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August turns to September

The time for autumn harvest is here as we come to the end of the productive garden season. The rains have arrived too which will boost the runner beans crop and soften the soil to make harvesting the parsnips possible. For some reason our crop of French beans was ENORMOUS this year. We’ve had 3 or 4 good pickings and given buckets away to neighbours. We are still harvesting the runner beans as well as tomatoes, plums and apples.

Sadly the brassicas have taken a fairly big hit from the white butterflies - very persistent they have been, despite netting and occasional caterpillar removals.

The kalettes just never stopped growing - almost 6 feet high, so very difficult to protect as even my fleece would not cover them after they lifted up the netted cages.

As always after harvesting we dig out any perennial weeds that may have found their way among the crop and then rake off the annuals and rotavate. The “clean” bare soil will soon sprout a mass of annual weeds which will cover the ground until we come to spread compost after Christmas.

Harvest time is always a busy time. You have to harvest when things are ready - they won’t stay in perfect condition if you leave them. This is when helpers are useful - people who are happy to spend a couple of hours bent over picking beans for example. But when you get the crop home you will have another couple of hours work on many a late eventing, chopping, sorting, blanching and getting the crops ready to bag up for the deep freeze.

Long days indeed but very satisfying when you think how nice the crop will taste in the middle of dark winter. This is especially true for the wonderful plum harvest where we’ve already more than 20 bags in the freezer and at least as much still to come.


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