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Thursday, 27 August 2009

Garden update

The end of August brings a sea-change, not only in the weather, but also in the garden - one variety taking over from another even as the first labours on. The tomatoes are beginning to wane, and this afternoon I plan to take out the earlies I planted what seems like a lifetime ago. The beef tomatoes are still going strong, and we'll be bottling tomato sauce for pasta ere long. We're still reeling under the annual glut of white zucchine and cucumbers - AJ's cucumbers have been particularly good. The chilli pepper plants are still laden with ripening fruit, and I have been drying heaps on the window sills for the last three weeks or so. They'll go into chilli oil to help make our winter evenings warmer.

Slowly, though, we see the fruits of summer giving way to the fruits of autumn and winter. The apple tree seems to be producing a few, and the pears are laden. The leeks for our winter soups are marching along in their drill-sergeant rows, and the broccoli I put in last week have stopped flopping and are standing to attention. All the herbs I planted this spring are doing famously - this really was made to be a herb garden and next year we plan to move more in that direction.

Golly, almost forgot! The vines are coming into fruit, and a couple of days ago we tasted the first bunches of our delicious, almost sour, Americana grapes. No good for wine, but as a table grape, beats the overstuffed, oversprayed varieties in the shops hands down.

The garden is a-bloom with the second, or perhaps even the third, flush of roses - the ground cover varieties are particularly prolific right now. The oleander I planted as a screen along the public footway side of the garden are starting to fill in, and they are still abundantly in flower - yellow, white, pink and apricot. The hibiscus are also in flower in shades of mauve, pink and white, and the jasmine are sending out new tendrils in all directions across the wire.

The males from this year's chicken cohort are already in the freezer. There were fewer than expected. Some of the big grays that were sold to us as males turned out to be females (read about their arrival in Carmine here). We also had a spot uh bovver with a fox or two along the way. The girl-chicks, a few more than expected, have started laying, just in time for the older ones in the Carmine population to start their autumn moult, and go on laying strike for the duration. With a bit of luck, the young ones will keep us and our neighbours in eggs while the old ladies are sulking.

That covers all but one of the chicks. The children have named the house hen Clothilde, which means she automatically gets a pension. She'll be allowed beyond the end of her natural laying life, and when the time comes she'll be given a decent Christian burial. That's because when you name an animal it becomes a pet, and we don't eat our pets! Clothilde's leg is improving, you'll be pleased to hear, but it'll be a while yet before she returns to the pond of barracudas that is Pallazzo Pollo. In the meantime, she is growing and growing and growing and growing, from all the tidbits the children give her (she particularly likes M.'s own version of risotto Milanese), and I'm starting to wonder whether we'll actually get her through the pollaio door when the time comes.

More on Clothilde the House Hen in another post.


5 comments:

... said...

Ooh, lucky you. All I got in my garden were two strawberries. All the herbs, tomatoes, chillies and stuff ended in the slug's stomachs.

Louise said...

I've come to the conclusion that if you want to reap what you sow you have to be tough on slugs!

ladyfi said...

Phew - so glad to hear about Clothilde's reprieve!

The garden sounds wonderfully abundant - but a lot of hard work!

Mrs B said...

Just had one of our mutual school friends and his family staying - all my chucks are named so glad that I have additional reason to the one I gave for why none of them end in the pot!

My boys have named my 4(meagre compared with your's) nugget, balti, kiev and mushroom pie. One guess which family member came up with those!

Sandy said...

Ahhhh, your garden sounds wonderful! This year's garden was the worst ever. Maybe next year.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Garden update

The end of August brings a sea-change, not only in the weather, but also in the garden - one variety taking over from another even as the first labours on. The tomatoes are beginning to wane, and this afternoon I plan to take out the earlies I planted what seems like a lifetime ago. The beef tomatoes are still going strong, and we'll be bottling tomato sauce for pasta ere long. We're still reeling under the annual glut of white zucchine and cucumbers - AJ's cucumbers have been particularly good. The chilli pepper plants are still laden with ripening fruit, and I have been drying heaps on the window sills for the last three weeks or so. They'll go into chilli oil to help make our winter evenings warmer.

Slowly, though, we see the fruits of summer giving way to the fruits of autumn and winter. The apple tree seems to be producing a few, and the pears are laden. The leeks for our winter soups are marching along in their drill-sergeant rows, and the broccoli I put in last week have stopped flopping and are standing to attention. All the herbs I planted this spring are doing famously - this really was made to be a herb garden and next year we plan to move more in that direction.

Golly, almost forgot! The vines are coming into fruit, and a couple of days ago we tasted the first bunches of our delicious, almost sour, Americana grapes. No good for wine, but as a table grape, beats the overstuffed, oversprayed varieties in the shops hands down.

The garden is a-bloom with the second, or perhaps even the third, flush of roses - the ground cover varieties are particularly prolific right now. The oleander I planted as a screen along the public footway side of the garden are starting to fill in, and they are still abundantly in flower - yellow, white, pink and apricot. The hibiscus are also in flower in shades of mauve, pink and white, and the jasmine are sending out new tendrils in all directions across the wire.

The males from this year's chicken cohort are already in the freezer. There were fewer than expected. Some of the big grays that were sold to us as males turned out to be females (read about their arrival in Carmine here). We also had a spot uh bovver with a fox or two along the way. The girl-chicks, a few more than expected, have started laying, just in time for the older ones in the Carmine population to start their autumn moult, and go on laying strike for the duration. With a bit of luck, the young ones will keep us and our neighbours in eggs while the old ladies are sulking.

That covers all but one of the chicks. The children have named the house hen Clothilde, which means she automatically gets a pension. She'll be allowed beyond the end of her natural laying life, and when the time comes she'll be given a decent Christian burial. That's because when you name an animal it becomes a pet, and we don't eat our pets! Clothilde's leg is improving, you'll be pleased to hear, but it'll be a while yet before she returns to the pond of barracudas that is Pallazzo Pollo. In the meantime, she is growing and growing and growing and growing, from all the tidbits the children give her (she particularly likes M.'s own version of risotto Milanese), and I'm starting to wonder whether we'll actually get her through the pollaio door when the time comes.

More on Clothilde the House Hen in another post.


5 comments:

... said...

Ooh, lucky you. All I got in my garden were two strawberries. All the herbs, tomatoes, chillies and stuff ended in the slug's stomachs.

Louise said...

I've come to the conclusion that if you want to reap what you sow you have to be tough on slugs!

ladyfi said...

Phew - so glad to hear about Clothilde's reprieve!

The garden sounds wonderfully abundant - but a lot of hard work!

Mrs B said...

Just had one of our mutual school friends and his family staying - all my chucks are named so glad that I have additional reason to the one I gave for why none of them end in the pot!

My boys have named my 4(meagre compared with your's) nugget, balti, kiev and mushroom pie. One guess which family member came up with those!

Sandy said...

Ahhhh, your garden sounds wonderful! This year's garden was the worst ever. Maybe next year.