Cool Summer

I’ve got myself in a state where I don’t like my photos any more, so I’m using  C’s photos until that changes.

The long hot days of summer have not really materialised this year, and a flock of baby crickets in the bed last night signal the end wIll be starting soon. The weather has been patchy and cool for what should have been the warmest months. We have had mists and rains, while the East coast has been verging on drought. Never-the-less it was a treat to have enough water to water plants that needed it, and there is always something that likes the weather.

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Many of our fruit trees are just starting to really produce, including the grape vine, and the cool weather doesn’t seem to have worried them. The plums have been fantastic this year, and I made a beautiful jelly yesterday from the Louisa plums which had fallen off the tree or cracked in the rain. The Satsuma plums have produced heavily and don’t seem to crack. They are delicious dried so we have had the driers running flat out. I’ve made verjuice with the grapes, and it’s lovely.

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The misty weather caught us out in a couple of shortcuts we thought we could get away with in our frantic haste this spring. One was to to plant an early Agria potato crop using potatoes left from last year, the other was to re-use last year’s tomato frames without moving them. All spring and early summer we had lots of yummy chips, but a couple weeks ago the potatoes all got blight and had to be dug up, including the Red Fantasy (strange name but a beautiful potato) which could have produced more.

Everything is late, with our first pick of enough tomatoes for sauce only 2 weeks ago, and chillies and peppers just starting to flower. The tomatoes are showing signs of blight, but if we can only have a stretch of warm dryish weather we can still get a crop I think. The parsnips are only small still, however they can last well into winter.

Kumara and Zucchini are doing well, and the watermelons in the greenhouse are getting good sized melons, but our most successful crop this year has been micro/mini greens. We started growing these in the greenhouse in raised beds last Autumn , and it worked so well that we built some more outside. In the photo you can see a newly planted bed and an older one.

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We have had fabulous salads all summer with baby amaranth, radish, beetroot, chicory, lettuce, basil, corn salad, coriander, mustard, sorrel, purple cabbage, and pea ‘feathers’. It would be nice to cut them every day, but a big container full lasts all week if kept in the fridge. It does use a lot of seed, so I have been rescuing some of the mini greens when they are finished harvesting and growing them on for seed. This looks a bit messy in the garden, and I have to fight the birds for the brassica seeds, but I have been successful so far with mustard, cabbage, radish, coriander, ruby chard, and beetroot.

 

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9 thoughts on “Cool Summer

  1. Wow, your summer does seem bad; I was wondering why you hadn’t posted for a while. I also find the salad leaves crops my most useful. I grow them all winter in the greenhouse but I discovered almost by chance this winter that some varieties of lettuce will survive outside (even with minus 8°C temperatures over a prolonged period); my problem is how to keep them growing though our hot summer. I need to create a raised shaded bed i think. I bought a plastic coldframe for its frame so I can cover it with shade netting.

  2. I have been busy, but I’ve also changed the way I’m taking photos, and it’s meaning I run out of time to finish any, so I haven’t posted.
    Shade netting sounds like a good idea – I have had lettuce self seeding in the shade in hotter summers. I was going to use the plastic tubes to support netting but haven’t needed it. I thought the birds might eat the seeds. They are just for irrigation at the moment. We found that quite a few things will grow well to micro and mini green stage even in the heat of the greenhouse – basil, amaranth, chicory, and the brassicas – Radish and purple cabbage seedlings are delicious, and beetroot is amazing – fabulous as a mini green and you can leave it to grow or transplant elsewhere to get roots or seeds. I have gathered a huge amount of ruby chard seeds and I think these may be good outside in winter.

  3. Your garden is really busy. I’d love to be able to dry some fruit but our climate is too humid even though we get little rain in the summer. There is only so much jam the two of us can eat. Amelia

    1. I think I could eat a lot of jam but it would need to go on a lot of toast… I have been having the jelly with meat instead. 🙂 it’s very humid here too – we use electric driers and put the dried fruit straight into a jar while warm.

      1. I find my bramble and also my quince jelly very good with meat and also cheese. We can get all sorts of very good bread here, so with homemade jam to go with it…

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