Tuesday, 21 June 2011

June harvest: week three

My harvest on the 17th: a bowlful of summer.

And not to be outdone, the front garden has been producing vegetables.

The fruit just keeps coming! The strawberries are ripening all over the place, and not getting too nibbled before I catch them (the ones I miss end up hollow and full of woodlice - seems to be their favourite food! Except wood, of course)*. And now, the raspberries are doing the same - and being held high off the ground, they tend to avoid any problems (the birds round here, which may have noticed my cherries, seem to ignore these equally delicious fruits). The strawberries weigh more, of course, the largest so far being 30g, so they still account for the bulk of the total. But in numbers, the raspberries are probably winning by this point. I actually prefer raspberries, so I'm perfectly happy with that.

Meanwhile, in the front, there is still spinach - what stars they've been (living up to their name 'perpetual'). The broad beans are swelling at last, and as you can see, the turnips that took (a handful) have got to a good size (they say pick them at golfball size, but I've had them nearer a tennis-ball and they aren't woody). So as you can see from the pictures, June is red and green, with just a touch of white.

Totals for week 15th-21st June:
15th: 98g turnip, 244g turnip tops (day total 342g)
17th: 323g raspberries, 774g strawberries, 6g cherry (day total 1103g)
18th: 1g wild strawberry
21st: 73g broad beans, 693g strawberries, 1049g raspberries, 159g redcurrants, 210g whitecurrants (day total 2184g)
Total for week: 3.630kg
Year to date total: 6.677kg

The exponential growth continues! Once again, a week's harvest has exceeded the year's total to date. I suspect this will be the last time - at least until tomatoes and winter squash are ripe. It seems appropriate that the largest haul I've had so far came on Midsummer's Day - the high point of the year for me, I think. Not that it's all downhill just yet - warmth and light can be counted on (to a point) for a couple more months.

So much fruit! It actually took ages to pick all this today, but in the peaceful sunshine, it was no chore.

I used the previous batch of strawberries to make jam, but despite following the recipe closely, and using proprietary pectin stock, it didn't set. That's a problem I always have with strawberry jam, so I need to work on it. The taste was great, though - perfect, light but intense, if that's not contradictory. The raspberries will be split between jam, syrup, and whatever fancy recipes that catch my eye in the next couple of weeks. The turnip and broad bean tops made a passable soup, but it was a bit fibrous, even after prolonged blending. Maybe not worth the effort.

*Picking strawberries this damp evening, it turns out the holes are made initially by tiny slugs. Thankfully, the damage has remained lighter than in previous years.

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