My Garden ~ Mulberry, Lettuce and Broad Beans

Had a much needed but brief break. We stayed with my sister and her husband who have a coastal farm and a frost free growing climate. An old Mulberry tree (don’t know which variety) planted about four generations ago still bears lots of red fruit – if only they could get to pick a decent crop. The birds strip the fruit so quickly! The tree stands proudly in solitary splendour the survivor of an old orchard once planted by the forebears of this family. They are considering grafting so a new tree an be grown in the present family orchard and thus maintaining the link between family generations.

The recent rain was a such welcome relief from the dry conditions we’ve been experiencing since spring. When got back to our own garden, the potatoes are in flower, and recent sowings of peas, beetroot, carrots and radishes have sprouted. We planted more lettuce seedlings to keep up with the salads – Red Sails, Buttercrunch and frilly green and red leafed varieties. Generally for the next month I’ll focus on conserving moisture. February can be so hot here. I need to prune the Redhaven peach tree now the fruit has has finished.

Younger son and I talked about preparing vegie garden beds in time for winter plantings in March. In autumn, I like to sow a green manure crop like broad beans in some part of the garden which I can later dig the crop in – it’s great for conditioning the soil. Also love the way the bumblebees go for the flowers.

We do like eating the young Broad Beans. I generally just shell them, steam with a few sprigs of Savory and then serve with finely cut strips of grilled bacon. Sometimes I will add a small knob of butter or a spoonful of creme fraiche (as the mood dictates) to the hot beans. Sprinkle a few Savory leaves over the beans and enjoy a simple dish.

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