Not all Doom and Gloom in My Hesperides Garden

I know I sounded depressed in my post yesterday and I have been feeling down; so many plants suffering and feeling I could do so little.  But it really isn’t all despair in My Hesperides Garden.  The vegetable garden has been producing pretty well; true some crops have not been as plentiful as other years but many plants are thriving – the vegetable plot, orto in Italian gets irrigated each night but this is not enough for everything.

These sweet delicious orange fruits don’t always even make it into the kitchen, I just eat them like sweets while I’m in the garden

Tomatoes have been spectacular, they are planted in a bed that had manure spread last autumn and they have responded to the extra body in the soil by producing a wonderful crop.  My store cupboard is bulging with jars of homemade sauce and we’ve been eating them in so many ways EVERY DAY! – No, I’m not sick of them, I don’t really eat fresh tomatoes in winter, they are never the same as fresh picked in summer so in winter they are for cooking in sauces so I’m ahead of the game.  This is the first year I’ve made sauce, other years I’ve given huge quantities of tomatoes away and some have sadly just rooted on the kitchen work top.

These plus……

these, also from the garden, make wonderful roasted vegetables – I’ve made this almost every week for the last 6 weeks, not just for us but for parties too.

these were for Gazpacho – something else I make most weeks.

I love all the different small tomatoes, they are perfect in Mediterranean roast vegetables, or as a simple, hardly-cooked sauce or just to pop in the mouth as you pass by.

I often make a raw tomato sauce for hot pasta by whizzing tomatoes, without their seeds and water with a little oil and basil and sometimes a little added buffalo mozzarella.

The basil has also been better this year, not that it wants hot sun on it but with heat, shade and water I always have enough to make pesto and add to tomato salads etc.  Thai basil was new for me this year and although it seemed to take an inordinate time to grow into useful sized plants is now growing well and I’ve already frozen some leaves whole; the next batch I’ll chop first, it has such an evocative flavour of wonderful Thai curries that I’m inspired to cook more of them.  I think it might also be nice in cool drinks instead of mint or borage.

Today was a real high spot in my gardening life, I harvested my first peaches.  I planted small trees last autumn that I intend to grow as espaliers; they were really quite small so I had no great hopes of having a crop this year.  They are Redhaven and the label says they should be ready in July, well maybe because they a new trees or maybe the heat has stunted them they are ripe now!  They are quite small, no very small, because I didn’t prune off any of the fruit so the tiny tree has produced a large quantity of small but delicious fruit!  I had gingerly pressed them at the weekend but they seemed very hard; today they still felt hard (lack of water, I wondered?) so I picked one to eat and Wow!  It was juicy and sweet and well, just the perfect peach – to me anyway.  I harvested them all and I may put some into some white wine in the fridge so they last a little longer but the rest we’ll just enjoy as they are.  This year many people have found that tree fruit has gone from being under-ripe to over-mature in a day, due to the temperatures; but as there is a manageable quantity I’m sure we’ll be able to eat them before they spoil.

I suppose these should have been pruned to just one or two fruits!

The branches needed to be tied in to support the fruit

Sooooooo beautiful and juicy

…….and so many

……but small, I put the secateurs so you could see what size they are (but we’re always being told size isn’t everything!).

35 thoughts on “Not all Doom and Gloom in My Hesperides Garden

  1. I’m not envious of the incessant heat but I am envious of all that yummy food. I dream of peaches ripened on the tree unlike the supermarket versions on offer here. I remember them from holidays as a child, in the Med. To be able to grow all those tomatoes and aubergines would be a dream too. I’ve only just started picking courgettes and so far only had one. It shows how bad a year it has been, this time last year I had been picking them for 6 weeks and was in the midst of a glut.

    • We didn’t move to Italy for the sun, I’ve never liked the heat but this year it is exceptionally hot. My courgettes are slower this year, just too hot for them, but there are enough, so I’m happy. The yellow ones are very slow, do you have any experience of those? Christina

      • I grew some a few years ago but they weren’t as productive or as tasty. I’m trying a yellow patty pan this year but have yet to harvest! Think ‘Defender’ and ‘Romanesco’ are 2 of the best courgettes.

        • Yes, I always grow ‘Romanesco’; I even always chose those in the green-grocers here, even though they were always slightly more expensive. I agree about the taste of the yellow courgettes too, but I like the colour in roast vegetables and roasting improves the flavour anyway, but I’m not sure whether I’ll grow them again.

  2. Ah see this is what you get for persevering with all that sunshine and heat! Lovely harvests, much finer than we manage under glass. Our Welsh peach harvest will never match your crop, but each fruit will be savoured!

