Veg makes up lost time
A garden full of unusual plants and a big collection of fruit and vegetables in Alnwick, Northumberland.
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