Members adventures in the Vegetable Patch all year round
Not heard the term "rewilding". I certainly do not wish that to happen to my garden, apart from a small wild area under the plum and apple trees, where I have hyacinths, primroses, cowslips, ox eye daisies, aconites and ragged robin. We planted all of the flowers several years ago.
My rasps are little white buds, could do with some decent rain, and the strawberries are very white, thanks to all the surrounding weeds!
Bad year for soft fruit - no strawberries at all, possibly choked by the buttercups which grew amongst them. The rasps did nothing either.
Last week, the gardener who helps out every few months came, and strimmed the strawberry/buttercup patch down completely, removed the grass, and other weeds, so the vegetable patch is no longer an eyesore. It really upset me to see it so overgrown, after the years it had yielded our veg. Hopefully now it can be kept under control
My tubs and hanging baskets have been poor this summer, partly due to dry weather, and my inability to lift a watering can. The roses, and lilies however have and are doing really well. I have a Jackmanii clematis which is a picture, and to my relief my Old Glory rose, which I have had for many years is flowering, after I cut it right back when my son installed a new trellis. I thought I had killed it off.
Despite weedkilling the drive and rear gravel area, four times this year, the weeds have been worse than I have ever experienced. I have gone out and done small sessions of removing some handfuls, but the gardener applied a stronger solution last week, and I am so hoping to see the end of them.
The council no longer cut the grass verges right back and there is a healthy crop of willow herb, which is not helping!
Weeds. Tell me about it. I've been struggling too. A session today on the brambles before the Green Bin is emptied tomorrow.
I've dug my potatoes, some have been badly hollowed out by slugs, and I couldn't get the variety I wanted.
Picked the last of the Czar early plums (except a few high ones). Good crop, plenty frozen & eaten and some in the fridge. The Victoria are pathetic. Good size fruit but only a handful. I think we had a cold spell when they should have been pollinated.
Started picking the James Grieve too. They are ripening in the porch - I prefer them yellow and sweet (but still with a crisp sharp bite). Also piked a few brambles and made an individual bramble & windfall crumble.
Not updated this for a while so here goes.
Victoria plums - only about a dozen from 3 trees. Not many greengages either. Damsons reasonable (I like them raw when ripe, as well as stewed or in jam). There were many too high to reach, they've formed a thicket at the bottom of the garden, from runners or stones. Just thrown away the last 3 that were over-ripe.
The Conference pears didn't do well fairly small crop and many of them thin. Don't think they were pollinated properly. They are in the porch waiting to ripen (I cooked a few last night and ate a raw one that was ready).
I wondered if I would take apples to sell in aid of choir as I have in previous years, but the committee decided that, though we would meet to sing, they wanted to discourage mingling. I do take them to dance club, but we only have about 20 attending.
So my 'apples on the verge' charity stall returned. Advertised on the village Facebook page. A big box of seconds and windfalls, and punnets of good fruit. £24 raised so far for Save the Children Fund. Someone comes along about once a week and swoops the lot, I think for Alpacas.
And there is a Food Hub in Northwich that works in collaboration with Chester Food Bank. On my way to choir I drive near one the person who runs the community shop , so I've been delivering 20lb boxes every week as I pick.
Early apples -
James Grieve, good;
Worcester, good, not that I think they compare with other sorts, so I just pick them to give away, or pick them up when they are so ripe they drop. The last have dropped off this week.
Laxton's Exquisite, hardly any. Usually a big crop that is best eaten when picked.
Laxton's Superb, better crop than usual, though still only enough for me + a few for the stall.
Mid season -
Lord Lambourne, good crop. best before end of September so I've given most away. Cox type. The last of those also fell off this week
Cox, only about 6 pound of those so I'm keeping them for myself. Lots last year.
Chivers, mostly picked and given away (not my favourites), but lots of little ones still unpicked, might leave them for the birds.
Kidds Orange, some are now ripe enough to pick. And some on the ground which are now in the box on the verge. My favourite, I sampled one of the windfalls for lunch. They are really nice in November, a bit wrinkly and tasteless after Christmas but still good for stewing.
Crispin, not ripe yet.
Granny Smith won't be ripe till nearly Christmas. I use them as a late cooker when the Bramley's are finished or unusable.
I have 2 Bramley trees, the big fruit is all high. I've made a start. Someone who came last year might be coming to pick some. My book says pick from last week in September.
The Packham's pear is starting to be ready. It is a low spreading droopy tree and something has been gnawing the windfalls and low fruit. Squirrels perhaps. It was recommended as good in Cheshire, but only some taste nice when ripe, the rest take the skin off your teeth. But good for cooking.
Yesterday and today I've spent some time picking but as much tugging at nettles that were stinging me as I tried to pick the pears and Kidd's.
Don't mention brambles, it never ends.
I see on an earlier post that I said we had a plum tree, not so, although we did at one time, I should have said pear.
Outside the greenhouse, I have an antirhnum (how do you spell it), flowering in a plant pot, and a beautiful display of nerines inside the greenhouse.
A honeysuckle is flowering in the hedge, and I have a bud on my dearly loved Old Glory Rose.
The ragosa rose, grown from a few stolen hips when we were up at Sandsend, has done really well this year. Full of hips, and still flowering in places.
I picked the last of the Packham's Pears yesterday, and chopped up and stewed a dishful today to freeze (4 portions). They make a nice crumble.
The Conference are now all either over ripe or not quite ripe.
Picked the last of the Kidd's Orange today, though far more fell than were picked. Even as I picked I could hear them dropping. So out with a ladle and washing up bowl to rescue them - they are fairly hard so don't bruise too badly. We decided, as that was a good keeper, we'd get it an a rootstock that let it grow tall. First problem, it took years to fruit, we were almost ready to chop it down. Second problem, picking all that high fruit. But my favourite apple.
Keep plodding on with the Bramley's too, picking (to store) and picking up (to give away for use now).
Nice to have flowers into autumn. My tall hypericum is having another flush.
lucky you to have so much fruit to pick. All but 2 apples on my little braeburn disappearred before I got there - I think the squirrel had them!
"He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals."
A lot of mine are pecked when i get them picked from high branches, and the Packham's pears seem specially popular with something that gnaws them, both after they've fallen and when still hanging on low branches. Squirrel? badger? rabbit?...or what is locally called a longtail since you don't want to mention it.
I tend to do bits and pieces in the garden when Angel has her first venture of the day. This morning I felt quite strong, and pruned the rasps, which did practically nothing this summer. They have managed to escape the washing line and rope which is secured at each end of the row. Hopefully my youngest son will manage to tighten the lines up more securely that I have.
My chrysanths are opening in the greenhouse, all of them are purple, and we did have bronze, reds and whites at one time.
I took a carboot full of apples to the woman who runs the Food Hub on my way to choir last night. decided that the birds can have the rest of the Bramleys. While I've been picking a lot that needs doing has been neglected - must remove the leaves, weeds and moss from my drive, and sort out the soft fruit bed, it has a few nettles & brambles
Managed to get out to do a bit on Wed. Trimmed the Hypericum that keeps growing over the path between front and back doors, now I can get past without getting wet. Scraped the path of leaves, moss etc and clipped the things growing up between cracks in the concrete.
For now, and just that tiny fraction of the paths and drives. The main drive is covered with leaves, and moss is encroaching from the bottom of the hedge. I was watching from my window as a blackbird was pecking at it, don't know what he was finding. Should I leave it for him? Well, I'll clear the leaves and weeds first. When I get time.
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