    • Well it could be beginners luck with the peaches as all the farmers around here spray madly and I don’t really want to do that. What do you do? I’ve been told that planting garlic around them is good. Christina

      • We do nothing to ours at all, though the tree stands to one side of the path through the veg patch, so garlic is usually growing somewhere nearby. The tree is in for some radical pruning once we’ve harvested this year as it’s stealing the view, fingers crossed it survives!

        • The farmers here always prune their fruit trees a lot; opening them up to a goblet shape or more often growing them out to an espalier shape to let in as much light as possible. So hopefully your tree will respond well. Christina

  3. Wonderful harvest and such a variety too, they say every cloud has a silver lining! So envious of your peaches, what a super crop you have there from your young tree.

  4. It’s hot here in Nevada too but our peaches aren’t quite ripe and our tomato plants are only producing a few tomatoes a day. Your abundance is inspiring! We have the same variety of peach — Red Haven — and haven’t ever had the number of fruits you have! They are delicious though — a wonderful tree.

    • Hi Donica, I know there are a lot for such a young tree but they are very small, two mouthfulls; but very good. It’s nice to think of you eating the same fruit in Nevada. Christina

  5. Christina, you’re lucky, very delicious harvest! I loveyour peaches, I’ve never seen how they grow and toyr trees are not high! My harvest is more simple.

  6. Christina what a wonderful surprise all those peaches…I love fresh peaches and remember picking them as child…my mother would make a fresh peach pie. And all your tomatoes…we have issues with early blight almost every year and so our cherry tomatoes will ripen but then no more will grow as the plant dies…I can say that the veg garden was my solace in all our heat…glad to see your lovely harvest.

  7. Excellent. Such bounty is pay-back for your otherwise very trying conditions. Your tomatoes and your peaches ……. wow. Cucumbers have done well here this year (I’ve had more than I can deal with) but toms are a huge disappointment.
    Can’t get over those peaches! D

    • The peaches were a surprise, as I said I only planted very small trees last autumn, I expected none at all. But they were very small so the crop wasn’t impossible to eat; they’re nearly all eaten already. C

  8. Your harvest looks fabulous! I am trying to decide why my own tomato harvest was so pitiful. I thought the hot, dry June maybe killed the pollinators, but the tomatoes that did develop were much smaller than usual. I like your idea of adding manure to the soil the previous fall, definitely something I can do!

  9. Your peach trees obviously love you already! Redhaven is a great variety. We used to grow it and it always produced beautiful fruit. You also grow amazing tomatoes, so all is certanly not doom and gloom, as you say. It’s cold here at the moment and hard to believe we’ll be hot in a few months, but I know we will, and so will the garden. Late summer is the worst time for the plants here, too, so I know how you feel. Just think about that snow you had last winter!

  10. What glorious peaches Christina, I’m so glad you had a good crop from them, and the tomatoes and veg look amazing, so tasty the photos have made my mouth water! Am now off to read yesterday’s post to find out why you were so down, I am so out of touch with everyone after the move.

  11. The weather can never be kind to all the plants and although some are suffering in the heat at least your vegetables are superb.
    I am amazed at how quickly and well the peaches fruited. They seem to like the hot dry weather, further north they suffer from insufficient sun and ours have been attacked by peach leaf curl so I removed some trees and put “Your time is approaching” notices on others. I think peaches are best suited to constantly sunny climes.

      • In the UK they advise you to cover them in the winter, to erect a sort of plastic tent around them. I believe it is a fungal problem and you cover them to deter the spores falling on the leaves. Once growing something gets as complicated as that I prefer to bow out. I will stick to fruits that thrive in more temperate climates apples, pears, plums etc.

        • Yes, it is a fungus Taphrina deformans which needs a wet spring to grow, we didn’t get that this year so I suppose that’s why the trees aren’t infected this year. Some good comes of no water! C

          • I think your climate is more naturally suited for peaches. Touch wood my apricot trees do not seem to have any nasty problems and have grown very rapidly. They should do well in Italy too.

            • My apricot is an early variety and every year except this has lost its flowers or early fruit to cold winds, I want to try a later variety. Christina

  12. Your harvest looks wonderful! I go to an orchard every year and pick dozens of peaches to make cobbler with. I’ve never heard of keeping peaches in white wine but it sounds delicious so I may have to give it a try. 🙂

    • They keep for a few days, not long term; this year all fruit has ripened and then gone bad really quickly so putting the peaches in white wine jsut means that they’ll be good for a few more days. Do try it though, its very good. Christina

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