Potager Garden: July 2020

The sunshine of late July beckoned us to the woodlands and with it being such a busy month in the garden too, I am a little behind on my garden diary.

I signed off in June with the sight of our onion crop harvested and drying on the raised beds. Soon after, the garlic was gathered up, dried in the open air and plaited. I wove in little handles so that they could be hung up for storage.

Within days, the weather changed and lightning storms were forecast. We eagerly anticipated the rain’s arrival, which would bring an end to the stifling humidity of water-saturated air. Little speckled showers came and went.

Then, one evening, we saw the oncoming storm and headed to the fields to watch. I have never seen such a clear divide between a summer sky and the swirling mass of darkness across the horizon.

It rained for several days and as the dry ground was replenished, we watched our resident snail venture out for a daytime drink at the stream.

The garden itself, which had been on the cusp of a new harvest, suddenly burst into life.

Our first radish crop of the year was followed a few days later, by the season’s first lettuces.

The rhubarb was moved as part of the winter garden re-design and is thriving in its new placement by the stream. As tasty as it looks, I am letting the rhubarb have a year to settle before I start cropping again next year.

After just four weeks, the onion beds were full to bursting with broccoli, courgette and pumpkins plants, all pushing up against the protective bird netting. Last year our courgettes were destroyed by snails before they even grew their first full leaves. This year I kept the seedlings on my kitchen windowsill, then surrounded them with a copper mesh and gravel when I transplanted them into the raised beds. So far, so good.

A peek under the netting revealed newly formed pumpkin buds. It is amazing to think how quickly they will grow between now and October.

Just as we reached the start August, the hollyhocks burst into flower. The little trumpets that announce the height of summer.

The flurry of work is now done. August, for me, is the month of enjoying the garden, of long summer days that merge into beautiful evenings.

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Potager Garden: Strawberries, flowers and the slow-growing winter harvest

Today we are busy building another two raised beds, which will be just in time for quick-growing summer vegetables this year – but will provide us with lots more space for next year’s growing season.

The best news is that we have had our first strawberry harvest, and some are even making it from the garden to the kitchen … but not very many!

Last year I bought a little daisy plant at our village plant sale, which consisted of three tiny flowers on a single long stem.  My green-fingered friend confidently told me to give it lots of space as it would transform into an abundant plant this year, and she was not wrong!

We inherited four yukka plants when we moved here, and they have flourished in the current heatwave, producing long purple stems out of the centre, with exotic red buds.

When we came back from our holiday, the geraniums had spread across several feet of borders, and I’m going to go and release the lavender that is somewhere beneath them this afternoon.

Our mint seeds were very slow to germinate, but once established, they spread very quickly.  I’ve learnt from experience and confine mine to pots!  This hand-sown plant is only a few month’s old.

The courgettes were transplanted from pots in the kitchen to the new raised beds, in a sun-drenched position.  More and more flowers burst into life every day.

By gently pulling back the leaves, you can just make out the first few courgettes starting to grow.

Several of our cabbages are ready to be harvested – we are going to pick one for our dinner tomorrow night, and have another marked out for homemade slaw and stir fries later in the week.

Some plants prefer to take their time.  These parsnips have been growing since February.  Sweetened by many frosts, they are now in another new raised bed.  Once ready, we are planning to freeze them and keep them for Christmas.

Also for our winter feast, are the brussels sprouts.  These are growing by the garden wall, where their towering stems will be protected from high winds.

Looking closely, you can spot the tiny nodules of baby brussels, just starting to grow.

If you have any recipes for the above produce, please feel free to post a link in the comments, we would love to see them 🙂

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Commission Enquiries: tinypotager@hotmail.com