Wet Wet Wet

Well we have had some nice sunny weather in May & June, so I can’t really complain; although we do seem to have an establishes pattern now of hot and dry early summer, followed by cooler and wetter late summers. This is all fine if you can get all your irrigation sorted for the first part of the season, and have all the ground prepared for when you can’t get on it later on. However, it’s rather a pain when it comes to clearing early summer crops and trying to put early autumn produce in: also for getting on top of the weeds, as the buggers keep rerooting and reseeding, and if we spend too long weeding in the wet, we’ll trash the ground. Hey ho, and hurrah for polytunnels…

Meanwhile the crops are actually doing very well; as well as some lovely sunflowers, zinnias, gypsophilia and cornflowers, we’re now picking salads, fennel, courgettes, chard, spinach, kales and perennial herbs outside, as well as tomatoes, climbing beans, basils (check out our gorgeous Thai basil photo!), coriander, chillies, peppers and cucumbers inside. The cucumbers were almost a disaster following the destruction of the first lot by woodlice, but fortunately we’d sown a back-up second lot, and then quickly sowed a third lot too, so they are just a bit behind but catching up now.

At least the rain means time for catching up on paperwork, and blog posts!

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Thursday Fluff

IMG_20151007_104616The last few weeks certainly have been bountiful, so I’m just taking a moment to revel in the amount of produce on offer at this time of year: all the summer crops are still producing, and the autumn/winter crops are also getting going (I’m not even looking under the parsnip net until there’s been a frost next month though). So alongside tomatoes, chillies, courgettes, spring onions and peppers, I’ve got fennel, kale, PSB, pumpkins, squash (Crown Prince, Butternut, Uchiki Kuri, Black Futsu), leeks, turnips… plus the herbs (parsley, chives, coriander, dill, garlic chives, lovage, sage…).

What’s really lovely though is the flowers: during the busy summer, they provide a brief moment of colour while you’re working, but you don’t really have time to stop & smell the roses (I don’t have any roses, so more like calendula). Now things are starting to slow down growth-wise, you can enjoy the nasturtiums that will keep flowering until the first proper frosts, scented herbs, vobrant borage, bright shungiko and of course the sunflowers, which are brightening up the field by the polytunnels. I’ve mostly grown Ruby Eclipse this year, and they are gorgeous: a real vintage-feel, with a pinky red heart turning to pale gold outer petals. Hartley Farm florists Young Blooms are using some in their beautiful bouquets at the moment, and they really complement the mixtures. Gorgeous. Still, I can’t stop and stare too long: there’s all that veg to pick…

Pretty July

It’s been a manic June weeding weeding planting weeding weeding weeding; so a moment to pause & enjoy the flowers which look fab just now (and not just the edible ones either, such as herbs, nasturtiums and shungiko which are going in the salad bags). In particular I’d like to celebrate:

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Cornflower Black Ball

 

 

 

 

 

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Gypsophila Rosa

 

 

 

 

 

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Random poppy which has popped up in the compost heap

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Green manure Phacelia, beloved by bees, creating a wildlife superhighway in the field