The beautiful gardens of the Deanery at Worcester Cathedral with the River Severn and Malvern Hills beyond. Just the place to sip champagne on a warm summer’s evening at a reception before a concert in the cathedral as part of the Three Choirs Festival.

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I started two gallons of blackcurrant wine last week and it has been fizzing and bubbling away merrily. Tomorrow I’ll strain off the fruit and put it into demijohns to finish fermenting. It should be drinkable by Christmas but it’s a lovely summer drink so I’m going to try and keep some back until next year.

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This summer is turning out to be a real cracker with plenty of sunshine and warm balmy evenings, with lots of opportunities to eat dinner in the garden, sipping a glass of wine as the sun goes down.

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A bonanza of blackcurrants

Both Mr Greedy Gardener and I are extremely fond of blackcurrants so a few years ago, we prepared a bed on the allotment with lashings of good compost and purchased six of the finest blackcurrant bushes we could lay our hands on. Last year, they fruited properly for the first time and we were amazed to discover that we had 28lbs of fruit in total. This year, they have done even better and the fruit are enormous, so the harvest is getting on for 40lbs. That’s a lot of fruit, even for gluttons like us.

Blackcurrants all get ripe at the same time and picking so much fruit was a daunting task so we enlisted the help of various friends and neighbours. Despite amply rewarding them with several pounds of fruit each, we still have an abundance. I started off two gallons of blackcurrant wine yesterday which took care of 8lbs and also put a couple of pounds to steep in vodka to make a liqueur. We’re going away for a few days so the remaining fruit is being frozen in bags of a pound apiece to make jam in a couple of weeks time and for putting in pies and on our breakfast over the winter.

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Just a fraction of our blackcurrant harvest washed and ready to be picked over before making jam.

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One of the reasons I bought a small polytunnel a couple of years ago was to grow aubergines. I absolutely love them but they are difficult to grow outside in the UK. Aubergines originate from tropical regions so they don’t cope well with our changeable maritime climate, not just the rain we get all year round but also the sometimes sharp drop in temperature at night, even in summer. They prefer consistently warm temperatures and lots of sunshine, but then, don’t we all. The sunshine I can’t so much about, but a polytunnel means that they can be grown in an environment where the temperature doesn’t fluctuate so much and they can be protected from the odd week of wet weather.

I first tried them a couple of years ago when the summer was so wet, everything in the solanum family that includes aubergines, tomatoes and potatoes, all got blight, even under cover. I tried again last year when the weather was much better but I’d underestimated how much watering polytunnels need and the plants succumbed to red spider mite. Looks like I’ve got the balance right this year and I’m looking forward to harvesting my first fruits in a few weeks time.

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The courgette glut has started. Maybe I shouldn’t have grown eight plants.

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  • A glorious evening at the allotment enjoying the fruits of our labour
  • A glorious evening at the allotment enjoying the fruits of our labour
  • A glorious evening at the allotment enjoying the fruits of our labour

A glorious evening at the allotment enjoying the fruits of our labour

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I started to grow cucumbers a couple of years ago when I got my poly tunnel. I do nothing fancy, just sow the seeds indoors then put the young plants in the polytunnel in April. This year I have just three plants and I am supplying the neighbourhood. I’m just hoping I’ll have the same success with aubergines.

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The rain yesterday gave the allotment a much needed soaking and made the soil beautifully soft for easy weeding.

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