Sunday, 22 August 2010

A brief time in the garden

Fine days have been few and far between lately, with the incessant rain, but we are now getting the occasional day without rain, and the hosepipe ban has now been lifted. The soil is very wet, so even when it's not raining, we're not doing jobs which require you to walk on it, to avoid compacting the soil. So this morning it was a quick scoot round the garden to collect some veg and take a few pictures. The runner beans (above) are flowering and fruiting well now.
This is the Katy apple tree. I was reading last week that growers suggested this year's crop would be smaller than normal due to the drought, but also sweeter as a result. If you compare the picture above with last year, it is clear that there are fewer apples on the tree - the June Drop was very severe this year, with trees dropping more fruit than usual due to the dryness (I did water, but it was hard to keep up with the demand). I do think the apples are slightly smaller too, but as to being sweeter, we'll have to wait and see. These apples aren't ready yet. In fact most fruit and vegetables appear to be about two weeks behind where they were at the same time last year.
In the herb bed, there are lots of flowers - here are some peppermint flowers, with a white tailed bee enjoying them.
And here's the fennel; you can't see them, but this plant is covered in hover flies, which love its flat yellow flower heads. I keep the seed from this plant for herbal tea and other kitchen uses.
The marrows are still growing, but the plants are showing signs of becoming tired now. We have a number of small marrows on the way, but I may let them grow to full size rather than cutting them early; I already have one hardened off in the shed but would like to lay up more marrows for late autumn/winter. This time last year the courgettes and pumpkins were pretty much over, but I think we have a few more weeks of growth left in them this year.
And the promise of things to come - the autumn raspberries are flowering well and setting fruit. I actually prefer the autumn ones to the summer ones, they have a deeper flavour with a hint of citrus (hope that doesn't sound pretentious!). We can expect to start harvesting these in about 3 weeks - the good thing about autumn raspberries is that we often get settled dry weather in late September, which means they don't rot, unlike the summer ones which get rained on very reliably. We lost a lot of raspberries to the rain this year.

Hope the weather is good where you are, happy gardening!
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