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A rainy day!

September 9, 2017

Bloody typical, innit? No rain for weeks and weeks and then a downpour on the day of the Farm to Table feast. It’s for a worthy cause, but I’d be tempted to give it a miss, if the ticket hadn’t cost $30 and if I wasn’t particularly partial to pulled pork, one of the main menu items. No chance of wearing, as planned, my nice new charity shop summer dress. This is definitely going to be jumper and jeans for the first time in months.

09-09 roxie

Roxie sheltering from the rain

Anyway… At least being kept inside by the rain gives me a prompt to write a long overdue garden update.

09-09 blackberries

The wild blackberry bush continues to be the gift that keeps on giving. I’d say I have a bushel of blackberries in the freezer, but I have no idea how much a bushel is. Perhaps I only have a peck. Not that I know what the volume of a peck is either. In any case there are a lot of blackberries to last the winter.

Other good news: I’m into my second crop of peas and beans. The latter, planted for the first time this year, have turned out to be a great success. Will definitely grow again next year.

09-09 peas and beans

Not sure we have enough good weather left to get a second crop of lettuce, rocket and kale. They’re still pretty small. Although I have made an interesting discovery about kale, also planted for the first time this year. When you harvest the grown leaves, the stalk starts growing new leaves, so definitely a second batch of kale to be had from the original row.

Not such good news: I’ve only managed one batch of courgette and gorgonzola soup from the two courgettes planted this year. As opposed to the dozens I had off one plant three years ago, prompting me to start making the soup. Still, it was delicious, as my friend Donna, with whom I shared it, can attest. Better luck next year.

Nary an apple or pear on either tree, despite some blossom in the spring. I honestly think the bloody things only bear fruit every other year, as this has happened before. (Perhaps they, too, need to be fed more than compost in the spring? Must check.)

Biggest disappointment of the summer has been the cherry tomatoes. Whatever else in the garden has or hasn’t worked since I started trying to grow fruit and vegetables seven years ago, I’ve always had good crops of cherry tomatoes – some years so many that I’ve had to give them away. I planted six in May. Two died almost immediately. The other four were pretty stunted. I had planted them in a new bed this summer, which I began to think might not be getting enough sun, so I transplanted them into the pots I normally use and shifted them to a sunnier spot.

09-09 tomatoes

Only one of them is still (barely) alive. If I’ve had a total of ten tomatoes from the garden this summer I’d be surprised. Fortunately I haven’t gone completely without. My friends Dave and Jan have had a bumper crop, and I came home with a big bag full of tomatoes a couple of weeks ago. Delicious, although, alas, not mine.

To sum up: As with every summer since 2010 there’s been good news and bad news. Some experiments have worked well and will be repeated. Some tired and true crops have failed this year. The annually pruned, but never watered wild blackberry bush has once again produced the best crop of anything.

Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

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