Late summer on the plot

September 2 2017, 12.00pmUpdated: August 25 2017, 5.10pm
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Feeding flower tubs

Gardening this summer has become a task to plan ahead to avoid the thunder showers and if the sun is forecast to shine for a few hours we need to be outdoors to bring in the harvest.

Growth on everything (except my onions) has been phenomenal; fruit, vegetables, flowers and not forgetting weeds.

We try to plan crops to be available over as long a period as possible, but there is always a glut of something that we just cannot munch our way through or pack into the freezer.

Who needs seven large courgettes for two people, and it is hard to give them away as everyone else is in the same boat, and there will be a lot more next week.

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Aronia Viking the chokeberry

Mornings and afternoons are spent picking fruit and vegetables, and then evenings spent shelling peas, cutting up cauliflowers, cleaning beetroot, leeks and turnip.

Then the last of my early potato Casa Blanca got lifted, but had to be washed and dried before storing.

Autumn raspberries and strawberries as well as brambles and blueberries all need picking then sorting for immediate use and cool storage.

Perpetual strawberry Albion, may well provide large red fruit for a few more weeks but they are so hard that they are no great pleasure.

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Leeks growing strongly

They will get discarded soon. Another of my new strawberries I thought I would try was Colossus, as the catalogue description was wonderful.

However these strawberries were not as big as any others and berries were not very prolific so again another one for the compost heap.

There is still plenty of rhubarb available as it has never stopped growing.

Aronia Viking, the chokeberry got picked then weighed for freezing after I got my 7 pounds for wine making, but then I had to crush every berry in a fermentation bucket, a job taking me all evening, but I am looking forward to sampling this healthy red wine (packed full of antioxidants) in a couple of year’s time.

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John turning over the compost heap

I can recall many days in youthful employment when I worked a twelve hour day as well as weekend shifts, and now I am beyond retirement the work continues, but there is no payment of time and a half with double time at weekends, and you can forget time off in lieu or flexitime.

My fig Brown Turkey yet again has been providing heavy crops of figs, sometimes ten or more at a time, but Anna is sorting out ways to preserve these for future use.

Anna was thinning out a row of beetroot to use as baby beet, but growth was so good they all looked like mature roots.

Our leeks have also grown well so some of these are being used, though we normally keep these as a winter vegetable.

Another winter vegetable now in use is our kale. I grow the normal dwarf green, but thought I would try the red-leaved Curly Scarlet.

It grows just fine but is quite tough with poor flavour.

Harvesting Dwarf French beans has not been a difficult task this year, as they have yet to produce beans. This is not their best summer.

In the greenhouse tomatoes are cropping heavily, and my hot pepper De Cayenne turned red so we tried some out to see just how hot it was.

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Another good year for figs

The Scots are no wimps so I chomped away at the red pointed end. Nae bother, whats all the fuss about, but Anna nibbled at a wee bit of pith and ran quickly to the sink for a glass of water. So that’s where the heat comes from!!!

However to get a break from all the harvesting and processing I decided I would get back to the land and give my compost heap its first turn over.

The heap has been building up fast with spent kitchen waste, weeds, grass clippings, spent peas and beans, rhubarb leaves, and is now three feet high.

If you want a bit of really good exercise, get a compost heap. I think this is where our success with crops comes from as the plot gets compost dug in or mulched every year.

Wee jobs to do this week

 Tubs and hanging baskets have suffered in the wet summer as some bedding plants need warm dry weather to grow and flower, so all my petunias have rotted away and the slugs have had a feast on my French marigolds, though I keep scattering some pellets around.

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Anna lifting beetroot and leeks

Geraniums have been outstanding and my tuberous begonias just love this global warming, but to keep their strength up and continue to flower give a liquid feed every fortnight, and keep dead heading old flowers.

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