This week saw our final tomato harvest, gathering the fruit that we had left to ripen on leafless cordons in the greenhouse, after our recent visit from blight.
The disease had finally begun to blacken some of the remaining stems and spread into the fruits, so we picked the last of the healthy crops. We are lucky that they have almost all ripened well, so we can savour them in a few last salads, and make sauces for the freezer, rather than resorting to vats of green tomato chutney.
We’re also lucky, given the rather damp and cool summer, to be picking outdoor peaches, from the old tree which stands somewhat awkwardly alone in the midst of our vegetable patch, taking the full brunt of the winds and weather that sweep across our hilltop. Some of the fruit are rather small, and a large number have ripened too fast for me, turning from a promising pink blush to wizened brown husks almost overnight, or dropping to the ground to be reduced to a pulp. But the fruits I have captured have been deliciously sweet and juicy, always a surprising bounty to me, growing unprotected on an open hilltop in South Wales.
As the weekend drew to a close, I also dug up all our onion crops and spread them out on the potting bench in the greenhouse to dry for a few days. We grew these from unnamed heat-treated sets this year, and while their sizes vary, each and every one looks healthy, with no sign of the white rot that usually starts to devour our crops. Another unexpected bonus after the year’s high rainfall, these should hopefully store well and keep us going long into the winter.
These are all crops that could easily have failed, and spectacularly too, after such a poor summer; so while we may not have a single pear from our two cordons, and the crab apples we have foraged were far fewer and smaller than usual, there are still many things to be grateful for.