Jennifer’s Garden Diary week ending 13/8/2011

Already the days are getting shorter and growth starting to slow down. Some things still flourishing, runner beans sending up shoots beyond their poles and of course the long branches of blackberries trying to invade.

My peas are finished and am pulling them out and replacing with spring cabbage plants, I fear I am ahead of time and these plants are too forward, we will see.  Some of these plants were attacked by slugs, so I tried giving them circles of bran with excellent results. Have done the same with lettuce plants and again good results and those without bran round them have been destroyed.

I have started harvesting runner beans, all going well there will be a big crop. I am going to salt some, I got out my battered copy of John Seymour’s Self Sufficiency to read instructions. Looks quite easy 1 pound of salt to 3 pounds sliced beans pressed down in a crock. Luckily I have a crock. Probably any large glass or ceramic container would do.  I believe salted beans are superior to frozen ones, which can be disappointing, again we will see.

Looking up my diary for this time last year I see I was harvesting and drying onions, this year they are mostly still green. However I have harvested shallots. I was always told that shallots should be planted on shortest day of year and harvested on longest so they are way behind time too. I have spread shallots, garlic and some onions that are ready, on a wire tray ( part of former hen run) to dry. I miss my hens but cannot chance them being taken again by dogs or foxes..

My gardening friends tell me I am not alone in having trouble with courgettes this year, any I brought on early inside have failed. Luckily one I sowed directly in ground under a cloche at beginning of June has flourished. A lesson there.

My garden is always teaching me lessons if I attend to what is going on. I would suggest keeping a notebook, another good idea I have never practiced!