I don’t know what other people do when they come home from holidays after a couple of weeks away – make a cup of tea , open any post, unpack, put a washing on have a large gin? For me it’s straight forward: greet and feed the cat, check that there are no obvious signs of burglary, leaking roofs or other disasters, greet and feed the cat again, water the neglected houseplants, greet and feed the cat again, go into the garden and see what has happened to the vegetables, taking the cat along too.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I returned to the garden yesterday. This year, with both young people now having left school and no longer being controlled by the Scottish school holidays, we’ve been on holiday in late August for the first time in many years. I had the business of being away in July down to a fine art, but not in August. I had anticipated plum, runner bean and marrow glut (tick)
and I knew that the grass would be knee high (tick). I was worried that the tomatoes would overripen or succumb to blight – they’re fine – green and shiny and (crossed fingers) no blight yet.
As I’ve told you before, I love marrows so much that I actually grow them deliberately so I knew there would be a few waiting for me. I hadn’t bargained on the courgettes all turning into marrows as well, making even my marrow loving heart sink somewhat. I hoped the chrystal lemon cucumbers would keep going for a little longer, but hadn’t expected to find a dozen, tennis ball sized ones falling off the plants and one enormous green one, preventing any others from growing:
and I certainly hadn’t expected the purple sprouting broccoli (Rudolph, matures December) to be not only mature but actually beginning to flower.
So this year’s returning ritual required all of the activities at the start of the post, but also: pick plums, harvest the absolutely mammoth courgettes, the foot long runner beans and the broccoli. Why these? because it should allow a few more to grow.
Flowers and baby runner beans, waiting to add to the glut. Why do I want more when I already have too many? – well that’s gardener’s psychology for you. I can’t explain it, it just is.
That was the emergency gardening that I did the moment I got in the door. Today has been slightly less frantic but equally busy: pick more mammoth courgettes and runner beans, cut back mildewed peas, find the two ripe tomatoes, the chillies
and the single aubergine, cut the grass (well that was done for me actually), hack back some overgrow hedges, work out what on earth to do with the gluts, make jam, make pickle,
Make a huge put of green soup, look at the pile of overgrown courgettes
and runner beans and sigh. Spend more time with the neglected cat (seen here inspecting the mildewed peas)
Despite the mildew, there is still some life in the peas though, with a few of the blue ones showing hope of continuing for a bit longer;
Enjoy the flowers, especially the sweet peas still flourishing among the runner bean flowers;
Admire the apples, in waiting to fill the spaces left by the marrows and plums. Do the washing and the housework and the unpacking and the post-opening that should have been done yesterday.
Take photos of the above. Blog about it. Holiday return sorted – back to work tomorrow.