Nights are drawing in. Yep, it’s all down hill now. The gardens look like it’s August, with scorched grass and parched borders, but we are at least getting some lovely sunsets. The one shown above was taken last evening, looking across the Stour valley from our garden. Soon after the photo was taken, in the western sky before it’s properly dark, a bright star appeared (and does so every night), but it’s not a star it’s a planet, it’s Venus. If you get a chance take a look, it’s really bright, and it’s the first thing on display in the night sky at the moment. We are really lucky with the outlook from our garden; being on top of a hill we have a huge sky and uninterrupted views….but also our fair share of wind.

I’m already fed up with watering. It’s a tedious job, and feels like such a waste of time, but not much will survive without it. With such an amazing weather forecast for the next couple of weeks, I am really concerned about how I am going to keep everything growing. I love proper summer conditions, they evoke memories of childhood summers when the sun shone all day every day, in an East Anglian version of a rural idyll not unlike that depicted in ‘Cider with Rosie’, but it’s funny how the memory plays tricks on you, filtering out the cool wet days being cooped up indoors bickering with siblings and drawing frequent threats of “I’ll give you the back of hand” from my frazzled mother. It’s funny how it always seemed to be me that was in the firing line, but I have to admit to being something of an agitator, frequently winding up…..well everyone really. I think that I was probably just misunderstood. Yes, so stunning summers are great for picnics, frolicking on the beach, alfresco dining, camping, garden parties and various other social occasions, but when you are managing a market garden you prefer a more typical English summer with more of a balance of sunshine and showers than looks likely in the foreseeable future; but I’m being selfish, let’s all make the most of it.

Jam tomorrow refers to the current state of vegetable availability. Some things are getting tantalisingly close to being abundant – the first aubergines will be ready to cut by the end of the week, and a few tomatoes are beginning to ripen, but there aren’t enough of either for me to add them to the ‘shop’. The early¬† broad beans have finished, and the spring sown ones will not be ready to pick until next week. The dry weather has put a halt to harvesting new potatoes in Cornwall, so the only ones I have are what were left from last week, so they are in very limited supply. Carrots are hard to come by, but I am hopeful of getting hold of some bunched new ones from The Brecklands, but won’t know until tomorrow if they really will be available, however, I will add them to the shop, but they will have a question mark over them. I will be cutting some short cucumbers from the greenhouse, but they will be very limited in terms of numbers, so they will be supplied on a first come first served basis, and I will have to limit them to one per order for this week. I am hoping to have enough courgettes to go round, there is broccoli, chard and pointed cabbage. There are red oakleaf lettuces, red little gems, and red round lettuces…..provided they don’t bolt in the heat. There are onions and mushrooms, but not very much else. Things should pick up in the next week or two, so hang in there a bit longer.

Last week I mentioned that I was lucky not to suffer with seasonal allergies, but I spoke too soon, because my nose has been driving me nuts since writing that, it’s very uncomfortable, and I can’t leave it alone. Tomorrow I am at the orthopaedic clinic for a follow-up appointment for my knees; I am still unable to crouch, but I am fine kneeling, so generally I am quite pleased with how they have been.

The horseflies have zapped me more times than I have zapped them, but in the past couple of days another nuisance has arrived on the scene in the form of pollen beetles. The pesky little things are really annoying, swarming around you if you happen to be wearing anything green or yellow, which they appear to be particularly attracted to, so those coloured t-shirts will remain in their drawer until they disappear. The courgette flowers are smothered in the tiny black creatures.

Have fun in the sun, but take care, the rays are very strong at the moment.

Phil

 

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