Saturday, September 18, 2010


If broad and climbing French beans were a bit of a disappointment, runner beans were a huge success. Since coming into fruition (if that’s the word), we have harvested a handful about every other day from some six plants grown in sacks of soil (sacks that had been useless for other vegetables). We have harvested the beans when still very young, before they formed stringy edges. We have eaten them either raw, or boiled for five minutes, dried in the saucepan, and then coated with melted butter, sea salt and garlic (an Argentinian garlic recommended for fish and salads). As an accompaniment to evening drinks in our garden or shed, the beans have been a delight. And searching for them among their foliage has also contributed to the start of the evenings’ pleasures.

Another delight obtained from these beans (Scarlet Runners) has been that their flowers have made a lovely addition to garden colour, and that their bright scarlet has attracted bees and bumblebees.

Next year I will construct a larger bamboo and string frame for them to spread over.

The tomato crop has been adequate, a crop that I think would have been larger had the plants not been partially shielded from the sun by runner beans.

The grape harvest was divided into two parts, with us going to Dieppe for a break in between. The result was 5 1/2 gallons of wine, one gallon of that being rosé. The sugar content of each harvest was around 15%. This was increased by the addition of sugar to make 22%. That will create just over 13% alcohol in the wine. The result of whether it has been a good vintage or not will be known shortly before Christmas when the bottling begins and the wine tasted.

From our “orchard” (one pear tree in a pot and an apple tree in a pot) we enjoyed some excellent fruit (and they looked nice, too). But a few pears were ruined for us, but not for a blue tit who acquired a taste for some when still unripe.

Summer background colour has been provided by our regulars of pelargoniums, impatiens, Bolivian begonias and roses (the Rev. P-R doing well for its age and weak vigour, and Typhoon spectacularly well – as always).

Our robins chose to nest elsewhere, but great tits brought up a family in our nest box.

Overall, it has been a good summer.