I was very happy to get the contract from Phaidon yesterday for the book that I have spent the past nine months working on, I wanted something to come of it and now it looks like it will. I have the great Andrew Montgomery taking the photos and my friend Louise Bell has been by my side the whole time as my editor, I did not know that a sentence should not really last a page and a half. And then Helen helped make it all happen with the presentation and then there was Thomas and Perry to hold me together, I am known to get a little over the top and need to be slapped down. We hope the book will be out in Autumn 2016.
Sometimes in life you can get the timing perfect on a job and yesterday I think we got just that. We cleaned up the artichokes, the old ones had there stems cleaned up and removed ready for them to put on the new growth before we get cold weather, it is good for them to have a good leaf cover on for the winter. The young ones have taken over from the old ones, Christopher would be very pleased with the cropping.
Today we cut down the mizuna that the flea beetle had eaten most of, they did not leave a great deal for us. I wanted to cut it down and let it start again in the hope it will come back much better and be perfect or at least have some leaves that people will want to eat for the September symposium, these events are always in the back of my mind, when you are away fresh salad’s are needed. As a rule I do not plant rocket and mustard like crops till after the 4th July when the flea beetle have moved on.
This is what got me through the winter, the idea that if I worked hard enough and got the soil well composted in the winter I would be able to have another great crop of tomatoes in the summer and the other day was the first tomato tart of the season down here, it was a joy to taste the tart again and our plants are really starting to produce some good fruit so there will be more tomato tarts coming out of the GD kitchen this summer.
I have to say I do feel very bad that I let the fruit cage get into the state that it got into, I should have given the plants water last week, putting them under stress like that does open them up to pests and diseases that you really do not want in the middle of summer, it did play on my mind in bed last night and so this morning I have made sure that a large part of the garden has had water, it will all be so much better for it, and I may sleep better tonight…….Good night.
We have taken the lead from Tom and cleaned up around the soft fruit in the fruit cage today. As I write this the water is on up in the fruit cage because the plants are so dry and are starting to look like they are under stress, we have taken away any plants that are growing too close to the soft fruit plants. Tom was cutting the meadow in the orchid, this will help the fruit trees get any water we get in this dry summer, it will also mean that he can get to the trees to summer prune and them before too long pick the fruit.
I was feeling great about my tomato plants till I went and had lunch and a look around with the great Tom Coward, it does remind one how things can be done on such a level. Tom and the team do such a great job with the vegetable production for the hotel. I like to go there and take photos of different things that I could and will do much better here at GD, I think it is good to have someone to look up to and get ideas from.
The tomatoes got a day of sorting today, lower leaves taken off and ties put on those that have put on more growth since the last time we looked at them. I love the work for many reason, two of them being, I love the smell of the job and another is it gives me a good chance to really see what is going on with each plant. The variety that interests me most at the moment is T. ‘Blue beauty’, this is new to me and has the most interesting purple fruit which have a high anti-oxidant content, I will keep a close eye on them and start to eat them the minute they are ripe.