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A world without tomatoes is like a string quartet without violins

"A world without tomatoes is like a string quartet without violins." - Laurie Colwin

Well, it’s August and school holidays. So of course the weather has changed a bit. Heavy rain, strong winds, cloudy, sunny intervals. But August is also when all our veg starts to ripen too. Early August is also known as the festival of Lammas ‘the feast of the first fruits’ And the garden is certainly having its own harvest festival at the moment.

I popped in to the garden on Tuesday to check for any damage that the recent heavy showers and winds had caused. Apart from Flora the scarecrow having lost her head a bit, there wasn’t much. What I don’t understand is, with all that rain, the veg garden still seems very dry. I suppose the rain bounces off the leaves and doesn’t get to the soil. So we still need to keep watering it. I’m keeping an eye out for slugs now that the weather is more damp. They’ve only really attacked the sheltered marigolds. And no sign of them eating the veg this year (yet.)

The Cherry Cascade tomatoes in the hanging basket had been battered and a couple of stems were bent. It looks like half of this plant will die now, so I plan to cut these stems off. I got a bit side tracked though when I realised that there were our first red tomatoes on the Cherrie Kisses in the basket. I was so excited I picked them all. It’s unusual for me to be the first to pick something as Claire usually gets there first.

I also took advantage of Claire being away, by picking the first of our Sharpes Express potatoes in the bin. It’s a bit like a lucky dip, putting your hand into the soil and feeling round for potatoes. I took them straight home and had them for lunch an hour latest. Fresh veg at their best. But don’t worry Claire, I’ve left plenty for you and the other volunteers to find. Best to get them up soon though as they can get blight in late summer.

I went round and picked other veg too. All our beans are still producing lots. I cut our first Rainbow Chard on Thursday and gave it to a passer-by to have with their tea. The Cucino cucumbers are doing well and are growing up the railings. Fred our tortoise volunteer (he eats the weeds) loves them. I think they have liked the warm weather, as does he.

Our toadstools have toadstools! The damp weather has led to a couple of outbreaks. One behind the reading chair and a patch in the grass between our wooden mushroom seats. It’s a shame they didn’t grown in the fairy world area as I think fairies might like them. I’ve asked why we haven’t put any fairies in the garden. Apparently if you make them a fairy land ‘they come’. So keep your eyes open for signs of them. Although I think they are very shy.

The Blooming Old Gardener

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