Summer harvest

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I’ve never had such a great crop of peas!  Of course I’ll never be able to repeat this, since my gardening isn’t scientific enough for me to know what made the difference.  I thought I’d sown far too many peas, far too close together, but maybe that’s the secret.  They may be leaning dangerously, but they’re growing and producing beautifully:

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(My photography is at least as imperfect as my gardening – sorry!)  I was podding peas while watching Glastonbury on the television this afternoon and the peas proved irresistible to some of the neighbourhood children who’d somehow appeared in our living room.  (One of the children was mine, I hasten to add!)

We’ve had a lot more sun to go with our share of summer rain recently, so I reckon we’ve just had the right combination of weather and I can’t take credit for my crop at all.

The strawberries are doing well too, apart from the ones I optimistically planted under the apple trees in a narrow, dry bit of land by the back fence.  I knew it was a bad idea at the time but (usual story) I’d run out of space.  And the blackcurrants are a good size, though I’m now stumped as to what to do with them.  Not enough for ice cream or cordial.  Can you make a blackcurrant crumble??

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I’ve been a bit disappointed with the beans.  As with the peas, I put in far too many, but in this instance it seems just as well because a fair few failed to come up at all.  Then another good proportion was eaten by something unidentified (but probably of a slug-ish nature).  Then those which had come up sat, sulkily, seemingly waiting for me to apologise for their poor start in life.  Now, as you can see, they’re finally beginning to climb up their poles.  We’ll see whether they come out of their sulk far enough to actually produce any beans.

Finally, no photo but this is the thing which finally says that summer has arrived (apart from the pouring rain of course – this is England, after all): courgettes.  The courgettes have begun.  At the moment we are still savouring their delicacy, their smallness, their novelty value.  I’m sure the cursing of the boat-sized marrows and the obsessive searching for courgette recipes is only a week or two away!


Someone else’s garden

Someone else’s garden is so much more restful than one’s own.

(Not just because it’s tidier and more perfect.)

The weeds are someone else’s problem.

The pests are someone else’s problem.

The harvesting and the cutting and the pruning and the mowing are someone else’s problem.

I see the beauty and not the list of jobs that need doing.

It’s good to visit someone else’s garden.  But, imperfect or not, it will be good to get back to my own and get my hands back into the soil.


The best thing to do if you’re an imperfect gardener is to team up with another.

That way, when you kill all of your brassica seedlings with kindness (even the final survivor succumbed to overwatering in the end), you may find that someone else has plenty of spare pak choi and broccoli, but has produced inexplicably feeble and stunted tomato plants while you have enough plants to grow tomatoes for the whole street. (Thanks for the swop, Mum!)

‘Swopsies’ should never be restricted to the playground. If you find another imperfect gardener who is also generous, nurture them as you would a delicate seedling. You never know when you might need to swop plants or dump share excess produce. Just don’t expect them to want to share your courgette mountain!