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July in the garden

Updated: Aug 17, 2022

Harvesting continues in the garden. All the black currants and gooseberries have been processed now – as always it's a much longer job than you expect (about 2 hours work for each black currant bush). It's a good feeling to have 30 or so bags of fruit in the deep freeze. There is still salad and a good crop of potatoes (mostly still to harvest as the blight seems to be late this year). Yesterday I harvested half of my basil crop (in the greenhouse) and made 8 jars of wonderful bright green pesto (now safely in the fridge). That was probably about 2 hours work and I was able to use some fine cloves of our own garlic this year (the garlic is ready now and has done well).


We are doing pretty well with peas this year – I am harvesting every 2 days. It's always a nice feeling hearing the distinctive squeak that the peas give out when you work on them (topping and tailing before blanching for the deep freeze). The runner beans have reached the tops of their strings now and the flowers are making a fine show. The french beans are also looking very bountiful this year – we have several different types.



On the fruit trees there are masses of apples (as always), a pretty good crop of plums (still another month before they are ripe) and the apricot tree is simply rampant. The apricots will be the first “top” fruit to harvest in a few days time – very exciting and rather exotic.



Our root crops are looking good so far – carrots, beetroot and the ever popular parsnips. It's time to harvest the onions and garlic – they'll need to dry out before we store.


I should also say a word about the espaliered fruit trees which are trained to spread out neatly on the big south and east facing walls. All these trees (plum, apple and apricot) are extremely vigorous – some sending out new growth 4 or 5 feet long. Every time I'm in the garden I take a few minutes to pinch out any new growth which is “going in the wrong direction”. You can do this with finger and thumb when the shoots are new. If you”stop” these unwanted shoots then the tree will put its energy (you hope) into extending shoots that will fit along the stainless steel wire supports already fixed on the wall. We do not want these trees to extend out more than about a foot from the wall. If you want to encourage a new shoot to grow to fill a gap on the wall then you can do this by simply making a small scrape to remove a piece of bark just above where you want a new shoot to appear. When the flow of sap is stopped this stimulates growth of a new bud.

In the orchard the walnut trees continue to grow “like crazy” - as do the plum and apple trees. Given the right sheltered conditions these trees will put out 3 or 4 feet of new growth – trees grow much more quickly than most people imagine but they need shelter and other trees around them.


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