garden bits

My first real chance to get into the garden after last week’s gales and the following heavy rains.

The most urgent job was to sort out the raspberries, which had got flattened. Hardly surprising, as they are now rather over eight feet tall (these are “Joan Squire”: I wish I knew another variety that tastes good, bears prolifically when subject to a 2-crop-a-year pruning regime, but were slightly shorter!). A few berries just starting to go orange, so should be picking a bowlful early next week.

The Black Russian tomatoes, which had outgrown their stakes, have half their top third folded over by wind. I doubt the few tomatoes on the damaged bits will ripen – if there’s no sign of them doing so in the next couple of days, I’ll pick, stew, and freeze them as green tomatoes, to be added to the mix when I make green tomato chutney at the end of the season. The other two varieties have escaped damage.

In the flower garden, the gladioli suffered, so I’ve cut them off and now have them in a vase on the coffee table. Most other things seem to have survived OK.

Another batch of spinach beet has run to seed, and been pulled up. The kale has suffered insect damage – hopefully it will sort itself out! Courgettes continue, as do runner beans and chard. I’ve just planted out – about six weeks too late – the final batch of leeks, so fingers crossed for them!

The strawberries are starting another bout of flowering – sadly, the fruit will probably ripen while I’m away on the Broads in the first week of September. In the bathroom, the “peter pepper” chilli has produced four fruit, despite having been persistently covered in aphids.

The washing line runs over the lawn, so I’m waiting for washing to dry before doing the mowing and strimming. And I must have a final go at the pond pump, though I fear that it’s completely dead. I’ve had a lot of trouble with baby water-snails getting through the filter and jamming the pump solid, so I think it’s finally expired. £70 for a replacement pump/filter/UV unit, sadly, and a fair bit of grovelling about to route the electrical cable safely. The “wildflower bank” behind the pond has been flattened by storms, but I’ll leave it for another three weeks so that any possible seeds can ripen and be shed. Hopefully, the assorted plug plants and seeds I’ve put in there over the past couple of years will manage to establish themselves.

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