Wednesday, 31 August 2022

Garden Diary August

Time once again for my monthly garden diary. I do realise that I do this diary mainly for myself, as although I keep a note of where I planted each year, and the seeds, it is sometimes really useful to have a look back and see how things went.

Blackberries are what are filling my days (and freezer) at the moment

It's been a funny old year, with all the hot weather and no rain for a long time. Although it is raining now, we have recently dug two lots of potatoes. A much easier job than last year, as the soil just seemed to fall away to leave lovely clean potatoes, but really shows that we need a lot more rain to penetrate the soil.

The plants that looked like they were doing okay, but then really didn't flourish like last year were the runnerbeans, french beans, broad beans and peas. Yes we had some, but I have not put any in the new chest freezer as we just ate them as we went. This is a photo of my entry in the village show for longest runnerbean. I came third, but I guess I have to admit that there were only three beans entered!


But the freezer is coming into its own with berries. Raspberries did really well, and now we are filling it almost daily with blackberries and elderberries. Even I am starting to think that perhaps I should stop picking the blackberries, but they are just so lovely. We have one lot of blackberry wine bubbling away, and plan to make more throughout the winter. We have already bottled dandelion flower, elderflower and cherry wine. My husband was worried that if we picked the elderflowers, we might not have enough left for berries. Although some of the bushes have suffered a bit from the dry weather, there seem to be plenty of berries. I have just weighed all the elderberries in the freezer so far, and it is over 3kg. I am also planning to make some jellies and jams. My husband made some raspberry jam already, which was so much better than mine.  

Dandelion labels made by hand and elderflower on the computer

The other berries that look great are the sloes, but this year I am not going to be drawn into picking until we have a frost.

Things that did well in the veg garden were the courgettes, and patty pan squash. I managed to mainly pick the courgettes small, but must try to remember that even 6 plants was too many. The patty pans are still flowering and producing, but I seem to be the only one keen on these cute little vegetables. Also the onions did fairly well, despite me planting them too close to each other, and having to replant. We now have several strings of onions in the kitchen. 
There is now a plant and produce donation cabin in the village, which is a great way to share. I have given, and am excited to see how the watermelons, aubergine and broccoli that I received do.

The main problem for me seems to be that a lot of my plants seem behind. Sweetcorn are only just starting to swell, one baby butternut squash has appeared, melons and watermelons I am hopeful for, tomatoes are still very green, and the spinach just seems to have stopped growing. Hopefully we will have a mild and wet September, and some of these things will catch up. The celeriac is also still looking very healthy, and I see that should not be ready until October, so there is still time.

My one butternut squash

I nearly forgot to mention the apples and pears, which are looking so much better than last year. It will not be long before the cider press will have to be got out.

And finally the pumpkins - each plant seems to producing a good sized pumpkin, which are starting to turn orange. 


Although not strictly the garden, but we had a visit from the Woodland Trust to look at our growing woodland, which we planted in the spring of 2020. In the spring this year we looked down all the tubes (a mammoth task in which I had to keep reminding myself "this not as hard as actually planting trees"), and we replaced the 20 or so trees which had died. But out of 1400 trees this did not seem too bad. 

But my husband has been quite worried about the trees in the dry weather, but the tree people were very reassuring that they would survive. The photo below is not really a good comparison, as the first was in February just after the trees were planted, but you can see in the current photo below a lot of the trees are well out of their tubes.

1 comment:

  1. I love seeing your garden updates! I am amazed with all you have!