, so keep your eyes peeled…
Elsewhere amongst the sweet peas, the lettuces are thriving, including cos, rocket, butterhead, lollo bionda and piro. They sit next to our mange tout and rather striking purple podded Blauschokker peas, broad beans, and a little section of blueberries (who we’ve been cultivating for the last two years but which haven’t quite taken off yet).
And last but not least, our cherry tree appears to have taken to the heat with a passion, and for the first time it’s branches have been laden down with berries. Dad got quite over-excited and secretive about this, and marched up on one sunlit evening with his ladder to gather a big bowl for his cottage, before announcing to anyone else that there were cherries to be had…
So that’s it this year for our summer garden update, keep a look out for recipes which will be using as much of this delicious produce as we can.