It always happens. Every single year, about this time and no matter what I do or how I plan, the garden gets away from me. I know why, of course.
There’s this sort of thing around:
I can never resist wild food in such abundance (wildish food – the trees these came from are just outside the garden of some friends of mine in the next village). Last year – I think, it’s all a blur – we managed to pick 21 kilos without going anywhere near a ladder. I got 15 kilos this year without, too. There’s only one disadvantage to the eirin bach as a useful food crop – the speed with which they go off. You have to work fast and be prepared to deal with them almost as soon as you pick them, or at least I do. If I wait longer than a day, they start going mushy, developing brown spots and growing fur.
Jam. Lots of jam. Jam with a good slug of sloe gin in it, too. Just as well I save jars all through the year, especially as the chutney season hasn’t even started.
And I even grew some plums of my very own this year – well, Victorias:
A first for the tree, which is now looking decidedly stunned by the experience. In its first year I had four plums; last year I had two. This year it looked promising early on but I thought most would go in the summer drop. Er, no. I weighed 5 kilos for jam, but there have been more than that, though I had to race the wasps for the last few. And they taste good.
As if to compensate me for the Great Potato Blight of West Wales Incident earlier in the year, I’ve got loads of onions. The shallots came first, with a respectable crop picked in a relaxed and leisurely way on a lovely day,
then spread out to dry in the sun for several more days,
And plaited up into strings for storage.
And then the weather became much more changeable, and it was a few days before I could contemplate the onions. (It’s been a funny season; nothing has quite been ready when it ‘should’ be, and normally the shallots would have been well out of the way before I even thought about onions.) When I could get out in the veg patch again without a kagoul, wellies and an umbrella, quite a few of the onions had decided to grow flower spikes and some had gone the other way and rotted. So out they came; no waiting for them to go yellow and lie flat – though some were, of course, doing just that. Nothing has been predictable.
But a great crop, nevertheless:
Over a few days, I think they had enough sun. Sort of. Well, I plaited them up anyway,
because I’m lucky enough to have the ideal place to put them. When we were working on the house, I asked one of my friends to put a rod across the space where the boiler was (there had previously been a malfunctioning oil-burning stove in the space, but I had that out and constructed a shelf for my casseroles). I’d intended to use it for herbs, but it’s ideal for me halliums.
Quite a few of which have already been eaten.
As have the tomatoes, but they’re never ending. Admittedly some of the foliage is yellowing, and the rate of production of new fruit has slowed right down but, boy, are they fantastic.
Such a relief – I was beginning to doubt my tomato credentials after last year. Mind you, I think it’s time I bought some new seed. These are supposedly Black Russians, ahem, which were next to some Costuleto Fiorentinos when I saved the seed. Yersss.
Two of the other alleged Black Russians are equally bizarre crosses, except they are producing pink fruit. All right, they’re more bizarre. They’re ripe, they taste good, but they’re pink – though it doesn’t matter at all when they’re transformed into ratatouille or roast tomato passata:
My toms, my shallots, my garlic, my basil, but bought olive oil. Oh well, you can’t have everything…
And now the beetroot’s starting.
Both freezers are almost full. Maybe I can lay my hands on another. Not that I’m complaining, you understand, garden gods – no way. I’m just running out of space. And time. Again.