Gardening at its most lush: August 2017

First sunflower of 2017 opens

There is something particularly lush about this time of year.  Its harvest time, so croppable plants planted in spring are either ready to pick or nearly there.  All the autumn annuals and perennials are getting ready to shine - sunflowers, Chinese lanterns, autumn asters.  I try to have something in bloom during every season so I'm really excited for the show of Autumn colour this year.  The two Chinese lantern plants I planted last Spring don't seem to be doing very much yet, but the sunflowers and asters should bring a burst of gold and purple to the garden.

Cabbage ready to harvest

Homemade sauerkraut

I have an incredible cabbage harvest this year which is possibly, partially, due to my starting to use nematodes for slugs.  In previous years the slugs have wiped out most of the young cabbage plants.  I've so much cabbage that I'm having a go at making my own sauerkraut and kimchi.  My hope is to be able to use food from the garden as much as possible in our day-to-day living.  Fingers crossed they turn out!  I'm hoping to do something with the courgette surplus as well.  I dream of a line of glass jars all with preserved veg in them lasting us into Winter.

Courgettes just coming into season

Courgette plant, hopefully a big producer

The courgettes are just coming into their own and I'm very hopeful as I've two in the back garden that are looking to be massive producers.  Courgettes can produce up to forty vegetables per plant so you definitely want to have an idea of what to do with all the surplus.

Fresh garden peas

The peas have been magnificent this year.  Every day for the past two weeks we've been grabbing a handful as a snack.  I will miss them when they're gone.  There is nothing as deliciously fresh as peas picked straight off the plant and straight out of the pod.

Sweetcorn in foreground with sunflowers behind 

The sweet corn has also done really well this year.  My plants don't tend to grow very high as its quite windy in my front garden but having a row of sunflowers behind them helps to shelter them a bit.  I've three sweet corn plants that are ready to cross pollinate and two more coming up so if all of those produce two ears each, we can look forward to some delicious grilled corn in October.

Homemade rosemary & sea salt bread fresh out of the oven, still in cloche 

Homemade rosemary & sea salt bread from sourdough starter

We were travelling a good bit in the Spring and early Summer and I let the sourdough starter I cultivate go but have now started one again.  I'll say this - if you want to begin a sourdough starter, August is definitely the time to do it.  I've never had one get off to such a great start and get so stinky (that's good!) so fast.  The bread its producing is of a very high quality as well.  If you're keen to make your own homemade bread from sourdough starter, I would definitely recommend getting a cloche.  I've had a great experience with mine, the crust it produces is gorgeous.

Lavender and catmint harvest

Fresh bouquet of lavender, mint and marjoram (back to front)

I harvested some lavender, marjoram, mint and catmint at the beginning of the month and have made quite a few bouquets for drying and for gifts.  The smell, even a couple weeks later, is gorgeous.

Apple tree 1 

Apple tree 2 (top, with crocosmia at bottom)

The apple trees this year are producing fruit the size of which I've never seen before.  I guess I shouldn't really be surprised as this is only their third year in the ground and they should continue to go from strength to strength.  I have noticed some pest infiltration but I don't mind as long as its not a majority of the fruit.  I'm perfectly happy to share some of the harvest.

That's it! I'm off to buy some root vegetables to add to our cabbage for homemade kimchi and then baking some homemade bread.  What they say is true: once you get used to having your own homemade bread its very hard to go back to store bought.

Good gardening wishes!


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