Long term readers may remember that the heavy snows at Christmas and my neglectfulness caused our lovely polytunnel to implode. It was quietly heartbreaking and we didn't get round to clearing it until April. Andy dismantled it and I tidied up the debris. Our little back garden looked desolate. But I sowed a patch of broad beans, just over there to the left, covered with netting. Because you've got to really, haven't you?
Sowing seeds and sorting out the many winter casualties took some weeks, due to other commitments and lack of motivation; it looked as if the broad beans might be the only veg we harvested this year. This sparse looking snapshot was actually taken in June, not so long ago.
Gradually things got planted and repotted, pruned back and rescued. Our small yearly harvests will be late, but just as welcome. From here, it all looks somewhat weedy and jungly. And it is true, there are things growing where things shouldn't be - apart from pesky weeds, there are tomatoes in with the broad beans, thrown up from seeds dropped by the tomatoes in last years polytunnel harvest. The strawberries take care of themselves and grow everywhere, eternally fighting with the twitch grass and Clover's big ginger bottom which regularly sits on them.
I always forget what thugs squash can be - these *little* patty pans needed tying back, before they swamped the dwarf beans.
So I've forced them up and back with string and poles, to give the beans a chance. And finding another rogue tomato growing between the bean rows!
Tiny patty pan squash, just an inch or so wide.
Then the beans were given a bean frame, and the tomato plant growing amid them was carefully replanted to it's own spot nearby.
These two humongous, lovely lettuces are from the 'cut and come again' mixed salad leaf bed sown in this patch last year. Now they are grown up lettuce and ready to be picked.
This rambling patch of green is a hugger mugger potager of salad, courgettes, more dwarf beans, tomatoes, chard and the odd rogue potato. Despite the close planting, everything is doing well.
Almost time for non-stop courgettes.
Hiding somewhere in there are our first wax beans - just a few more days.
For the first time ever, I resisted the urge to plant a zillion tomato seeds; we bought a few various ones from local table tops and the rest are simply 'volunteers'. 'Gardener's Delight' is living up to it's name and look, oh joyous day, there are actually ripening tomatoes! After years of blight, this is a marvellous thing.
They are placed around a raised bed of peas, which are not doing as well as I'd like, considering they were grown in our own compost, but after a week or so of rain they are coming on.
As I left it far too late to purchase special potato seed stock, I reverted to my childhood method of simply planting old shop spuds which were sprouting. They're doing very well, in trenches and one batch in a sack - my first time at trying this. I'll be interested to see which method has better results.
This is one of my 'Blair Witch' charms, to look after the garden; one hare's skull and three portions of what I think are badger spine bones - could be deer. (If you think that's bad, never look inside my pockets...)
So although it all looks a bit disorganised, this is really a densely packed living larder.
I even have a fairly respectable pot herb garden again, and of course, sweet peas and nasturtiums. Can't do without those.
And finally the broad beans are ready. This is a really great variety, Suprifin, which I'll definitely be planting again. Just in front are three 'volunteer' tomatoes from last year - popped up in the ground and were shown mercy. Variety unknown, but probably Brandywines.
Deep in the bean patch, I am so pleased! Lovely big pods, heavy crops and plants just the right height; nice and tall but not too tall, so no staking required. Perfect.
Picking our first crop the other night, I was very glad that I'd mustered myself to rescue the remnants of the garden. This is why we do it.
It just wouldn't be summer without a few homegrown treats.