How is the year now half over? Wasn’t it February last week?
Time really is flying by, along with more than a few of my crops. The broad beans were dug up a few weeks ago to make room for the much-anticipated New Zealand yams and the strawberries are long gone. Much like when you are at the pub on a school night, the first few to head home at a sensible hour trigger a mass exodus very soon after.
Now the peas have decided to call it a night. This year I grew four varieties on a selection of rather rickety structures. My two tall peas, Champion of England and Lord Leicester were on a bamboo structure with chicken wire to give the tendrils something to grip onto. The structure held up pretty well for a while, until some rather unseasonably strong June winds blew it nearly horizontal. Then the hot weather finished it off. Still, a decent harvest was had. I’ve saved some Champions for next year, but the Lords will be abolished I’m afraid, as I found them a little on the starchy side.
In addition I grew Early Onwards — a dwarf variety that as the name suggests, crop early in the season. I made a little cats cradle-like structure to support them. Lily the cat from next door had a bit of a go at said cradle, but it did its job. The yield wasn’t great, even considering the low bar set for peas compared to other legumes, but they were quite tasty. My last pea was a mangetout, Oregon Sugar Pod. They were producing nicely and, before I ignored harvesting them during the recent heatwave, they were quite tasty! They swelled up way too much, but I’m now claiming that that was on purpose, to save seed for next year…
The rhubarb is slumped over in the corner. Obviously it cannot handle its drink the heat. While one plant looks to be ok, one is looking quite sad indeed and the third is really suffering. I’m
not sure that this bodes well. They were perhaps planted too close to the raspberries and maybe the competition is not good for them. They are now two and a half years old, so perhaps they could handle being moved to roomier accommodation in Zone 2 or 3 this winter. But, would that longer train journey mean that they would leave the pub even earlier? We shall see!
The lettuces were the next crop to make a run for the tube. Back in early spring they were the envy of the allotment. Now a combination of heat, too much direct sunlight and lack of rain has caused them to bolt. The pyramids look interesting, but the leaves are tough and bitter. Replacements have been sown, which will hopefully show a bit more commitment to a decent night out.
Finally, the raspberries. The Enabler really likes raspberries, so we put in 24 canes. That is a lot of canes. 12 are summer varieties, 6 are an early variety and 6 are an autumn variety that I failed to prune them properly and hence came really, really early. In any case, even though we couldn’t pick them fast enough, so far we’ve made 12 pots of jam there is another 3 kilos in the freezer to be dealt with later and I should have lost half a stone given all the raspberry ketones consumed. For now though, the raspberries are calling it a night. The autumn variety might get a second wind, as the new canes are pushing through with new berries in sight, but they may be a little tired. Perhaps a side dressing of red bull might be in order?