Veg makes up lost time

A gar­den full of un­usual plants and a big col­lec­tion of fruit and veg­eta­bles in Al­nwick, Northum­ber­land.

Garden News (UK) - - Over The Fence - Tom Pat­tin­son

Far from be­ing late reach­ing ma­tu­rity as we feared, our sum­mer vegetable crops have made up for the cold spring start. None more so than the onions grown from seed, which were lifted, dried-off, and fi­nally stored last week. Only two with soft necks were dis­carded.

Pota­toes ‘Fore­most’ and ‘Casablanca’ have sim­i­larly been har­vested and stored to pre­vent slug dam­age. Win­ter bras­si­cas are grow­ing on nicely and ‘Mus­sel­burgh’ leeks, trans­planted from a nurs­ery bed re­cently, are stand­ing like sol­diers. It’s sat­is­fy­ing to have th­ese and other fresh win­ter treats un­der way.

We’ve just en­tered the fi­nal phase of our fruit crop­ping year and it started with de­li­cious ‘Vic­to­ria’ plums the last week in Au­gust. The tree is on a dwarf­ing Pixy root­stock and a mere young­ster of 30 years! Branches are drip­ping with fruit. ‘Dis­cov­ery’ is al­ways the first ap­ple va­ri­ety to ripen, as a black­bird re­minded us re­cently. Had we left the bumper crop any longer, wasps would have also joined the feast!

‘James Grieve’ is also do­ing well but we de­cided against pick­ing it for culi­nary use now be­cause it’s so tasty straight from the tree in late Septem­ber. So we use ‘Lord Derby’ in a bram­ble and ap­ple pie. Its branches are en­twined with the thorn­less, cul­ti­vated black­berry ‘Loch Ness’. It al­ways ripens a month or so ahead of those in the sur­round­ing coun­try­side. How­ever, this time, when it be­gan of­fer­ing large fruits in mid Au­gust, wild bram­bles were be­ing picked along our lo­cal bri­dle­way. A re­flec­tion of the sea­son per­haps! Show judg­ing has al­ways im­pacted on my gar­den­ing time from Au­gust to Oc­to­ber but it’s en­joy­able, and of­fers a broad in­sight on how grow­ers across the spec­trum have coped. So far, the fruit and veg has been of good qual­ity.

Zap­ping weeds with hoe and hand, and keep­ing or­na­men­tal dis­plays go­ing via wa­ter­ing, feed­ing and dead­head­ing, have taken pri­or­ity of late. When Judy and I team up for a morn­ing or af­ter­noon of gar­den­ing, it’s amaz­ing what can be achieved!

Our black­berry ‘Loch Ness’ grows right through ap­ple ‘Lord Derby’

Th­ese cos­mos are still flow­er­ing well

A sur­prise show­ing of early cy­cla­men

The re­main­der of our tomato crop

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.