Last night, we celebrated our fourthharvest supper. It was a very, very wet night. It had been raining all day. The station garden was drenched and sodden like a sponge when I went over to collect lettuce and the last of the chard.
This year, we actually started harvesting in a surprisingly hot July. We then had very dry soil, a cold August and a very warm (and dry) September. October has been completely unpredictable: sometimes warm, sometimes wet, sometimes stormy, sometimes cold, sometimes sunny. We didn’t have much to harvest by mid-October; it had all been and gone
It’s not been a great year for fruit. We had virtually nothing on our apples and pears, and our raspberries didn’t like the dry spells. We did, however, get our first harvest of plums from ‘Marjorie’s seedling’ planted in a dustbin – we ate them back in August: they were delicious. Our chard suffered from a leaf miner, and our cavalo nero were invested with caterpillars. We cleared many of the plants back in mid-September. Luckily, the chard and cavalo in my garden had made a come-back by the end of September.
Our courgettes were fairly good this year, but again didn’t appreciate the dry soil. We took them out at the beginning of September. Runner beans were good until a few weeks ago. We harvested our onions back in July and they have been hanging to dry ever since. What has come to harvest these last couple of weeks has been the tomatoes and our pretty lettuce bed from a sowing in late August. Also from a second sowing, we had beetroot. This year, basil also did well in the greenhouse.
So our menu for last night:
- Simon and Diane’s borscht (our beetroot).
- Chris’ wholemeal cheddar and (our) basil bread
- Insalata tricolore (our lettuce, tomatoes, basil but not our mozzarella)
- Madeleine’s vegetarian pasties, using our onions
- Elspeth’s leaf gratin (our chard, onions, cavalo nero in layers with potato, goats cheese and parmesan)
- Sue’s lemon and raspberry tart (would have used our raspberries)
- Verbena water ice (our verbena leaves)
- Selection of cheeses with homemade bread
It was a great evening with wonderful food and company – so good that I completely forgot to take photos. Three and a half years on, the garden is still a lovely focus for friendship and neighbourliness.