October is knocking and the dark nights are rolling in. It is the time of year for warm fires, stews and hot soups. But still the garden is providing despite the early frost of a fortnight ago. Cabbages have had a good year, as have onions. I do wonder though if the onions will store well as they have grown so big. The tomatoes were late but are still ripening. We’re enjoying apple and raspberry crumble too.
This is an old Irish variety called Gortnahort
Onions have done well
Brambley cooking apples
We haven’t bought any eating apples for a good two months now and these red pixie apples are still to harvest.
Eating apple, Pixie
One of the great things about autumn is free seeds. I have been harvesting some from my flowers and already have lupins, delphiniums, campanula and some wild flowers including ox-eyed daisy, foxgloves and ragged robin germinating and growing.
Ox eyed daisy seedlings
The chicks are growing too, and are spending most of their day in the greenhouse in a little enclosure that keeps the from digging young lettuce plants up!
We are definitely having an early autumn this year. Leaves are already beginning to turn and blackberries are ripening. While the summer seems warmer than last year, these last few weeks have been showery with very few dry or really warm days. In the garden, we’re enjoying the first plums and apples but like last year the pears have a very bad case of scab and are splitting and seem inedible. Not sure if this has been exasperated by the damp and often humid weather.
The weather has definitely brought on the potato blight, which we get each year. But this year the potatoes did go in on time and those we have harvested are a good size. Cabbages too are appreciating the plentiful rain and where not ravaged by slugs, snails and caterpillars are getting big.
Red cabbage protected by netting
Cabbage protected by netting
Runner beans have done much better than last year too. Not sure if it is because I got them in early and they had a couple of warm, dry weeks in May to get well established.
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Interestingly the courgettes outside are doing better than the one in the polytunnel or greenhouse. The older plants have established much better.
Bumblebee pollinating courgette
Carrots again failed to germinated well and / or were eaten by slugs! The same with beetroot, which last year I grew in modules before planting out. I must remember this for next year! Squash, are small and will probably not come to much. I feel that each year you need to grow a variety of vegetables and then hopefully something will do well!
So is growing your own vegetables and fruit a sign of “thrift” – defined by the Oxford dictionary as “the quality of using money and other resources carefully and not wastefully”?
There is nothing better than retrieving little cache of vegetables from the garden!
Runner beans are doing really well this year and this is the biggest kohlrabi I have yet grown at 1.5Ibs!
Inspired by this week’s – one a week photo challenge – cache
Why do we feel compelled to create gardens? My own garden has not so much being created but its journey has been an organic process of gradually fitting in what I wanted from a garden, around what was already there. The very first thing we did was fence off a vegetable plot at the same time the house was being built, as that was a priority for me. We started with fence but planted the beech hedge to provide extra shelter, and that is now well grown.
first year of veg plot
Veg plot (2016)
Second was the wildlife pond. It took a bit longer to complete but now it looks like it has always been there.
Pond with liner (2007)
Over the years we have acquired a tunnel, planted more fruit trees, and the wildflower meadow is a work in progress as there is always new plants that can be added. And then one year we had a bit of extra cash which allowed us to build the greenhouse.
Wildflower meadow and fruit trees
The last two years I have been working on the flower garden.
I never get bored in the garden. There is always something to do, something new to create. Though really all I am doing is adding to mother nature and to some degree managing her. Though if you walked into our garden at the moment you’d see that there isn’t a huge amount of management going on, as they wet weather recently has meant no grass cutting and work has meant little weeding, so it’s all a a bit wild. But I do like it like that!
Daily Prompt: Create
The last two years I seem to have struggled getting the vegetable plot in order. Just when I think I am getting things under control the weeds seem to take over! Currently the autumn strawberries and the blueberries are somewhat overwhelmed with weeds
We’ve had a reasonable crop of purple sprouting broccoli and broccoli (which I started last autumn inside. Mange tout are cropping both inside and outside and broad beans are coming slowly.
Purple sprouting brocolli
The potatoes are doing well. Cabbages are suffering a bit of slug damage – how the slugs love them! I surround them with broken egg shells which does help a little. Usually I can get some lettuce going early in the year, but anything I have set outside this year has just vanished. So I’ll concentrate growing these tender leaves in the polytunnel. Of course the weeds in the raspberry and blueberry beds are probably havens for slugs, and the recent damp weather doesn’t help either. We did watch a blackbird dismantle a slug the other day, but it did seem to have a problem with the slime.
Leeks, onions, parsnip, beetroot, red and white cabbages, courgettes and runner beans are all planted out. I have the latter two planted in the tunnel too in case we don’t get a warm summer. In the greenhouse, I have just recently planted tomatoes and cucumbers.
So if I can just keep on top of the weeds and slugs it will all be fine!
Things are definitely greening up. But unlike previous months February has been wet so it’s practically impossible to do anything outside. Even in the polytunnel and greenhouse I have been slow enough getting things going. I only planted the potatoes in the polytunnel last week. I have gone for ‘Charlotte’ as they did well for me again last year.
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I’ve planted salad crops and the first of these are beginning to germinate. Over wintered broad beans got some kind of dieback a few weeks ago so I have had to start afresh. So no early broadbeans this year!
The comfrey is coming on well both inside and outside and perennials are starting to show new growth too. I collected wild foxglove seed last autumn and these have germinated well. I overwintered them in the greenhouse and have put them outside to harden off. I did the same with Ragged Robin seed and have already planted some of these plug plants into the meadow.
The daffodils have been battered a bit by storm Doris and the continuing wet and windy weather, but they are doing their best. Jemima ii is sitting on eggs. I must say I am impressed with her persistent as she decided to make her nest outside and has endured all sorts of weather including the storm! I had always thought domestic ducks were not good sitters but she is certainly proving me wrong, at least for now. But I am not counting my ducks before they hatch!
Spot the duck!
You may remember a couple of months back, our duck, Jemima passed away. Well, we have a new duck, thanks to our generous neighbour.
Nelson and Jemima ii
Seeing as the new duck was so like our original one we have decided to called her Jemima the Second. She is quite shy but gradually seems to be settling into her new home. Currently she and Nelson are hard at work finding slugs in the vegetable plot. Though Nelson does seem to prefer the poultry field and duck pond!
(Apologies for quality of photo, it was taken with my phone not my camera!)
September is here and the garden year is beginning to wind down. Despite our wet summer we have had reasonable crops – warmer temperatures than last summer probably helping.
We’ve been enjoying juicy Victoria plums and Beauty of Bath apples (an early variety).
Many of the apple trees have cropped well and we are looking forward to tasting them all. I see each apple as having its own melody; smell, taste, texture are all different.
James Grieve apple
Annie Elizabeth apple
Pears have not done well this year – the few we have are covered in scab and are now beginning to crack. But it is the first year we have had Japanese Quince (only six though!).
In the vegetable plot, beans have done well. Garlic definitely benefited from being planted last October. Cabbages have thrived in the damp conditions. Squashes are few and far between and onions which I planted late are understandably small! All and all not too bad a harvest though.