the garden in August


This is the time of year when the garden is at its most productive. There’s plenty to harvest, successional sowing means the next flush is coming up behind and plants for winter are established and full of promise.

ladder in orchard

The cherry plums have been eaten, the Czar plums are just starting to ripen and every day I squeeze the greengages to see if they’re ready. The autumn fruiting raspberries are so prolific at the moment that Beth is picking them for her Raspberry Gin and we still have enough to eat at breakfast layered with oats and yoghurt and to make a fresh batch of raspberry vinegar.

There’s a ready supply of peas, beans, carrots, salad leaves and beetroot, though the carrot germination wasn’t good this year.  We have a steady trickle of tomatoes, though I suspect that we will reach glut proportions in a week or two.

leeks in garden August

Looking ahead, the leeks have been transplanted into their winter beds and are growing well.

leek dibber with spade and fork

On the left of the photo is the dibber to make the holes for the leeks. Constructed from scaffold pipe, it makes a monotonous job easier and saves a good deal of bending over.

guinea fowl in the garden

I’d hoped to have Brussels Sprouts again this winter. There’s always a dispute about whether to plant them or not; I like them because it’s handy to have a vegetable that’s easy to pick in the middle of winter but Bill thinks they take up too much room and look a mess. I got my way this year and the plants were growing well until the guinea fowl decided that the sprout bed was the best place on the entire farm to take a dust bath. They uprooted some of the plants and the remaining ones look pretty sickly. I noticed that Bill shouted at the guineas when they were eyeing up the carrot bed for their dust bath but has remained very quiet since they discovered the sprouts.

yellow courgettes

The courgettes are running amok and I have no idea why we have grown five plants when two would have been more than enough. I suppose the answer is that last year only one seed germinated and this year all of them did. The yellow courgettes are producing like there’s no tomorrow and are pressed on anyone who happens to pass by, though the green ones have hardly started yet.

pickled spiced courgette

This week I made pickled courgette, which we will (possibly) eat with cold meats in the autumn. Of course, it may languish on the pantry shelf for months, gradually disappearing behind the more attractive Spiced Crab Apples or chutneys. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, I have a batch of courgette cakes in the oven, which goes to show how desperate I am to use them up and am trying to convince Beth that Courgette Gin would be a winner.


You may also be interested in:

Slamseys Raspberry Gin

Raspberry Vinegar Recipe

How to deal with a glut of tomatoes





37 thoughts on “the garden in August

  1. Ha ha, most entertained by this post. Jealous, as well! For some reason we never managed to get courgettes to grow properly in Yorkshire, even though everyone else says they grow like weeds… Raspberries and plums: delicious! Courgette cake sounds yummy and I don’t suppose you’re short of ideas, but I do like a courgette fritter (with some cheese in the batter, so it starts oozing in the pan). Enjoy the abundant times!

    1. The courgette cake was surprisingly yummy. All courgette inspired recipes are welcomed with open arms and courgette fritters sound very good. I like the idea of including cheese too. Do you grate the courgettes?

  2. Oh you have gleanies – I love them!
    We had gleanies on the farm when I was growing up!

  3. I love your picture of the plums – I have been looking forward to making a plum cake and today I finally got round to doing it. Well worth it, I have to say 😉

    1. The tree looks as though it should have quite a heavy crop this year, so I’m looking forward to trying out some different recipes instead of boring poached plums and custard. Plum cake sounds a good idea.

      1. I’ll try and get it all written up before they are overripe! And there’s always plum jam, another one of my favourites!

  4. Love your plums and your guinea fowl tales! I am afraid I laughed outright at Bill shouting at them invading the carrots but keeping quiet at them dust bathing in the sprout patch as I can’t stand Brussels sprouts and have every sympathy with him! I do like the idea of planting for the winter while it is still the previous summer – makes everything seem to belong together somehow. I hate the sense of one year slipping away without trace and not belonging properly to the next. I must plant something for the winter myself. But Not Sprouts! E x

    1. I agree about the seasons tying in together – I suppose we do a similar thing (but sort of in reverse) by making jams and preserves. How can you not like little button sprouts that look like baby cabbages?

