Halfway through July already and it’s peas and beans and peas and beans and….! However, lots of other stuff is happening as well. Volunteer Ted has been hard at work with the pruning shears and has completed most of the accessible fruit trees with just a few of the larger ones still to do. The object is to maintain crop levels whilst keeping them to a height which makes harvesting easily manageable. Our peach, quince, apple and apricot trees have all benefited from Ted’s expertise. Also undergoing pruning are our currant bushes. The three colours we have; red, black and white, all require different approaches to pruning. The white ones look and taste terrific in jams and jellies.
On the same theme, all herbaceous perennials are being cut back and compost spread around. We are also spreading shredded branches and bark ( donated by City Care ) on the small orchard we are developing as a neighbourhood resource.
We are presently dusting all our vacant beds with lime . A light dusting only as the soil is best kept slightly acidic. We will work it into the ground and leave for a month before early planting begins in August.
Potting up and pricking out will continue through July. This will give us a good supply of plants ready for sale in our Spring Market Day on October 6th. We’ve already completed lots of beautiful daffodils and these will be flowering from September.
We have had an excellent crop of Jerusalem Artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus). Despite the similarity in name, this is a completely different plant to the Globe Artichoke (Cyanara cardunculus var scolymus) which is a type of thistle. They seem to be hard to find in retail outlets so if you like them call in and pick some up. ($5 per kilo ). They are a bit sweeter than potatoes and go well in a winter soup. Christine is experimenting with fermenting the tubers and also pickling.