Friday, July 08, 2011

Review of the vegetable garden in July

On a cool summer's morning, before the heat of the day sets in and whilst the song birds are in the last throws of their dawn chorus, there is nothing more uplifting than strolling down to the vegetable garden to harvest fresh vegetables and salad crops in preparation for lunch, dinner and the pantry. It always amazes me to see how fast the courgettes swell, how spontaneous the beans appear and how quickly fresh green tomatoes start to blush.

Songs at dawn

July is the beginning of a time of plenty for us here at La Pasera. Our season is slightly earlier than in the UK and with lots of help from mother nature, Luis' planning and planting over the past few months is clearly producing results. The onions are performing well with large swollen bulbs protruding above the soil with their fresh green leaves just beginning to show signs of fatigue. Our summer, early onions have been cropping for a few weeks now and it won't be too long before we think about harvesting the main crop of red and white, in preparation for drying and storing to last over winter, 400 in total. The first crop of beetroot is slowly diminishing as we pick and eat sweet and tender young beets almost on a daily basis. No worries there though, as two further plantings are right behind and will ensure plenty for the coming months.

Summer onions, french beans and marrow

The peppers, aubergines, sweetcorn, leeks and squash are growing well and weekly inspections for black fly, aphid infestation or mildew ensures they remain healthy and at the first sign of attack, treated with our home-made organic remedies. The marrow, cucumbers, beans and tomatoes need attention on a regular basis to help their fruits ripen and swell in the best possible conditions. This requires staking, training or tying the plants, harvesting young fruits to encourage further production and watering at regular intervals, if necessary, to avoid undue stress on the plants.

Ripe and sweet

Lettuce and rocket continue to provide enough leaves for a daily salad and as the chives come to an end, the basil is beginning to grow with its shiny, bright green leaves and pungent aroma.

Bumper harvest 

The soft fruits have done reasonably well this year and we managed a great cop of red gooseberries - already processed into mustard seed and gooseberry pickle and a yummy gooseberry crumble. The day to day work of growing our own food continues with preparations already underway for autumn and winters crops, something we'll cover in the next post so why not subscribe by email to ensure you receive notification of updates.

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