It’s hot. I mean really hot. We are officially in a drought. The boffins have number crunched and apparently January normally gets about 60mm of rain, I guess that’s why looking back over past summers all I remember is dashed expectations of a “proper summer.” Well this year we are having that magic kind of summer – long and hot! But they say that we have only had 6mm of rain. Quite a high price for a gardener to pay, to have a decent summer.
There is nothing to do. The grass is going all brown and stopped growing, so there is no need to mow. It’s so hot even the weeds aren’t growing. There are no new ones coming up, and I took care of the old ones ages ago. So there is no need to weed. There is definitely no digging to do as in this heat you would have to be declared crazy if you actually got out there and did any! So all I can do is water the garden, but making sure everything is carefully timed and that the water only goes where it is needed so I don’t waste a single drop of precious water.
I could harvest and there are heaps of crops ready. The tomatoes must be loving the heat as they are really starting to come ripe in greater numbers, the zukes haven’t let up, although the cucumbers have slowed down. The problem is, harvesting results in the need to ‘kitchen garden’ and I’m really not all that keen to be cooking in this heat.
Having said that, that is exactly what I did yesterday. I bought 15 corn cobs, because they were really cheap and blanched them and sliced off the kernels to freeze them for easy use in the winter. That way when my corn comes ripe it can be used for freezing on the cob. I made a hot green chilli sauce with the chillies I accidently knocked off the plants when I was ‘checking them over.’ My standard method to determine how hot something is – is to get Hubby the Un-Gardener to taste it first. He is always suspicious when I ask him to taste stuff, but he loves me and so always tastes it and this one was really hot!
I also made plum sauce from some damsons. The problem with the damsons was the poor tree was laden, but it had no leaves because I wasn’t able to tackle the dreaded pear slug, because the wind was always too strong to spray. So I relieved the tree of its burden, even though the fruit wasn’t actually ripe. I laid them out in a cool place in the hope that they would ripen up, but they just started to go soft, so I had no alternative but to cook them up into a quite piquant sauce with a bit of a sour zing.
Surprisingly late in the season I picked a decent sized bowl of strawberries and decided to try dehydrating them so the house is filled with the most delicious aroma, combined with the chocolate zucchini bread I made in order to put a dent in number of zukes coming ripe every day… Oh it smells amazing.
I also made some mozzarella cheese so tonight we will be having a refreshing salad of tomato, basil and mozzarella drizzled in olive oil…. Oh I can’t wait.
In the meantime there is nothing for it but to look upon my garden from the shade, and start to think about the winter crops that will need sowing soon.
Come again soon – the heady heights of summer are only really with us for such a brief period of time.
Sarah the Gardener : o )