Thursday, 29 September 2011

A Summery Autumn

Isn't it great finally to get some warm weather, just when we thought winter was on the way? Only a week or so ago there was talk of frost and snow in October, but now it looks as if we are going to have a couple of weeks of mild and settled weather. Good news for the remaining tomatoes, peppers, squashes etc, an opportunity to ripen up properly before harvesting.

I was sitting outside the back door the other day, enjoying the last tiny patch of afternoon sun, when my attention was caught by a glistening spider's web festooning the backlit leaves of this blueberry bush.

And I love the colours of the new foliage on this lemon plant. Unfortunately it hasn't produced a single lemon, the biggest one got to was about an inch long, then it just shrivelled up. Mostly they don't develop at all. Please tell me if you can suggest what I might be doing wrong. I have tried hand pollinating, but to no avail.

Monday, 26 September 2011

New Plot Progress

So I have finished the strawberry bed, and the patch in front of that is designated next year's onion bed. I'm going to put some garlic in, just as soon as I've been and got some. I'm not sure what is supposed to be happening with the chrysanthemums, I think the old chap wanted to keep some propagation material from each variety, but I've no idea how to go about that, so I daren't touch them for now. I will have to speak to the site chairman about it. So the onion bed is only half done. No matter, I don't need much space for garlic, and won't be putting anything else in until next spring.

Next job was to tackle this end bit, which was covered in nettles and other weeds. They were growing on a mound, held up by the piece of metal 'retaining fence', which suggested there might be a pile of manure or some such underneath, and indeed there was. Once that manure has been spread around a bit I can take that fence out. It's not much to look at is it? I have pulled out a number of rusty old iron poles, and piled them up ready for the 'any old iron' truck to come round. I couldn't quite finish the job today - too exhausted - but once the area is clear I will be able to move my comfrey and rhubarb into it.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Work begins on the new plot

So now I am on plot number 3. I hope I stay put this time! This is the view from near the top end, showing how overgrown it has become since the current tenant, Baden Locke, (all round chrysanth expert and international chrysanthemum judge) became too frail to look after it. You can probably just make out the flowers he has grown this year.

I am keeping on the old plot until I have harvested and moved everything I still want, which will probably be early next spring if I am not to sacrifice all my psb like I had to last year.

This is the very top end, where I am planning to put comfrey and rhubarb.

From here right up to the fence you can just about see at the back, is fruit. There is a rickety shelter at the back, built out of wooden pallets and corrugated iron, and covered in brambles. There is also a compost bay made of corrugated sheet asbestos...... but as long as I leave it where it is it shouldn't present a problem.

This is the strawberry patch, soon after I started clearing it last week....

... and here it is after I'd finished clearing it, and before I started replanting all the plants in orderly rows! This is still a work in progress so hopefully next week I will be able to post pictures of the finished strawberry patch, and maybe a cleared area ready to put garlic in.

Monday, 12 September 2011


As instructed by Monty Don on Friday evening I have denuded all the tomato plants of their foliage, to encourage ripening. I also removed the tatty old sweet peas from around the outside and cleaned off all the shading paint. I'm hoping I won't be left with lots and lots of green tomatoes at the end of the season. I'm not that keen on green tomato chutney, to be honest.

These are the plants that were grown from sideshoot cuttings. I didn't think they were going to come to much, but in the end they have done really well. They don't look very pretty with all their leaves stripped off but you can see how much fruit they have produced. Being F1 hybrids, Sungold toms are not the best value for money, but with this technique you can make them go twice as far.

These are the first two peppers to start ripening, plenty more of these, although mostly quite small. No more aubergines to report, but lots of chillies ripening too.

I still haven't managed to get to the new plot, but I hope to make a start this week or next week, and will be carrying out the annual review shortly. It hasn't been the best year, with quite a few failures, but more on that next time....