Typical British Summer

Yes – a mixture of rain and sun, fairly typical British summer has been with us now for a couple of weeks or so. Which of course is quite good news for gardeners, since the rain every couple of days has meant less of dragging the watering cans and hosepipe around.

So what’s been happenin’ I hear you wonder, well we had a few days away – when fortunately it rained here enough to mean nothing suffered, and it wasn’t desperately sunny so the plants in the greenhouse survived ok (and the weather we had where we were was ok!)

It did mean as soon as we got back  a big harvest of climbing green beans, mangetout peas and tomatoes though. plus a couple of courgettes and cucumbers, so some hasty cooking and salad eating to reduce the backlog.

Since then (a few days ago) there has been a steady harvest of climbing beans ans tomatoes, and today a couple more courgettes and another cucumber (with more ready to be picked – see below).

cucumbers

Nice cucumbers

As if that weren’t enough, the brambles (blackberries to you southerners, they grow wild in our hedges) are ripening, I picked about a kilo yesterday (see below)  – with lots more to come. Bramble & apple pie coming up I think. Also, we have wild ‘damson’ trees at the bottom of the garden – at least some form of wild plum – they normally only fruit properly every few years but strangely this year is a repeat of last – branches are laden and will be ripe in a couple of weeks (see below) – they are really only good for jam, but that is pretty tasty though. I suspect last years are still in the freezer – but that means they break down much easier for jam when unfrozen.

Brambles and a few desert gooseberries above - really sweet

Bramble ripening

Brambles ripening

'Damsen' ripening

'Damsens' ripening

I finally planted the third row of mangetout peas a week or so ago so we’ll be eating them for a while – even the old rows are still producing though.

The disappointments are the aubergine plants in the greenhouse, none have set yet, though the biggest is in flower still so there is hope. One of the pepper plants has only produced on pepper (though it is pretty big now) and some of the tomatoes in the greenhouse are tiny so not much use really. Outside, the red onions have all but disappeared – so no luck with onions again – it must be me as my next door neighbour has produced some pretty good ones (and shallots).

Wildlife – well I’ve evicted another two squirrels, but there is one more to go. The trap did collect a young hedgehog the other night – so they are breeding locally, which is good news, but obviously passing on the taste for peanuts!
One point is the pitifully small number of butterflies this year (apart from cabbage whites), and then only a few species. Also, only this week have I finally seen some honey bees in the garden – maybe someone has moved a hive into the area, but still rather worrying.

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