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The summer is in full bloom in our garden so I thought I’d write an update and post a few pictures to share what is going on in our little garden these days.
The end of July and start of August is always a bit of a tricky time in our garden, we did not have a proper shower of rain through most of July until a couple of days ago when it poured down. As we are situated on chalky, fast draining soil this means that things have suffered a bit. We do not like to water our garden too much as it is a waste of water in general, so we were very happy when the skies suddenly opened.
Another problem at this time of year is that much of the early spring flowers and vegetables are starting to fade. The vibrant colours we had early in the summer are now gone and we’ve been planning hard to avoid the bleak august we had last year. We have managed to create a blooming oasis this year by planting a lot of dahlias and lilies which are really getting into their stride right now. Here’s how we make sure our late summer garden stays crisp and colourful on top of feeding us.
The dahlias in particular have been a lovely project as we harvested the seeds from our 3 plants last year and sowed them in February.
Some of the colours and varieties we got out of the seeds are rather amazing, I think we might even have one that is totally unique to our garden!
My favourite ones are the dark purple, red and pink hued ones this year. I wonder what the seeds of these will turn into next year. I will make sure to collect some of them.
On the vegetable front our zucchini, marrows and pumpkins are growing what feels like 20 cm a night, we cannot eat them fast enough before they get too large so we donate some to our neighbours. I will be posting about zucchini fritters and quick zucchini pickles in the coming days which is a great way to use your zucchinis if you have the same problem as I do.
The lavender and buddleja are full of bees and bumblebees and we’ve found another bumblebee hive just outside our garden.
We’re positively thrilled that we are doing our bit in ensuring that the pollinators have enough food to be happy. I wrote a post here about how you can do the same, it is very simple really. The lavender in particular gives us a lot of joy as it smells wonderful and we use it to get some of that lovely fragrance into our rooms and closets.
Our onions are almost ready to be harvested – as you can see they are getting quite large and I can’t wait to make my onion pies out of them in the fall. Our leafy kale and collard are doing better again after we had some sort of small beetle attack early in July, we found that shaking the plants well a couple of times a day really does the world of difference. We also attached an eco friendly glue band around each stem to avoid the beetles climbing up to the plants again.
Some of the more exotic plants in our garden are really enjoying the summer. Our yacon is getting so large that it is covering up our compost bin (yay!) and our papaya and lemon both have large fruits that are getting closer and closer to harvest time.
The cucamelon (yeah, you heard that right) is turning out to be a fiesty little plant which is much harder than it’s cousin the cucumber. I have yet to harvest my first fruit – but I was told that it tastes like a mix between lime and cucumber. I’ll make a new post on this when I have a quantity worth cooking with.
The tomatos have totally taken over this year, they are turning the right side of our patio into a jungle. I think we might get something close to 10 kg of tomatoes in total from only 4 bushes – all blight resistant types that should hopefully survive any attack.
As for moving ahead we have sown Asian varieties of kale, mizuna, bak choi and collard greens as they love the humid, warm temperatures of autumn and won’t bolt like most Western varieties of greens in autumn. The mizuna in particular is one of my favourites – it tastes like a mix between mustard and rucola.