How does our garden grow 12/8/12

This week I picked the last of the purple raspberries. At the beginning of the year I planted 6 autumn fruiting raspberry canes. They have thrown up some new canes which are just coming into flower so I am hopeful of having some more raspberries later in the year.

For now we are eating blueberries and the odd alpine strawberry that gets missed by the slugs. There are only a few blueberries left but the Japanese wineberry is starting to fruit. Last year was the first year that we had any fruit although only enough to get a taste. This year there are more berries but there won’t be a huge crop as the plant is not very big.  The fruits are small and sticky. I mix them with other berries or eat them on their own with yogurt. They have a good flavour.

This ‘summer’ has been disastrous for the veggie plot. Despite my best efforts only 2 courgette plants survived the ravages of the plague of slugs and snails. They have finally started to produce fruit. I am not expecting a glut but it’s pleasing to be able to pick anything at all.

The runner beans weren’t so lucky. They seemed to be doing well and had reached a couple of feet tall. I felt that they were big enough to survive the attention of the molluscs, but no, there’s not one left!

To top it all the standard tomatoes have developed blossom end rot. The cherry tomatoes seem to be OK so far. Blossom end rot is caused by irregular watering and probably is the result of no rain and no watering while we were away last week.  I had always believed that that once a plant was suffering then that was that but I read today on the R.H.S. website that any new fruit will be OK… providing the plants get adequate water. I have no more trips planned so that should not be an issue. We just now need to avoid the dredded tomato blight!!

Today I supplemented our garden harvest with some foraged fruit.

A couple of days ago I noticed some ripe blackberries in the park so this morning I went for a walk and picked a bowl full. It is early for blackberries and they are only just beginning to ripen. There were many ripe berries on the rail track side of the fence which gets more sun. It always seems that the juiciest, biggest berries are just out of reach!

On the way home I walked past the swimming pool to check out the old mulberry tree. It is in fruit and I managed to picked a couple of handfuls of ripe berries. The berries are very juicy and my hands got stained bright red (easily washed out though). We’ve never eaten mulberries before and we really enjoyed them. PrimalMan was very taken with them. I have a little tree in a pot. It’s now in its second year. Apparently mulberries are slow growing and often don’t fruit until they are 9 years old so I am not expecting a harvest for some years yet. The tree by the swimming pool is much loved by locals. It was growing when the grammar school stood on the site and according to a friend whose husband went to the school it was a schoolboy tradition to pelt the new boys with the berries at the start of the autumn term. When the area around the swimming pool was revamped this year the council were at pains to point out that the tree would be retained. During the work the tree fell over and so it has had to be propped up. But it’s still fruiting.

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