This is the first summer for years that I haven't had my allotment to grow fruit and vegetables so I have been trying to squeeze some into our garden at home.
The photograph above shows the extent of the garden, rather dominated by my rotary clothes drier which I usually remove and put away in the shed when visitors see the garden! The picture is taken from an upstairs window which faces west, so the border alongside the right hand fence faces south and is sunny when the sun is high in the sky but along the south and west boundary are trees and shrubs in neighbouring gardens that block a lot of the light. The house shades the garden in the early morning.
Despite this I have had some success fitting in a few crops, trying out several to see which works.
There is a grape vine growing up trellis on the back of the house producing small black grapes, the bunches are starting to develop.
Alpine strawberries are dotted throughout the garden but do better where they get some sun.
Everything is mixed together, here are broad beans next to chard with the blueberry bush in the background.
The beans haven't been very prolific but at least we have had a few. Next year I am thinking of autumn planting so that the plants can get established when there is less competition from surrounding plants to see if this increases the yield.
I have just two courgette plants.
My raspberries which grow in the sun up against the fence are autumn fruiting ones which seem to do well and are very easy to look after. I just leave them alone until February when I cut them down to a few inches above ground, all the fruit is produced on the current seasons growth.
This year I have grown kale for the first time, black kale
and curly kale
which is doing surprisingly well since it is tucked behind the beans.
Here is another picture of the beans, the ones on the left are purple climbing french beans grown from seed saved from last year and there are runner beans on the right.
In the small border alongside the shed I have a few strawberries which are over now, kale and lettuce. At the far end is a dwarf apple tree, Discovery which however I try to stake it insists on growing towards the light.
I have two bigger trees in the garden. This is a crab apple, John Downie, which looks lovely covered with white blossom in the spring and the bright orange fruits at the end of the summer (some photographs here). It looks like it will be a good crop this year.
The second is a Bramley apple which is very vigorous and rapidly out growing its space and and is also laden with fruit.
Trying to keep a succession of plants growing is proving difficult as I run out of space to put things, here are a few young chard plants growing under the redcurrant bushes
and a few lettuces planted amongst the spring flowering plants underneath a self seeded elder bush.
I've picked two pounds of red-currants this year from two bushes, not a great yield but the plants are in shade for almost the entire day.
Last but not least, salad leaves growing in pots, all at different stages of growth, this one still protected from the local cats!
So far I am most pleased with the pots of salad leaves, the red-currants and the chard. The strawberries have been disappointing but some of the plants were new this year and they spend most of the day in shade which isn't ideal.
Overall though I feel that the garden has been quite successful and taking these photographs has made me realise just how much produce can be grown in a relatively small garden.