It's been a weird growing year; all that water and not enough heat has suited some stuff and not others. So the orchard is heavy with apples but nary a plum, gage or damson in sight. Sloes are conspicuous by their individuality; literally one or two on a tree rather than the usual laden branches. I've been blackberrying three times now and perhaps it's a little early to expect otherwise, but although there's been enough for a fool and a crumble, I have yet to find the trug-full required to make the pots and pots of jam necessary to keep the household happy year round.
The polytunnel has been the star of the show: my aubergines are the best ever; the chillis will have to be dried or they will rot on the plant (you can't chomp on them for breakfast, lunch and dinner); the big boy tomatoes are gracing salads with their accompanying basil; the yellow courgettes are this month's staple; the cucumber surplus has gone to the pigs; the peas are still going (that's a long pea season in my book); and the pak choi was brilliant. Outside, the hispi cabbages have been forfeited to pigs and hens; the slug damage has made them beyond the human pale/pail. The onions did ok and today is the day for stringing them up. The swiss chard, artichokes, parsnips and red cabbage are all thriving, but it's the raspberries that have once again cheered the days; huge, sweet, beautiful and creating a jungle of unruly canes.