When talking about gardening, thoughts of digging, nurturing tiny seedlings, weeding and getting dirt under the nails, watering and harvesting the fruits of your labours spring to mind. But there is one step on from this one that is just as labour intensive, but equally as rewarding. That is processing the produce. The other day I went to check on the orchard only to find the peaches and damson plums were ready. They are relatively young trees, so the yield wasn’t massive (although next year will probably be) but they have come ripe together – alongside a large harvest of elderberries.
On top of this, the corn is coming ready so that’s approximately 60 ears that need attention, I have a huge pile of onions from my poor crop that are too small to be of practical use in cooking and so the only answer is to pickle them – so they are waiting in the shed, where I left them to dry out. The kale and the rainbow beet have gone completely nuts and I should harvest some and freeze for winter use. So there is nothing else for it – I have to make jams and sauces, pickles and wines, blanching and processing and do all manner of kitchen gardening jobs.
But I need to fit this around doing the “real” gardening. The rain has been such an ever present feature in the garden this summer which has its up sides and it’s down sides. On the up – I haven’t had to water much, on the down, the lawns and the weeds have run rampant but because of the wet conditions it is neither practical or desirable to get out there and sort them out and worst of all: the overall yields are down on previous years.
I also need to sow seeds for the winter crops – or we’ll never get any broccoli. Then there are the maintenance jobs. The wind last night was so strong it blew over my trellis set up for my cucumbers and luffas. This really needs to be fixed because if I don’t my luffas won’t grow straight and who wants crooked luffas? But it is still wet and yucky outside and while an important task, not one I’m looking forward to. Maybe I’ll get Hubby the Un-Gardener to help so I won’t be the only one getting wet!
The dilemma is what to do first – kitchen gardening or garden gardening? I could just shove the fruit into the freezer for the minute and do the jam making on a cold autumn evening and warm the house while doing it, instead of overheating an already humid home, making it unbearable for all!
Having said that autumn starts next week, so then we can kiss goodbye to an awful summer and settle down to a season or two when you expect the weather to be bad and daydream about that perfect summer that will be knocking on our doors again before we know it. I’m not normally such a moany gardener, I’m normally happy and excited, but there is only so much rain one can take before spirits are completely dampened!
On a different but very sad note – Smoochy Pooch (what the kids ended up calling the baby chicken) passed away and we held a wee funeral yesterday. She was only with us a short time but made a huge impression on us all. Funny the ways such a small wee thing can do that!
Come again soon – I need to do some kind of gardening – any kind of gardening… I just need the rain to stop!
Sarah the Gardener : o )