I started writing this post sat at our new garden table, enjoying the glorious sunny July weather. I’m finishing it off to the sound of rain falling on some very grateful vegetables. This month, our little kitchen garden has really come to life. Butterflies flit among the plants, and there is a gentle hum of bees as they go about their business. Things are going well.
That’s not to say everything has gone without a hitch. We’re a little behind this year compared with last year. Last July, we were enjoying the first carrots and beetroots already, but they are a little while from being ready to eat at the moment. Thanks to us seriously increasing the variety of vegetables we’re growing this year, we’re inevitably a little behind overall. But despite the root veg being a little later to develop, we have already been harvesting salad leaves, radishes, strawberries, chard, peas and our first potatoes! Onions and shallots are drying out to be plaited, and I’m happily cooking with homegrown garlic and chillies.
On top of all of this, green tomatoes are forming on our plants, much earlier than last year. We’ve planted 3 different varieties: Tigerella, Gardener’s Delight and Sweet Million cherry tomatoes. The largest at the moment are the Tigerella ones, and I can’t wait to see them turning red. Sweet peas are already adding little bursts of deep red-pink to the garden, along with corn poppies and cornflowers in my wildflower area.
New this year are brassicas: cabbages, brussels sprouts and early purple broccoli for next spring are growing well. I’m looking forward to having winter cabbages and brussels for Christmas! Sadly, we lost all of our cauliflowers when they all bolted thanks to the very hot weather. A note for the future: cauliflowers will be happier in a shadier spot!
It’s a strange thought, but as much as I am looking forward to harvesting all of our veg, I think I will miss their lush foliage when it is gone. The courgette plants look almost tropical, the leaves larger than my dinner plates. There will be a noticeable gap when these are gone. Because of this, I have already been thinking ahead to autumn and winter, and ways to fill the gaps between the cabbages and sprouts when the summer vegetables are gone. I have planted turnips which will hopefully mature in autumn, and will be planting next year’s garlic in October. All I need to do in the meantime, is keep up the successional planting of carrots while I work out how to fill the rest of the gaps.