Summer progress in the potager

cutting flowers AugustOoh I’m late for today’s blog post. I could lie and say that I’ve spent too much time in the garden and not enough indoors attending to my computer…. But we have been working all morning in the guesthouse, getting the very large house ready for guests.

Lots of cobwebs to remove, a fridge to stock, kitchen and bathrooms to clean and lots of beds to be made. But with my sparklingly sorted linen press, it has been easier.

Can I boast about an orderly linen press in a gardening blog? I’ll make it a small show off shot. A place for almost everything and all neatly labelled.

We’ll see how long that lasts. It’s a bit like my potting shed. Gorgeous one day, chaos the next.

My pantry has had The Treatment as well.

But in the potager I am pleased to say there is very little chaos.

I have myself a morning off farm duties and went round every bed, pulling out spent broad bean plants and bolted chard (the red chard bolts faster than the yellow). IMG_1577

The compost heap is teetering on the edge of over full. But there is now room for all sorts of new things to emerge.  The dwarf French beans are just about everywhere. And I can even see some self seeded rocket seedlings starting to take off.

I have been a good tomato grower: pinching out all the side shoots and tying in the plants to their supports.

I may miss the bountiful harvest as I have to be in Australia at the end of the month, but just to rub it in, here are some shots of my unripe plants.

And to rub it in even more. I went up to Vernoux yesterday to buy some tomatoes from the new stall holder who has taken over from Monsieur Bois.

Well, he was always across the alley from the Bois cornucopia, but now he has bought the entire market garden as the elderly master tomato grower has been forced to retire due to ill health.

But he has been as good as his word; he is still doing his tomato breeding and growing.

Note the titchy tom at the bottom of this shot is mine. Ripe and ready and looking very much like the scruffy cousin to the Monsieur Bois superstars.

Bois tomatoes

soleilBut I am the Queen of the Courgette (zucchini to you).  The variety Soleil is doing best of all. And a meal without some grilled courgette is a meal wasted right now.

I have been giving nature a helping hand – literally.  I always hand pollinate the courgette flowers by taking off the male flowers (skinny stalks) and carefully peeling back the flower to reveal the pollen. And then opening up a female flower (bulbous stalk) and making sure her reproductive parts are scattered with the gold dust of pollen.

And next week we will be barbecuing my first aubergines (eggplants). Yippee.

auberginesAnd I am very pleased with my shade cloth in the form of climbing beans structure.

It’s too hot now for lettuce to be out in the blazing sunshine, so this morning I planted out a dozen little seedlings right in the shade of this natural looking sun filter.

living shade clothNext year I will make sure I direct them a bit more carefully across the entire grid above the ground. I seemed to be absent the week the plants went mad and decided to congregate down one end. Bit of a jungle. But a tasty one.