The potager in summer

The bliss of being food mile free. We are now entering the rare time of the year when I get to swan about, large basket under my arm, secateurs, dreamy expression. Floaty dresses, floppy hat…

I made the floaty dress bit up. As if. But I’m never far from a floppy hat in this heatwave summer. And I am forever drifting down to the potager to pick food for dinner.

I haven’t shown you any snaps of the harvest lately. Apart from the tomatoes.  And now that I have cleared away the dead peas and broad bean plants, things are photogenic again.

Oh, and the sweet peas. The parched straw coloured patches of death in among the burgeoning dahlias ruins the shot.

I have collected the rattling sweet pea seeds, plus the peas, and we have eaten most of the broad beans. So they were an unsightly unnecessary in my life.

The peas never do it for me. I follow the tradition of planting them. But really, the tying in, the taming, the harvesting, the podding.  I just don’t find them that much fun.

And I had to net them early in the season as the deer and hare are keener on the young juicy plants than me.

So once everything is over, you have to do the delicate (read, hissing and swearing) job of getting the dead tendrils out of the nets.

I’m not showing that. Have some lovely runner beans instead.  They are actually more of a shade cloth exercise than bean growing. It’s too hot for them. But they are covering one of the structures nicely.

And the dwarf french beans are doing a marvellous job of making things look jungly.

Ground cover, nitrogen fixer, impervious to heat. I have sown seeds in both the cleared beds, so I will even have a glutty succession in the weeks to come.

And how about these cavolo Nero beauties?

Grown in the shade. Shade netting and anti cabbage moth netting. These ones are from the garden bed I made for David in the ground behind the stables. It was graded by the dozer, and then I mulched like mad and planted out.

I don’t dare show you the main brassica beds up at the top potager. The poor plants up there look stricken and sunburnt. And they have been munched by punaise insects. Pesky tiny red critters which suck the moisture out of the leaves. And breed at the same time.  Multi-taskers I can do without.

And speaking of pesky critters. I could have done without Monsieur Perrochon’s escaping sheep one evening. I didn’t hear them until I felt a tug on the hose and turned to see some rather cheery escapees heading to the potager with a mad gleam.

Luckily I had the small gate in the courtyard that leads to the potager. I put it up to slow down the hares, never expecting that sheep would be an issue.

I tell you, it’s all go in among the veg.