  5. Deep fried courgette sticks in a mildly spiced, crispy batter are yummy if spice and artery clogging deep fried foods are welcome in your house that is 🙂
    (sticks are best if around 2cm wide).

    1. I suspect that deep fried courgette sticks will appeal to several members of the family – certainly more than ratatouille. Thanks for the suggestion.

  6. My apologies if you have already posted these but I can’t find either the courgette pickle or cake. Thanks for the lovely image of the guinea fowl -I’m south African so I have a special affection for them.

  7. The courgette cake is from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess and the pickle from Pamela Westland’s Food for Keeps.
    I love my guinea fowl, though there are times when I could quite happily send them back to Africa.

  8. Hmmm… courgette gin does sound like real desperation. But sometimes these things turn out to be so much better than they sound. If this one does, I hope you’ll post instructions… meantime it might be as well to keep the raspberry gin going too!

  9. How odd to be having a discussion about the merits, or lack of, of brussel sprouts in the summer, normally the only time you ever hear mention of them in the UK is in relation to including them in the chistmas dinner. Then the debate seems to be a sort of obligatory tradition to cook them even though no one really likes them, with all of the celeb chefs vying to out do each other with increasingly tricked up recipies to disguise the taste of the sprouts.

    One of the very best things about moving to Australia was learning about the concept of the baked dinner, the difference between it and a roast dinner is that all the veg goes in the oven as well (so easy, so little washing up). Everything, including the brussel sprouts, and it turns out that they are fantastic done this way, very sweet and nutty. So I say to all you brussel dissenters give it a go, you wont regret it, I have turned around all my UK relatives and friends and they are now fans of the roasted brussel!

    1. How true. Maybe this will be the Christmas that celebrity chefs cook the sprouts in the oven. I’m going to give it a go – all the other veg done this way taste great so why not sprouts? Wish I’d thought of this before.

  10. What a delicious post! I adore courgette cake so will be making lots myself next season. I’ll also be trying out a chocolate courgette cookie recipe 🙂 Will post my recipe if it’s a winner!

    1. The courgette cake was really good (to everyone’s surprise). Look forward to seeing the chocolate courgette cookie – sounds intriguing.

  11. Courgette gin… hmm… sounds nine parts horrible and one part intriguing. Mix into some sort of gin bloody mary?

  12. Great post Anne. You make me laugh. I have done that with courgettes before. Love the sound of those cakes and gin! Your leeks look wonderful! And I totally get your hubbies silence when those birds are in the Brussel garden. My hubby would do the same 🙂 happy gardening

  13. Courgette and ginger cake or fairy cakes are faves in Mudville 🙂

    Had another thought about the courgettes and why I didn’t think to post this with my first message is anyone’s guess because it’s something I do every year. I freeze them and then use them in soups, stews, casseroles and bolognaise sauce etc during autumn/winter.

    Apologies if I’m teaching you to suck eggs but here goes:

    Chop into 1 inch cubes (well as near cubelike as a cylindrical shape can be);
    melt enough butter in a frying pan to liberally coat the number of cubes you are frying;
    fry for about 1 minute tossing the courgette pieces to ensure they are thoroughly coated;
    then tip onto baking tray and allow to cool down completely; and then
    put into freezer bags and place in freezer.

    The butter helps prevent the cubes from sticking together like glue and also makes them easier to separate when you want to grab a handful to chuck into a winter warmer 🙂

    1. Thanks for this – I don’t usually bother to freeze courgettes other than in ratatouille but will give this a try. Definitely not sucking eggs!

  14. I love the garden fork with a tine missing – still useful and obviously a much loved thing. I pickle courgettes, too – delicious and a great way to deal with a glut. Am envious that you have plums – my damsons are only just turning a deep purple. Looks like you’ll be having some lovely leeks this winter.

    1. Our damsons are just turning too. I was worried the wind over the weekend might knock them to the ground, but luckily the trees still look laden.

  15. Your garden looks just lovely Anne! Love that pretty light in the ladder photo. Your garden tools look practical and well worn and look at those crazy guineas enjoying themselves. Your pickled courgettes look beautiful, another great photo. Thanks for the tour.

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