Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Reaping the benefits.

With harvests underway everywhere, when weather conditions allow, it is time to begin to reap our vegetable garden harvest. We have already eaten the raspberries and strawberries; this year we left the blackcurrants for the blackbirds - and did they enjoy them.

Now it is time for the other vegetables. We are eating the Swiss Chard almost daily and still enjoying it - it does taste exactly like spinach but I find steaming it for a couple of minutes gives a nice consistency on which to serve a nice salmon steak or something like that.

Yesterday and again this morning, the farmer began to pick our peas. Although we sowed three different kinds, all supposed to be for succession, they are all ready together. Luckily he is quite happy to sit for the afternoon in the utility room and pod them. I then blanch them and within a couple of hours they are in the freezer.
We couldn't resist a boiling for supper last night along with a helping of new potatoes, some mint and a knob of butter - delicious.
Tomorrow he will start on the broad beans, which are also ready. They will be podded, blanched and frozen too. The courgettes are being eaten almost daily and the small yellow French beans are coming along nicely. Leeks and runner beans will all be ready shortly. Isn't it good to be eating one's own vegetables?

Of course it all comes at a cost - the garden has been manured (we are never short of that commodity), well-dug, left over winter to get a good frost on it, raked, fertilised and planted. All this takes time, care and attention and - dare I say - love.

And speaking of love I found this really beautiful obituary in one of Ronald Blythe's books. It was read out at the funeral of a farmer in the 1930's and was written as though it came from one of the farmer's fields:

"I have been a field for nigh on a thousand years, and I know men. Some are clever, some are kind, but very few are clever and kind, but he was, and I am sorry that all the other fields of England - who need him so much in these days - will have to go on without him" Taken from 'Borderland' by Ronald Blythe (Volume III of the Wormingford Trilogy) and surely as true today as it was in the 1930's.

Don't forget to post your favourite books tomorrow if you are joining in.


The Solitary Walker said...

Manure and love. Two of the prime commodities, Pat! (Thanks for your comment on my blog. We had a lovely time when Dominic and Karen came for the afternoon.)

mrsnesbitt said...

I remember sitting amongst my grandad's peas and eating most of them! lol!

Nutty Gnome said...

Most of my smallish pea crop was 'got' by the very cold spell we had last month, so we've not had enough to freeze this year :(

I've got bucketloads of cucumbers though - I've just been pickling some this afternoon.

You've also reminded me to go get some more manure soon!

Bonnie said...

Oh the reward of growing your own produce! Love mint with peas - and potatoes - and lamb when I used to eat meat.

A pretty photograph Pat.

jeanette from everton terrace said...

I would love to spend a week at your place. Walking with the dogs, enjoying the fields and meadows and eating all this fresh produce. Those peas and potatoes would suit me so well and leeks with potatoes - one of my fav's!

MorningAJ said...

I've had a particularly unlucky year veg-wise and I've had a few (very tasty but small) portions of peas, Frenchbeans and broad beans.

No fewer than three lots of chard sowings got to an inchhigh then keeled over. (Yes - I knowit's supposed to grow like weeds - not in my garden!)

I'm just hoping my tomatoes make up for it.

Heather said...

Perfect peas - what a lovely sight Pat. Your post made my mouth water. It is only right that you and the farmer are reaping such a good reward now. My harvest is far more modest - I have two large pots of french beans and two hanging baskets of tomatoes to look forward to! They are just about ready to start picking. Wonderful words from Ronald Blythe - I must look for his books.

Dartford Warbler said...

A more modest harvest here as well, although we will be having home grown runner beans tonight, plus a pudding made with garden rhubarb.

"Manure and Love" sounds a good mantra for both gardening and for keeping our New Forest ponies. They are only too happy to each produce twelve piles a day!

angryparsnip said...

What a beautiful photo today...

The peas and potatoes dish sounds wonderful. must try !

cheers, parsnip

Gerry Snape said...

I smiled at the fact that all the peas have come together. Alan planted two different lots and then forgot which was which and so we ate immature peas as mange tout for a few day until they started to plump up!

Pondside said...

That was a beautiful quotation.
We'll have to do better by our beds this fall and winter - time for a really good top-up of sea weed and chicken manure.

The Weaver of Grass said...

After two solid days of blanching, drying and freezing peas I am pretty sick of them by now - particularly as we are about to do the same with the broad beans. Still I shall change my mind when we start to eat them. Thank you for all your comments.

Jinksy said...

That pea pod takes me back! I used to love helping to shell peas as a kid... Now BirdsEye do it for me!