Productive Land: August

Still no chickens, and still raining a lot, but we got some lovely food from the garden…

August was cool and wet, which really knocked the wind out of the growing season. We ended up with a lot of leggy plants with limited end product, and a whole load of split tomatoes. Still, it wasn’t all bad news. We had plenty of tomatoes – sweet cherries for salads, larger softer tasting specimens for sauces, and some unsubtle beefsteaks for slicing. The runner beans came through with a vengeance too, giving us a couple of portions perhaps twice a week – about as flavoursome as runner beans get and not too stringy.

Beans by night

Another star performer – perhaps the best so far, actually – was the rocket. Bowls and bowls of wonderful, peppery rocket. There were a few other salad leaves too, but the abiding memory of the August crop will be some feisty little leaves standing up well to parmesan and steak, as a base for a tomato salad, or simply as an addition to a sandwich. The rain meant the salad just kept coming. The leeks and beetroot also enjoyed the wet weather, while the white and red onions seemed to hit a bit of a wall; we did, though, get a few spring onions.

Spring onions

We had to harvest the pumpkin a good month early. The windward side of it had become riddled with soft flesh and mould, and creatures seemed to be burrowing in. To save the rest, I cut it down and sliced off the offending third or so, leaving a couple of nights’ worth of delicious – if somewhat tangy (due to under-ripeness) – roast pumpkin. The key part of the pumpkin story was the slight furore it caused with one of the community groups who use the community centre at the library. I was hanging out the washing and heard “the pumpkin has GONE!” and “they took away the PUMPKIN! I was WATCHING that every day!” I hadn’t realised we’d been entertaining the locals, who would now have to put up with the far less impressive sight of slowly ripening tomatoes…

Pumpkin! Very early pumpkin...

On the chicken front, we felt that the noise and disruption the decking construction and kitchen refit would cause meant a slight delay was for the best. Enough should have been done in the next few days to go and fetch the pair of Speckled Sussexes though!

So here was the garden at the end of August. The chicken coop roof in the bottom left with the woodpile hinting at the upheaval going on out of shot: earthworks for the decking, all sorts of other works for the new kitchen.

Published in: on September 15, 2011 at 8:01 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. I wonder if the people of the community centre thought the pumpkin was going to turn into a coach. Still, bit early for pantomime season!

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