Our garden is bearing fruit. Twenty-two fruit so far to be precise. We are right in the middle of the strawberry harvest from our original strawberry plants and it’s lovely to look out at them every morning and see a gleam of red hiding under the leaves. Sometimes it turns out that it’s the label from one of the plants with a big picture of gigantic luscious strawberries that frankly have yet to materialise on the plant in question, but it seems that despite abandoning them for a few years, and neglecting them off and on this year we have a lovely crop.
And there’s nothing like sneaking out into the garden for an early morning strawberry straight off the plant.
From the looks of things we will be harvesting small handfuls for another week, maybe a couple of weeks if we’re lucky and then they will be done for the year and it will be time to turn out attention to strawberry patch B.
This week I had the opportunity to compare and contrast our plants with their siblings, planted in the same week on my aunt’s farm, and actually watered in the first week of their acclimatisation rather than left to their fate while I went on holiday, and despite the occasional thirsty moment, my plants seem to be holding their own. They look about the right size so if all goes to plan our second crop should start at the beginning of August.
Whenever I think of harvest it always means September; Harvest Festivals, a field blushed golden with ripe corn, lots of “all is safely gathered in” and getting ready for the winter. But I think the Pocket Handkerchief Garden is having a July harvest this year. My Rainbow Chard is thriving now that both cats and birds have been kept at bay and I have lots of lovely baby leaves to go into a salad with the cut and come again lettuce in a pot on the edge of the patio, and over next to strawberry patch A, I’ve been watching my garlic and onions.
Kitty and I planted them on a chilly day in October, and all through the winter they grew and grew despite the weeds, the wind and the neighbour’s cat, and I think we might be nearly ready to pull some up. The onions are starting to loose their colour and the foliage is dropping, and I think I’m right in thinking that I need to wait until they are completely dropped which I think could be another week or two. The garlic on the other hand has definitely started to flop, and I think we might be nearly there. In looking around for some garden reading this week I came across Garden Betty who has some great posts on growing all sorts of veggies; her advice is to wait for half the leaves to have died off, but as some of my garlic only has three leaves I’m going to stop soaking them with water for a couple of days and then have a cautious lift and investigate to see if any of them are ready. I do hope they will be, I’m about to run out of garlic in the kitchen and it would be lovely to start using our own home grown utterly uncertified but actually organic garlic instead. And I have serious intentions of making one of those oh so cheesy French stereotype braids of garlic to hang in the kitchen; all I need is for there to be enough garlic worth keeping.
I’m also thinking about what to do with the space once the garlic and onions have come up. Is there anything that I could plant in say, late July and still have a late September crop? Can you have late carrots or parsnips or something? It would be lovely to get another crop out of the space this year; after so many attempts at growing our own veg that were far more intention than action and fizzled out accordingly, I’m having so much fun with my growing this year and I know that by this time next year I will have (a) more garden space and (b) a plan. Once you sit in your garden eating strawberries fresh off the bush, or swap the leaf your baby is desperately trying to chew for a leaf of rainbow chard, there’s no going back. I think I may be hooked. And have a new hobby. Because clearly I had too much time on my hands!