As we are writing this the rain is streaming down the window and when we look back at the month of August we realize that we have had many days like today recently.
Our tomatoes that started off so promising have succumbed to the damp and are blackened by blight. Next year we will try to grow them in our new conservatory or maybe if we are lucky our planned poly-tunnel.
The corn does not seem to have suffered at all from the wet weather and all the cobs are filling out nicely. Our runner beans are also doing well, along with the onions, carrots, ocas, artichokes and tomatillos.
We have been thinking about how to store our herbs, vegetables, berries and fruit in a practical environmental friendly way and recently we bought a dehydrator called Excalibur. So far we have harvested mint and sage witch dried out in a few hours, perfect for winter teas and seasonings. We have also made a few fruit leathers from gooseberries and black currants that turned out lovely albeit a bit sour. We solved this problem by spreading them with a layer of honey and rolling them up. After a couple of weeks in the fridge they are now a perfect taste sensation, rivalling any commercial sweet, and so much healthier. Keep an eye on this blog in the next few weeks when we are planning to write about fruit leathers in more detail.
It has been a great summer for all our trees and shrubs, most of which have only been planted two or three years. If you look at the pictures of the circle in August you can see that the garden are starting to blend into the surrounding country side, blurring the edges and filling in. It is exciting to be at a stage where we need to start cutting back some of our plants.
We have spent a lot of time this summer building our conservatory and spending time with family, and the garden looks overgrown. We are not worried though as all the trees and shrubs will get a double mulch of cardboard boxes and grass clippings over the autumn so that they can compete well with the couch grass, nettles and bindweed. Soon they will cast enough shade and create leaf mulch by themselves and our garden will gradually become a low maintenance productive forest garden. Our groundcovers of mint and oregano are spreading out well and preventing to much of the lesser wanted plants taking over. We do not strive to have a weed free garden; a lot of plants normally considered weeds are very beneficial to us and all the creatures we share our garden with. We just pull them out if they get too prolific and threaten to take over large areas.
We have not seen as many butterflies as we would have liked this year but thankfully we have many bumblebees and other pollinators enjoying the flowers in our garden. Hopefully September will be warm and sunny so they can buzz around for a while longer.