lately - midsummer
Tomorrow, June 21st marks the longest day: midsummer.
Down on the allotment everything is growing apace. But as usual nothing is straightforward!
I counted about 22 tiny apples on our Rossette tree, but on the plum tree, only about 4 plums. I've no idea why there should be so few plums. Maybe something to do with the weather when the blossom was out?
This year, we are growing broad beans for the first time; a variety named Dreadnought which I bought as young plants from the garden centre and planted in the spring. I was congratulating myself on the fact that the plants were strong and healthy and no sign of blackfly ... until yesterday, when I was watering them and found several plants had a serious infestation of said bug. I've nipped off the tops and have my fingers crossed!
But on a more optimistic note, who knew that broad bean flowers were so pretty!
Meanwhile, the gooseberry bush Hinnonmaki red is practically collapsing under the weight of fruit, its berries turning slowly to a gorgeous pink hue.
We've had radishes a plenty and baby spinach leaves to add to lovely salads.
Mixing and shaking a salad dressing in a jam jar has become one of mr digandweed's fortes!
Right on cue, the strawberries have made an appearance. I always reckon on them ripening sometime between the Chelsea Flower Show and Wimbledon and sure enough, we picked the first bowlful a couple of days ago.
Their smell and taste just shouts summer!
But although summer is here and the longest day almost upon us, I often think it is a shame that it doesn't often coincide with the warmest weather.
I harbour dreams of sitting outside, enjoying the long evenings and eating al fresco, but in reality June can be a cool month.
A few days ago I made a couple of recipes from the River Cottage Veg Everyday cookbook and although we intended to eat outside, the cold wind that was whistling across the garden meant we soon scuttled back indoors.
But, indoors or out, these were two recipes I would definitely recommend.
The first was stuffed peppers with new potatoes, feta and pesto. A delicious combination.
The second recipe was spelt salad with squash and fennel. Another delicious recipe from one of my favourite cookbooks.
I have to say it is grey and somewhat cool here today.
Fingers crossed for some sun soon!