Eating the garden

It’s been so miserably wet this summer that I’ve not been as attentive to the garden as I should have been. The peach tree failed almost entirely – it produced one small, green fruit, more almond than peach. It was pruned last winter, so I was hoping for a good crop, and indeed it blossomed well this spring: unfortunately, it came into blossom just as the only snow of the winter arrived – in mid-April! Not surprisingly, the bees decided to stay at home rather than go pollinating.

The pear trees at the local fruit farm flowered at the same time – it was an extraordinary sight, the blossoming orchards lashed by blizzard – so I was surprised and not a little jealous to see them cropping so well this autumn. But pears are better suited to the climate. Even in the heatwave a couple of summers ago, the peaches were never quite ripe enough to be eaten, other than in chutney.

However, the garden has not been entirely barren. There are another couple of Jerusalem artichokes in the ground again for this winter; there were five pink fir apple potato plants, now finished, which only produced tiny tubers as the slugs had stripped the leaves and stunted their growth; the nasturtiums are still flowering and their leaves and petals continue to zing up my green salads; and once I finally got it going, the flat-leafed parsley has thrived (so I’m eating tabbouleh like anything).

I grew a couple of troughs of salad leaves, which were great until they bolted… I always wondered what rocket flowers looked like, and now I know.

salad leaves

salad leaves

I also grew some sorrel, as it’s not the sort of thing you find very often even at the Farmers’ Markets. It never cropped in great amounts (maybe I need to plant more next year), so sorrel soup never materialised, but again it went into green salads and all sorts of other dishes, where it added a gentle tang.

It’s hardly self-sufficiency, and pretty modest by anybody’s reckoning, but still very satisfying. I only wish I had time to do it properly, instead of struggling to squeeze it into scarce, spare hours and feeling oppressed by the weeds that I can only chase back every few weeks…

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~ by jobes on December 3, 2008.

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