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  • Writer's pictureSofias Country Gardens

Late summer in the garden

In August the garden reaches its peak - just in time for school and work to start and for us having to move back to town for the majority of the year. As communications have improved over the years I do extend my season and often work from home a few days in the middle of the week, meaning I can enjoy a longer season in the country.

My mother, being a pensioner, spends early autumn here with her friends. Each year there is an abundance in the kitchen garden to be harvested, and I am most grateful for their help.

Some years my potatoes have had scab due to warm and exceedingly dry conditions, but this year they were perfect as we had enough rain for the soil to keep moist during the critical stage, which is between 3-6 weeks after tuber initiation. Although I improve the soil each year with compost or composted manure, it has taken until now for it to get the beautiful loamy texture you can see in the picture. Scab is especially common in light soil in dry conditions, and can be treated by just improving irrigation and soil condition as well as having long cycles of rotation.

I love the taste of happy potatoes! But there is one thing I dislike about growing potatoes - there is always some small spud I miss, and consequently they pop up all over the place the next year like weeds.

I keep posting pictures of my red currants, but in my defence they were extraordinarily sweet and abundant this year. Both my sister and my mothers friend helped pick buckets of them, and after adding a few spoons of organic sugar (they tend to keep better when frozen if one adds a bit of sugar) the buckets are safely tucked away in the freezer for coming winter months.

Onions do not like it when it rains too much. Once an onion has finished growing, the spot just above the bulb grows soft and this is when it should be harvested especially if rain is on the way. If the conditions are dry and fine, I do tend to leave my onions until the top falls over. I hang them to dry across the window on the south side of the house at Stensund, as it is sheltered from rain by the overhanging roof yet in the open air to facilitate drying.

Last but not least, I will leave you with my favourite picture of this summer. Here you see my hen Gwendoline, who has learned to fly up into the apple trees and eat apples from the branches!

Chicken are not supposed to fly, and I really haven't heard of other hens that pretend they are Tarzan. yet Gwendoline is at her happiest picking on fresh fruit from the lower branches of the apple trees. It seems as if she prefers the pale white Valkea Kuulas, Transparent Blanche, best. Talk about free range chickens!

This summer I have discovered what wonderful and intelligent beings chicken are, and I am afraid I shall never be able to eat factory farmed broiler meat again. All the better for us I'm sure!

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