Autumn blues

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It is some time since my last blog as I have been kept busy having  decided to go it alone and set up my own site which I am still working on.  Secondly my wife and I organise a charity golf day every year and I am delighted  to say we raised over £10,000 all of which will be used to benefit families affected by cystic fibrosis. see our Facebook Page for pictures and more details.

Now to gardening matters

With Autumn well and truly with us the colours in the garden are changing from green to brown, yellow and red. While the annual flowers start to fade the dahlias still give a brilliant splash of colour in the border. This will last until the first frost blackens the foliage and it will be time to lift the tubers again.

What of the vegetable garden?

Beans

Beans still surviving the colder nights
Runner beans still surviving the colder nights

Runner beans are in full stride and the glut is being dealt with by sharing with friends and making runner bean soup which is a lot more delicious than it sounds. I never think frozen beans are as nice as when fresh so we freeze them as soup.

Leeks

Nearly all my leeks have bolted and I have been busy cutting the heads off to prevent them flowering but I don’t think they will bulk up any more so the prospects for a long season of harvesting is very bleak.  I can only assume the topsy turvy weather in Spring and Summer upset their time clocks !!

Onions

These were dried off on the soil surface and are now hung up in nets in the garage.  I will check them regularly in case any go soft and start to rot.  Over all  I am happy with the crop .

I recently planted my Autumn planting onions, shallots and garlic cloves, they should overwinter nicely in a sheltered part of the garden and mature in late spring and early summer. I applied an onion fertiliser and planted them in shallow drills just covering the bulbs with the tips just showing on the surface. Special varieties are required for this time of year and the ones I am using are;   Garlic – Provence Wight,  Onions – Shakespeare and  shallots – Yellow Moon. Despite having a nice area of bare earth where I lifted my potatoes a local cat decided to ignore it and scrape up my onions instead!!  Once I cleared up the mess I noticed substantial roots had formed on the sets in just a week which suggests they will be well established by winter. I lightly pruned the holly tree and as I replanted  the sets I spread the prickly holly leaves throughout the bed. To date the fear of pricked paws seems to be keeping the cats away.

Courgettes
Are still growing and supplying a plentiful supply of fruit and courgette and potato soup has been a regular part of our diet. It is noticeable that they are not bulking up now.

Apples

Gathering the Bramleys
Gathering the Bramleys

Bramley started dropping two weeks ago and as strong winds were forecast I decided it was time to pick them.  I managed to get most of them using a pair of steps but there were others out of reach.  Reverting to childhood I had some fun climbing among the branches to pick the rest.  This was not without mishap as I got my foot jammed between two branches and it took a fair bit of tugging to set it free.  My wife was standing fussing below and an apple slipped from my hand and struck her on the head.  I was most concerned when I saw the bruising on the Apple, it won’t keep!!! There was no need to go to A&E but I wonder why my wife has put a camp bed at the summerhouse door ?
At the end of the day we had the biggest crop for years. Some had been damaged by codling moth but still usable.

Inspecting the apple crop
Inspecting the apple crop

Figs

Are ripening slowly and we have enjoyed  only three so far. Hoping he rest ripen before the frost comes !

In the greenhouse

Tomatoes

My tomatoes continue to ripen nicely but botrytis (mould) is now appearing on the plants.  I keep removing affected leaves but the cooler nights mean so much more condensation which encourages it. Still I am happy with the crop. Feeding has been stopped and watering much reduced. This sunny weather we are enjoying is speeding up the ripening.

OTHER MATTERS

The affected tomatoes
The affected tomatoes

Some tomato plants outside were showing signs of blight so I immediately lifted them and threw them in the Council bin.  I’m keeping a close eye on the rest of the plants to make sure the blight has not affected them as I want to use them for green tomato chutney.

Jobs for next week

I must sow my overwintering beans. I will put them where the potatoes were and give the ground a light sprinkling of organic chicken manure pellets to sustain them through the winter. The variety I use is Aquadulce Claudia and i will look forward to picking my first beans in late Spring.

Another job will  be to plant Spring flowering like crocus, daffodil and tulip amongst others, in containers. I will leave them behind the summerhouse in a sheltered spot until they emerge when I will move them into the garden. I will place a couple of containers of bulbs in the greenhouse for an earlier display of colour.

Although shorter than usual my tale is over and I hope you enjoyed reading it.

Please feel free to leave your comments, I welcome them.

If you have a question you wish answered in depth please contact me by email at summerhousetales@outlook.com.

Thanks for reading and enjoy your garden.

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