Tuesday, 3 January 2017

October 2016: time to bring in the chillies and tomatoes

October is often a mild month and many of the summer crops are still growing, albeit slowly. There were some cold nights and the threat of frosts towards the end of the month so time to pick the chillies. There was a good crop on the plants that made it past the seedling stage but I lost most of them right at the start of the year. 

I always start the chillies indoors but we don't have an area in the house that is consistently warm enough for them. So, I use a propagator. Unfortunately, it is a very basic model: either on or off and if left on for too long it can get too hot. I was away for two days running some workshops and forgot to switch it off. On my return I was greeted with cooked chilli seedlings. A mistake I won't make again and time to invest in a thermostatically controlled propagator.

We picked all of the tomatoes and brought them indoors regardless of whether they were ripe or not. Some were beginning to turn and have been left to ripen in the kitchen. Others were nowhere near ready to ripen and used up in stir fries and omelettes. The last big green courgettes were picked but the baby yellow ones were left until frosts and slugs threatened. 

And I found I had a single, lone aubergine. When we started growing our own veg we had several years of successfully growing aubergines in pots outside (we don't have a greenhouse) but we then had three years when we didn't have the right weather at the right time. We gave up after that but this year I was given a plant so I thought I'd try again. I was underwhelmed by the yield but it was probably not the right variety for growing outdoors. They are not on my list for 2017.  

The runner bean seeds have been collected for next year. I've been saving these for so many years that I'm no longer sure what varieties I have apart from the white ones, which are Moonlight. Moonlight, however, has been a perennial disappointment. I have tried different suppliers as well as our own and grown in different locations. The plants grow well, they produce plenty of flowers but we get hardly any beans from them. All the other varieties we grow have been fantastic this year. 

I have no idea where we are going wrong with Moonlight but we shall try again in 2017. We are enlisting the help of friends who will grow some plants from two of our batches of seed so that we can see it really is us or the seeds that is the problem. 

The garlic has been planted and this year we have three heritage varieties: Red Duke, Mikulov and Bohemian Rose. 

Outside of the garden it has been a good year for Rowan berries. There is still rowan berry jelly in the cupboard so this time I made marmalade with the juice and some citrus fruit. 

The wasps that have been nesting in the kitchen roof space have been dying off in small batches over the last couple of weeks and this morning it looked as they were all on the way out. This sight was repeated across all three kitchen windows. But there are still dozens, if not hundreds, of them buzzing in and out of the nest so a lot more to go. The windows are covered in streaks of some sort of sticky goo but there is no way I am going to attempt to clean them while there are wasps still around.
Squash harvest minus five already eaten!

October 2016 Zone 2 and 3

No comments:

Post a Comment