The scent of summer
Before revelling in the flavours of summer I have to farewell spring. Today I picked the last bunch of sweet peas, and their glorious scent fills the air next to my computer.
In the vegetable garden, the broad beans have just finished (the last handful will accompany seared scallops for dinner this evening), and the snow peas have been pulled up. I have chopped both broad bean and pea plants and they are now in the compost bin. Summer is the time for beans, so easy to grow and so many different varieties. I love salads of tender beans with small waxy potatoes, sometimes with butter-crisped sage leaves on top, sometimes with a crisp rasher of streaky bacon. I have a row each of slender green and yellow bush beans, and the tall Kingston Wonder yellow climbers are just starting to reach the tall supporting stakes. In a month I will plant more bush beans.
I am in between crops of salad leaves and am impatiently waiting for my leaves to be big enough to harvest. Meanwhile I’ll scatter some rocket seed in the wine barrel with the zucchini so that it doesn’t invade the entire garden and see how it copes with restricted space.
Summer is also the moment for zucchini. This year I am growing a small, round variety that is delicious when picked at golfball size, and in a wine barrel a plant of the pale-skinned Lebanese zucchini. Two healthy zucchini plants will be plenty for my family of one to three.
I have planted seeds of three different small melons, all obtained from Diggers Seeds. I have French Charentais, Sugar Baby and Golden Midget watermelon. I was so delighted last summer when my ONE watermelon matured – it was about the size of a netball – and it was so sweet. Melon and pumpkins do like plenty of sunshine and they also like to romp, so make sure they have room to roam.
Sweet peppers and capsicums really need the full heat of summer. They are great choices for school kitchen gardens as they will revel in the heat of January (providing the plants can be kept watered) and will reward with their best crops in February when school resumes.
Happy holidays and here’s hoping for bountiful crops.