High summer in the potager

Did I just dream that? Admittedly it was just after 5am so it was the addled hour.

I had opened the windows and doors of the house… and I swear I felt some rain.

Well mizzle. Moisture. Quite thrilling.

I shan’t even bother to go to the rain gauge because I know it was less than three drops. But it was a fun start to the day.

Better than the application of ointment on all the mite bites. The very reason why 5 was the ‘up’ hour rather than 6.

If you can harness the heat that reactions to mite bites cause to your skin… I’d be onto a winner. It’s like a mini heat pump. But with added ouch.

You aren’t here to read about mites. But rather the glut of gorgeous summer produce.

A bean in every pocket is how I describe this part of the season.

You need to go around the raised beds daily to pick the borlottos. Too large and they are frankly hard work in a risotto. But tiny they are a delight. And all praise a veg that can sit for a long time in the fridge when you are stuck trying to work out how to add them a dish.

I wasn’t as assiduous in twining the beans over the horizontal grids this year. So they are more fluffy and huddling in the corners. So there is a lot of rummaging in among the leaves.

And the beds are not as shaded.

I’ve planted leeks in most of the areas where the Swiss chard has gone over and the spinach but a memory.

Salade niçoise on a hot night under the vines… And no, I did not grow the lettuce. Mine bolted months ago. I bought a few from the market.

And the other daily delight. Tomato picking.

Let’s do a close up of that gorgeous bowl (the right way up.)

My best season for tomatoes yet.

The Sungolds are ridiculously sweet. And prolific. They are going to be my forever cherry tomato from now on.

I’ve made them into purée, and am also roasting them. And giving heaps away. They are amazingly sweet. And the best thing in this hot climate? You only need the oven on for half an hour to caramelise them and then portion them up.

But the other tomatoes – especially the Noir Crimée (which in pre-war times I swear used to be called Black Russian) are a great addition to the daily lunch.

I’ve started to delete these endless shots of the tomato, basil and buffalo mozzarella. So delicious.

But of course in a heatwave and a drought and bering a cruel gardener who only waters the garden once a week there are consequences.

The mildew on the courgettes is not a delight.

You can’t see it from up on the deck. But walk in among the other marvellous veg and there are some sorry specimens.

Drooping. Wan.

The kale is still producing like mad. But it is not a pretty sight. The small pesky bugs (punaises / gendarmes) are taking their share of the leaves. But I am consoled that at least the cabbage white butterflies are being kept out.

You can easily chop a kale leaf into small pieces and stir fry the defects. But not if it is shredded by caterpillars.

And I bet you thought I was going to give you a close up of a wriggling caterpillar… I found one just emerging from one of my tomatoes. The cheek!

Instead I offer you something much more photogenic.

But the sensation was similar. Cut into this gorgeous confection of mousse and you get a surprise inside.

How delightful that this time it was a mere trove of raspberries rather than a wriggling angry green grub.