Wednesday, 23 July 2008

A Teasel in bloom - they flower sequentially from the top to the bottom.  This flower is more familiar to us as a brown seed head used in dried flower arrangements.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Gooseberry Day!

The rain finally stopped, the sun came peeking through the clouds and I decided it was time to pick the gooseberries.  Armed with a long sleeve shirt and sweatshirt to protect myself against the thorns, I approached the bush with due caution and began to pick.

I should have worn a hat.  My hair got caught in the bush - my curly hair.  For those who don't have curly hair, let me spell it out for you:  curly hair + thorny bush = human/plant velcro.  I was stuck, head fixed inside the bush, rear end sticking out.  After about 30 seconds of wriggling I escaped, with only a minor scalp laceration to show for it.  Oh, and I left some hair in the bush.  It can keep it.

So I now have several pounds of gooseberries, scratched head, hands and arms and a little less hair than when I started the day.

I turned next to the whitecurrants - a less aggressive bush, from which I got three pounds of fruit.  They are probably the most pretty fruit, with transluscent skin through which you can see the brown seeds.  I have struggled to get this bush to fruit well, but it looks like I've got the pruning right at last, because three pounds is a good crop (for me).

Finally, I dug up the remainder of the first early potatoes - Pentland Javelin and got half a sack full.  These are slug resistant, which is essential in the wet and windy north of England and they have done well this year.  

A good morning's work!

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Yet another rainy day...

"New Dawn" rose - a very pretty rambler. Perfect for a wet English summer!

It hasn't stopped raining in three days, but the plants keep growing. Finally, I could put off picking the strawberries no longer, so ventured out in a waterproof jacket.

I picked fruit in the rain, must be bonkers.
Another pound of strawberries to add to my haul - ten pounds so far this year!

I also managed to pick some peas, was going to dig up some more potatoes but it was too wet so I will leave that until tomorrow when the weather should - SHOULD - be better. That's according to the weather forecast, but they've got it wrong several times this week, so who knows?

Here's a picture of peas in the rain - for anyone interested, this is an old, tall (1 metre plus) variety called Alderman. I gave up on the modern, short varieties a couple of years ago as they only produce one crop (they are designed for farmers really) and the slugs eat most of those, since they are so close to the ground. These pea pods are huge, so well worth growing.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

A Rainy Day

Nothing but rain today, so in the small bright gap in the clouds I took a picture of the geranium outside my front door - that's as close to gardening as I got today.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Going for a walk

So, another pound and a half of strawberries picked yesterday afternoon.  They'll be cooked and in the freezer by the end of the day.  

I didn't do any gardening today, instead went for a six mile walk in a nearby deserted valley - mostly grass, a few trees and bog plants so nothing pretty to see.  If you want to see fantastic wild flowers in great scenery, I recommend the Pembrokeshire coastal path (South Wales) in May/ June:
My photos really don't do it justice.  Seeing Thrift, Ox-Eye Daisy, Squill and Sea Campion in their natural habitat is stunning.  

This looks like someone has alternated Thrift and Sea Campion along the path, but it's entirely natural.  Inspiring stuff.

So, off to eat some home-grown produce now - potatoes and broad beans followed by raspberries, will give the strawberries a miss for one day!

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

I'm really starting to hate strawberries

So, over half way through the year and the vegetable garden is in full swing. We're into glut time and I'm really starting to hate strawberries - eight pounds (four kilos) so far and I am just about to pick some more. Strawberries and cream, stewed strawberries, strawberry crumble and today rhubarb and strawberry streusel (like a crumble but with some ground almonds instead of half the flour - delicious). I moved the strawberries last year and with that and the awful summer, they produced almost nothing. They're making up for it this year, with a vengeance.

As for the redcurrants, a bumper crop - almost 18 pounds (9 kil0s), nearly killed me picking them. Happily they freeze well, so some are in the freezer and the rest went into jam, 16 jars of it in fact. Gifts for family and friends...

I'm now getting up the courage to pick the gooseberries, a nice fruit from the most vicious bush in the world. I'll let you know how I get on!