Our overwintering onions and garlic did extremely well. Early summer vege, like lettuce, peas, broadbeans and mangetout did quite well, but the late summer crop such as tomatoes, zucchinis, green beans, sweet corn, aubergines and peppers was in some cases non-existant, and in others, no better than poor.
This is about three-quarters of this year's pathetic crop.The garden is mulched heavily with straw and we have installed two water butts which would hold a total of 600 litres of water when full. Since their installation the most they have ever collected in one go is 150 litres. I calculate we need about 200 litres a week to keep the vegetables going. There is also the amount of physical effort required and the time to be considered. However, I have no plans to scale down the vegetable garden. I'm sure if I do that the weather system will revert to raining every couple of weeks throughout the summer and I would bemoan the missed opportunity. Mind you, if it rains regularly, I bet that diseases such as tomato blight are rife, so you can't guarantee a crop even in a more temperate season.
Our cunning plan for next year is to grow some late summer vege in pots up at the house, where we can water it easily. We were successful this way with tomatoes and peppers in 2009, and it does not involve any real extra work.
For now in the vegetable garden, we need to mow the paths and get ready to plant next year's onions and the garlic bulbils I've saved. They won't produce a crop until 2012, but we've got the space, and plenty of garlic from this year to last us until they mature. After the hazelnut crop is collected then we need to mow the orchard one last time for the year, before the orchids start to emerge in October-November. I disturbed a tiny Grass Snake Natrix natrix (Couleuvre à collier in French) the other day - slimmer than a pencil and not much longer. It was heading for the big pile of fruit tree prunings, which we have left in one corner to provide shelter for creatures such as this. Grass clippings get piled up nearby, and last year a large Western Whip Snake Hierophis viridiflavus (Couleuvre verte et jaune in French) seems to have hibernated and nested in the pile of straw in the shade of the paulownia. I'm guessing it will do so again, since some rather tasty looking young shrews have taken up residence in the pile, and a large family of Common Wall Lizards Podarcis muralis (Lézard des murailles in French), their favourite food, live in the adjacent logs.