The end of the month meant the peak of the strawberries - mostly intact, a good colour, and intensely fragrant!
Instead of doing my harvest update on Tuesday, I decided to wait till the last day of the month, and round up all that's happened. First of all, the daily totals:
Totals for nine days 22nd-30th June:
27th: 825g raspberries, 7g wild strawberries, 5g strawberries (day total: 837g)
29th: 1.225kg strawberries, 182g gooseberries, 1.83kg raspberries (day total: 3.237kg)
30th: 746g broad beans, 94g spinach (day total: 840g)
Total for period: 4.914kg
Yes, I wasn't out there so much this past week. I've been quite busy, and to be honest, I like to pick large amounts at once, rather than little and often, at least where the fruit is concerned (you need a certain base amount for most recipes, usually a pound). Still, the totals are impressive - and it's largely soft fruit. The vegetables put in a late showing, but are now mostly over, and I'm still waiting for their replacements (I warn you now: there aren't going to be any squashes for a long time - more on that in a future post). There are quite a few baby tomatoes in the greenhouse now, but I have no idea how long they'll take (the date for the theoretical first fruit has passed, unsurprisingly without ripening, as I've not been quite conscientious enough about the plants' welfare).
A little of the fruit has been discarded. I refuse to store fruit in the fridge unless absolutely necessary, and that's usually fine, but I was distracted by a number of other things going on (such as a friend's barbecue), so some of the strawberries went mouldy. A tragedy, but what can you do? Better than throwing away shop-bought food, and it all gets composted anyhow.
As far as June is concerned, however, it's been a raging success. I had harvested just over half a kilogramme of produce up to the end of May, which I was proud of, but seems pitiful now, after so many days with more than that in a single bowlful. As I keep saying, the soft fruit season is finite, and will soon end, so this is the first of two major harvest periods in the year (the other, I imagine, will be towards the end of August through September, when the tomatoes and other late things will be ready). I am enjoying it while it lasts. As if to confirm this, yesterday's prodigious strawberry harvest was almost the end - very few fruits remain, although a second flowering is not out of the question (last year they didn't have time to ripen the second crop, however). Raspberries have another week at least.
What else has been successful? The spinach, although that goes for the whole year - it has kept producing endlessly, and I haven't bought any for months. What hasn't? The peas were a writeoff, the beans were just so-so until the very end. They weren't so delicious as to justify the time and space devoted to them (let alone the price; bean seeds are quite expensive), but I will plant some again next year (or in the autumn for an early spring crop). I may revert to more productive, less unusual varieties, though - three beds have given around a kilogramme in total, which simply isn't enough. The gooseberry was a failure - for the fourth or fifth year in a row. It didn't lose all its leaves to sawfly this year, and the fruits ripened - they were meant to be deep red, but have never had the chance to get that far in the past. I will be ripping it out, and I doubt I'll grow them again - they take up too much space, only produce one crop a year (whereas that ground could provide a succession of vegetables), and it's not as though I'm crazy about gooseberries anyway. The currants didn't provide a mass of fruit, but I do adore them, so I'll buy new plants and try again somewhere else.
Total for June: 11.081kg
I had the idea last week, looking at the figures, that I'd set a final personal goal this month - of 10kg total harvest. A bit ambitious, but just possible. Well as you can see I beat it by some margin. Which means:
Year to date total: 11.591kg
Which is respectable, I think, and satisfies me for now. But the sooner my front garden is stuffed with lettuces, spinach, beetroot, turnips, and tomatoes, the sooner I can relax again!
Finally, what do I have to look forward to in July? Well, hopefully more settled, sunny conditions! We're in the middle of just such a period, and it's just what the garden needs (especially the tomatoes). I will be harvesting the shallots this month - the best have really swollen, each bulb now several, each larger than the original. Most will be stored for later use, some kept for planting next year. The first tomato! I am confident the largest 'Jaune Flammée', which is now around the size of a large cherry tomato (it may grow a little more, it may not) will ripen in the next two to three weeks, although I doubt I'll be harvesting very many until August. I'm determined to sow salads, and oriental greens for the autumn - hopefully, the first leaves will be ready in a few weeks.