A busy day, and warm and humid.
Today marked the real start of the harvest season for me. I picked 3lb of redcurrants and have cooked them ready for straining to make redcurrant jelly tomorrow I also picked my very first courgette.
There’s such a difference between the first and the last courgette – more than just the weeks of time: the first is eagerly awaited and eagerly received; the last is received with a feeling of relief that we don’t have to keep up with our never-ending over supply (in a good year). Though I think this will be the year when whatever surplus we gardeners produce will be readily and happily used by someone even if that someone isn’t us. If we’ve learned nothing else from this episode, let it be that food should never, ever be wasted; and that there are channels we can use to ensure that someone who can make good use of a surplus has access to it.
Later this week I will begin to pick gooseberries (I’ll try to bottle some for the winter), continue picking strawberries, pick some more blackcurrants, and test to see whether the whitecurrants are ready yet. There may be a few early raspberries (though I only grow the late season raspberries, which are easy to grow and in a good year keep us supplied right through till late October). I have as much salad leaves as I could possibly want (and some ti give away), and a few mangetout peas every other day.
There’s a lot of work to do keeping everything going, as well as work to ensure that other crops are ready to follow on. Today I potted up my 5 aubergine plants (a first for me), and I need to do the same with the 4 sweet peppers. I have autumn and winter crops to sow and some to plant out. On top of that is the general maintenance (weeding, watering, cutting the paths, mulching; cleaning out the hen house).
And then there are the schemes and dreams that come to mind when I’m out there doing stuff and realise that if only I did X or changed Y, I could fit so much more in / there would be less damage by predators / it would look so much better. It’s that constant change, learning, striving for better that is one of the very satisfying and creative things about being a gardener. As I no longer hesitate to call myself.
On the other hand, there are gardeners and there are gardeners. This evening I took myself for a walk around the allotment site to see what other people’s plots are like. Some are untended or just dull, but others are truly inspiring. There’s an out and out winner: Joe, the elderly Sicilian man who’s had his plot for many years (he was already there when we had our first one here in 1991). His plot is at least 6 times the size of mine, and he works it all on his own. He grows enough for several villages, and every single thing looks perfect. I took lots of pictures, so one day when I can’t find anything much to say I’ll share them with you.
In the meantime, here are the redcurrants I picked this morning, and another photo of the juice straining so I can make the jelly tomorrow.
And finally, here’s one of some of the girls snuggling in the dust bath they made themselves in the sunshine this morning. I hope you have somewhere warm and comfortable to snuggle, and that I’ll see you tomorrow xx