July is always a productive time in a kitchen garden or on an allotment, and this year it’s been especially good, mainly due to the warm weather and bright sunshine. I can’t take too much credit for the the good crops because I started the season a bit late and have fewer plants than last year, but I have been keeping on top of the watering and weeding which has probably helped somewhat.
Since the last update we’ve picked all the cherries, having only lost one or two to the birds and the odd snail. The fruits have all been washed, pitted, and eaten or processed. Half went into pie fillings, some of which are in the freezer, and the remainder was turned into cherry vanilla compote and stored away for a treat to be eaten on winter evenings. We’ve also had a decent crop of rhubarb, which perked up a lot after being given some liquid feed, but it’s time to stop picking that so it can recover before going dormant.
There have been a few strawberries too, although these plants are a few years old and will need to be replaced at the end of the season. I found an offer on a new variety of strawberry plant from T&M, so I might take a risk with a few of those as you can currently get 10 plants for £6.99 and if they live up to their claims then they’ll pay for themselves in less than a year.
The rest of the garden is doing pretty well, with good crops of lettuce, rocket, radishes and other salad veg, and lots of cucumbers. We’ve also had some of the spring greens / pointed cabbages, plus a few french beans and sugar snap peas, and it won’t be long before the broccoli gets going, so our meals have been fresh and healthy and that’s set to continue for the next few weeks.
We’ve also had a handful of raspberries ripening every day or so, and I’ve been putting them into desserts and breakfast smoothies. If they start to crop heavily I’ll be able to start freezing a few too, or making some conserves with them.
The sun loving plants are just getting started, giving us the first few tomatoes, courgettes and chillies, but most of them have some way to go yet so I’m hoping they start feeding us properly in August. Meanwhile we’ve hardly bought any fruit and vegetables from the shops this month, apart from a few potatoes and onions, and I’m hoping it stays that way for the rest of the season.
Are you growing any fruit, vegetables or herbs this year? What’s saved you the most money, and what was your best investment?