Plot tasks are being restricted to essential ones at the moment as it is soft fruit picking time! Everything seems to ripen at once and call out pick me!
We have to prioritise which fruit we pick first. The list of criteria on which the decisions are based is:
- Will it spoil if left longer?
- Is it falling off the plant?
- Will the birds or slugs beat us to it?
- Have we already picked and stored plenty?
Raspberries and strawberries need to be picked quickly. All three varieties of summer raspberry that we grow - Glen Ample, Glencoe and Tulameen - are ripening now. The tayberries too don't want to be kept hanging around.
We had a first taste of one of our new strawberry varieties this week - Malwina - and it is delicious. The alpine strawberries are picked when time allows as they usually continue fruiting throughout the summer.
The jostaberries and gooseberries had started to fall and so these had to be picked. Wood pigeons seem partial to jostaberries and often break the branches on the bushes when stealing the fruit but so far this year the bushes are undamaged.
The wood pigeons stripped the leaves off the Summer sun cherry on the plot and consequently it bore no fruit. Fortunately they weren't attracted to the Stella cherry growing in a pot in the garden. It hasn't produced many fruits but they were especially precious and so the tree has been draped with fleece as bird protection and we have been rewarded with a few superb cherries.
The redcurrants have been waiting their turn to be picked. They are dripping with fruit but the strings hang on well as long as they are protected from the blackbirds that adore them. Picking them falls exclusively to me as Martyn conveniently made the cage too low for him to enter. Picking isn't the main time consuming part of harvesting the redcurrants - it's the destringing that takes the time and is a tedious job but worth it.
We've also picked the less prolific blackcurrants, some of which I think will benefit for being given a severe pruning.
The blueberries have started to ripen and have to be picked quickly to beat the birds to it.
Our harvest hasn't been confined to fruit. We have continued to harvest broad beans, calabrese, autumn onions and potatoes.
We have picked the first tiny spray of sweet peas and what are maybe the last of the sweet Williams.
I am wondering whether to give the plants the chop to see whether they will then produce another flush of flowers.
We also had the double treat of our first peas and cauliflowers. It's times like this that we realise why we go to all the effort of growing our own!
Our complete July harvest is listed here
I am linking to Harvest Monday over at Daphne's Dandelions.