The feast of July

Cotswold Life - - GARDEN MASTERCLASS - Gar­dener and broad­caster Toby Buck­land de­liv­ers his ex­pert ad­vice

For an epi­curean – and a gar­dener – like my­self, July is filled with ed­i­ble de­lights. There’s the first earthy pota­toes and plump toma­toes, and a feast of fresh fruit to gather. Strings of black, red and white cur­rants to swelling goose­ber­ries beg­ging to be plucked from amongst the prickly branches. Sweet­est of all are the straw­ber­ries. I think they’re at their best sun-warmed straight from the plant, but if you must share, try chop­ping and sprin­kling with bal­samic vine­gar, add a ta­ble­spoon of honey and serve with Greek yo­ghurt topped with chopped mint. It’s al­most as good!

Mint, like other soft-leaved herbs in­clud­ing chervil, pars­ley and dill, is at its peak now and is happy even in a pot. So, no mat­ter how big or mod­est your plot in July you re­ally can have your gar­den and eat it! The es­sen­tial oils that give herbs their aroma and flavour are at their most con­cen­trated in the morn­ing of warm and sunny days. Their flavour is also best when used with­out wash­ing, straight from the gar­den. Mulch Mediter­ranean woody herbs like rose­mary and sage with grit to re­flect light and heat onto the leaves. The stones also pre­vent rain splash­ing soil onto their leaves. Some soft herbs like mint and lemon balm will take over if not cor­ralled. So in­stead of plant­ing straight into the earth fill a ter­ra­cotta pot with soil and sink up to its rim in the earth and plant the herbs in­side. Mois­ture from the sur­round­ing soil will per­me­ate the pot, but the roots won’t be able to es­cape. That said, do wa­ter if it’s very hot and dry un­til the plants are es­tab­lished.

Har­vest­ing Pars­ley

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.