This year is proving to be different as far as the weather is concerned. Having had one of the wettest winters and a very late spring, we are now experiencing heat and no rain. I love the heat but the allotment is starting to droop so watering is important at the moment and seems to be taking longer and longer. The heat also means that produce is either early or over quite quickly. However, lots of things are just starting to get into their stride.
These are the last of the strawberries for the moment. I understand that Mara de Bois are meant to be perpetual strawberries but I suspect they have worn themselves out and won’t fruit again for some time. They are worth it though because the taste is fantastic. They took along time to get going and didn’t really fruit for 2 years. I think they were too dry in our soil – the name does not suggest sandy dry conditions. I did wonder about trying some planted between the fruit trees as if they were in a wood. What really helped was a mulch with Strulch, a straw based mulch with an inbuilt slug deterrent. It is expensive but I didn’t lose many strawberries to slugs. The other berries in the dish are the first loganberries. Again, there aren’t many but they are just about to get going. The thing about loganberries is that once they are ripe they have to be picked and eaten or frozen on the same day. They do not keep at all which is presumably why you can’t buy them in the shops.
The first globe artichokes of the year. They are fiddly to cook and eat but I love them dipped in mayonnaise. They do all seem to be ready at the same time so that means I have about 20 on the plants all good to go. Sarah Raven’s globe artichoke tart is another favourite way to eat them.
Other firsts are the outdoor garlic, courgettes and sweet peas. I grew soft neck garlic but have just learnt that if you want garlic scapes you need to grow hard neck garlic. Next year! The courgettes are British Summertime (dark green), Yellow Stripe and Tondo Chiaro di Nizza (globe). Over the last few years I have found the yellow courgettes to be more productive than others so British Summertime is a new variety to me and I am hoping more productive than Green Bush which I normally grow.
This is one enormous lettuce! It fills the sink. The seeds were free with a gardening magazine and I only sowed them to see what it was like, not having much hope that I would like it as I don’t really like the iceberg lettuces you can buy in supermarkets. However, this is a winner! Large, green and crunchy with a good lettucy flavour. I will be growing these again.
What’s growing well in your garden?
Many thanks to Dave at Our Happy Acres for hosting the Harvest Monday posts. Do have a look at all the linked posts.