Welcome to Autumn

Summer houseDespite the nip in the air which has welcomed Autumn it still gets quite warm in the summerhouse when there is a blink of sunshine. It is here you find me having blotted my copybook once again!  After a session of weeding I sat down for lunch only to be met by a horrified “look at your nails ! Are you not wearing your gloves out there?”. I explained I was but after heaving around paving slabs when laying a new path I had worn the fingertips through. “That is no excuse ” I was told “Go and give these nails a good scrub or there is  no lunch for you my man !” Ah well so much for the bonus points I built up over the last few weeks, I don’t suppose a nice courgette and potato soup will be enough to get me back in favour.

Now to the garden

Courgettes

They continue to produce in numbers which we use in a variety of ways. My courgette of choice is Defender which is resistant to mildew and a great cropper.

Beans

Runner bean plants
Runner beans cropping well

Dwarf french beans have continued to give pickings but are now on their last legs.

Runner beans have started cropping  and with plenty of blossom will continue to provide tender tasty beans until the first frosts.

Beetroot

Has been the best for years and I had forgotten what a delicious vegetable it is. I had it boiled with a nice piece of haddock and potatoes the other day, simple but brilliant.

Onions

Have been reasonable and I have dug them up and are drying off on the ground until I store them in a cool place in a  few days.

Potatoes

potatoes, beans, tomatoes, courgettes, onion
Some of my harvest

I saw black spots starting to appear on the foliage and fearing it was the start of potato blight I cut off the shaws and dumped them in the council brown bin. It was with some apprehension that I dug the first of the potatoes with a fork. I was convinced they would be wee marbles but no! The first shaw yielded 3.5 kilos of scab free potatoes. Thinking I had just struck it lucky I dug up another shaw with the same result. It may not be a record yield but it suits me very nicely.

I grew Pentland Dell which is a blight resistant variety but I was concerned that the disease might get down into the tubers hence the speedy disposal of the foliage. For more information on blight and blight resistant varieties click on this site.

Dahlias

Anyone  visiting the Dundee Flower and Food Festival could not help but be amazed by the fantastic display of dahlias. It takes months of dedication by the exhibitors to achieve such beautiful perfection. One of their enemies  is the earwig, or as we knew it when I was young, the forkie tailie or forkie for short. These insects can ruin a bloom in a night by eating the petals. I have known exhibitors smear vaseline on the stems to prevent the forkie reaching the bloom. A bit messy but I believe it works. If you are not exhibiting your blooms then try placing an upside down pot filled with straw or scrunched up paper on top of the supporting cane and empty it daily. You will be surprised how many forkies you catch and thus preserve the beauty of your blooms.

In the greenhouse

Tomatoes

They have been prolific over the last two weeks but there are many still to ripen. I know some gardeners remove unripe tomatoes and try to ripen them indoors. I prefer to leave them on the vine until the plant starts to wither. I will however gradually reduce watering and remove leaves to speed up ripening. Hopefully, if we have a month with sunshine, most will ripen.

Other Matters

Comfrey/Nettle  Experiment

To date the Tomorite fed courgette plant has produced 3.4 kilos of courgettes whereas the comfrey/nettle plant only 1.8 kilos. There is no way now that that this superiority will change as the Tomorite plant is still going strong.

Tomatoes, the Tomorite treated plants have produced 2 kilos and comfrey/nettle plants  2.5 kilos. As I mentioned previously the comfrey/ nettle tomatoes started ripening earlier but suffered from magnesium defficiency. In a taste test I gave the comfrey/ nettle tomatoes the edge but I may be prejudiced. Any volunteers to confirm my tasting ?

Plantings in areas not previously in cultivation

Tomato plants with lots of green tomatoes
A row of green tomato chutney

Tomatoes behind the greenhouse have grown well but with only two tiny ripe tomatoes so far I fear there will be a glut of green tomato chutney in the house this year. It is unfortunate but I wonder what the result might have been had it been a good summer?

Squash in the area beside my compost bins is an absolute disaster with plenty growth but not a single squash. Mind you this also applied to the squash in the main part of the garden.

I also planted a courgette at the back of the house which gets little sun but it has so far produced 1kilo.

Runner bean plant over a stone wall
Runner beans hiding the wall

A rather surprising success has been the three runner beans which I had given up for dead and planted them against the wall beside my compost bins. They have flourished and I will be picking beans later this week. They have provided a nice cover for the unsightly wall and some nice colour with the red and white blossom.

Autumn Reading

With the nights creeping in I like to turn to some reading of an evening and a friend recommended a very interesting book, “Creative Vegetable Garden” by Joy Larkcom.  If like me you are bored seeing traditional rectangular plots with vegetables planted in straight lines then reading this book will inspire you to  make your vegetable garden stand out from the crowd. You will find super ideas to fire your creativity with wonderful designs and planting suggestions for a colourful and interesting display of vegetables. There are also imaginative combinations of flowers and vegetables featured.  Well worth reading.

That is my tale for today, please leave a comment or raise any gardening problem you may have below.

I wonder if any of the apples are ripe yet? If one comes away when I give it a gentle twist, then it will be. Perhaps a humble apple pie will be enough to get me back in favour?

Enjoy your gardening.

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