Friday 30 November 2007


late harvest

So much to see and tell.

Let's start with one of my biggest sadnesses while I was away. The little vegetable plot that we planted up at the end of July had been abandoned for three months and we were sure that it would have disappeared under a mess of weeds and rotting vegetation, stomped to a pulp by rampaging deer.

It's true, the deer had finally overcome their distaste for my string boundaries and chomped the tops off the carrots and beetroot making quite a mess of the place with their pointy little feet but the actual roots were fine and big, the cabbages, dill and oca protected by a wire cage absolutely fine and the winter radishes and peas, also under wire protection are slightly past their best but still growing, still trying to produce pods and with still enough tender roots to make salads and pickles. We were too late with the haricots and the spring onions don't seem to have survived but I am hugely relieved.

In the back garden plot the pumpkins had succumbed to frosts and the Moscata fruits were destroyed by the cold, but because the grass was so long some of the Rouge Vif d'Etampes had been buffered from the chill and are still good. I don't think they'll keep very long after this treatment but at least we'll have enough for a few meals.

We're proudest of the cabbages. Although we've been growing our own for years, all leafy brassicas have been a trial for us, martyrs to caterpillars and swamped by slugs. This year, by luck or judgement, with the help of the wire cloche the butterflies have been kept at bay and the cabbages have grown quickly enough to leave the slugs behind.

Another comforting discovery is that the oca has managed, despite my cruel and careless treatment of it earlier in the year, to make two good sized plants that will provide all the seed tubers we need for a proper planting next year. Even more gratifying is that both varieties have come through - I really thought I'd lost the slightly more tender maroon coloured sort but now stocks of both are in equal proportions.

It's so good to be back.

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