There are two plum trees in the garden, they were here when we moved in. Neiher has produced much for us, but this year the one nearest the house, mainly enjoyed as a bird magnet in winter, has rather a lot of fruit. They're not great quality but still welcome.
I finally hit the wall that always looms in the summer, although it came much later this year. The weather's continued mediocrity and a couple of brief but intense illnesses have contributed, but essentially I've lost my drive to be outside for the time being. And in fact there's less to do in some regards - until and unless I can clear a lot more space, the ground is full, and the crops must be left to grow.
Above and below: there are lots of unripe tomatoes, and now I've heavily pruned the plants, they have a chance to ripen before blight kills them off.
A little harvesting, but no glut. Signs of hope maybe - outdoor sweetcorn is flowering, but I have no idea if it'll produce a crop. More courgettes, but only a few. The first fennel, although it had begun to bolt, was delicious. Cabbages starting to heart up. And indeed some of the crops sown in summer, especially brassicas, are looking super healthy, but in want of a home.
The best fennel plant, starting to heart up, although the lengthening suggests it, like its brethren, will bolt (try to flower) before getting much larger.
But there have been signs of the season in a bad way, too - tomato blight has struck. Ironically on the same day I picked the first perfect fruit (all the first ones had cracked, although they were otherwise okay) I noticed a little blight on one of the plants, and then as I got my eye in, I realised there were little patches all over, on many of the others. At this stage, it's not a total disaster, and it spurred me to do something I'd put off, namely trim back the plants and stop them growing any more. It's not really surprising - I've had numerous blight alerts over the past few weeks (I signed up to a service in 2011 that emails you when conditions are ideal for blight to hit), and the greenhouse has been terribly damp - when the temperatures are in the mid teens and there's no sunshine, or it's raining, then opening it up seems a bad idea, but then there's no air flow and the glass is covered in condensation, so I'm not sure how best to deal with this in future. I'll start them earlier though, in February most likely, and as the greenhouse is now in place I can get them planted nice and early, in mid May say, which means they have the best chance to grow and fruit before prime blight season.
An outdoor winter squash, I think this is 'Musquée de Provence'. It's a big variety, so may not have chance to reach maturity in the time that's left, but it looks good right now.
To offset the gloom, I'm planning how the vegetable garden will look in six months' time. At present, mostly because it's been brought into cultivation a bit at a time, it's lots of small patches, but once these are cleared, I want simplicity. A big swathe of overwintering onions and garlic, cabbages, etc. This will help with protection - it's been very difficult to cover small groups of plants with netting, for instance. And aesthetically too, I think it will be better to be less busy.
A savoy cabbage, starting to heart up.
I got a new garden fork to replace the one that snapped on its first day. I've been thinking about compost again, reading about techniques, and turning the second heap onto the first (both have halved in volume as they have decomposed) is essential to provide room for the next load - I'm at that awkward stage with buckets and bowls of food waste piling up, waiting to be added. Hopefully combining the first two, which are at a similar stage, will reinvigorate things, and get the temperature up (the one disappointment when I turned the first heap a week ago was its coolness).
One more tomato, probably the largest, the variety is 'Hillbilly Potato Leaf'. Will it ripen?
21/08 - 175g courgettes, (20g raspberries)
22/08 - 120g tomatoes*, (150g plums)
24/08 - 335g kale, (50g plums)
25/08 - 340g courgettes, 350g mangetout
YTD total: 14.95kg
*the first fruit without cracking