Wednesday, October 18

Strange light

Monday, October 16


Martyn was pronounced fit to drive last week and so we can now get to the plot  under our own stem and do a bit of catching up. There are still lots of medical appointments to negotiate but at least these don't involve a long, (time-wise not distance-wise) bus journey. We have had appointments at three different hospitals and so have had plenty of chance to practise learning bus routes. Hopefully we can fit plot visits around medical commitments and the weather.

We managed a couple of plot visits at the weekend. Although our harvests are becoming sparser we are still bringing home a few things.

There were some things that I wasn't expecting to still be in evidence in mid October.

The sweet peas were still flowering. Lots of the flowers were past their best, no doubt due to irregular picking but I did manage to pick a small posy. I can't remember having flowers so late in the season before.
Another surprise was that the Cupid strawberries are still setting fruit. One berry looked red and juicy but when I picked it the underside had been enjoyed by a slug. I dare say the ones below will suffer the same fate.
At least we had a few alpine strawberries to enjoy.

Saturday's gathering was quite meagre compared to previous harvests.
Saturday 14 October
Over the weekend we cut a couple more red cabbage. They have done really well this year, the one above went to my sister and the one below to one of our plot neighbours, Sarah.

One type of berry that I always have difficulty deciding when to harvest is the cranberry. We have two container grown plants growing either side of the door to our plot greenhouse.
Often one plant fruits better than the other. This year it was the turn of the one on the right. As the berries were beginning to fall off the plant, I decided to pick them.
The shallots below had actually been harvested a while ago and were waiting in the plot shed until storage space became available at home. We decided to bring the remaining sack of shallots and another box of onions back from the plot and these are now added to the summer house residents. Not only does this mean they are more readily accessible but the conditions are drier than in the plot shed.
Sunday we managed another small harvest.
Sunday 15 October
The plot greenhouse tomato plants were picked over and we harvested more wonky carrots. This year has definitely not been the year of the carrot as far as we are concerned.
The squash plants had died back revealing their fruits and so it seemed a good time to harvest the Crown Prince squash.

These were left in the plot greenhouse to start curing. When space becomes available these too will be relocated to the summer house. Our summer house doubles as a vegetable store throughout winter. I always cut a piece of vine and leave this attached to the fruit. Not only does this act as a carrying handle, but it also prevents moisture collecting in the hollow stem which can lead to rot. There were only five Crown Prince but that is plenty for us.
We have continued to harvest a few things from the garden. The spring onions had become over-sized but as they were needed for cooking this wasn't a problem.
The peppers in the garden greenhouse are ripening slowly.  This means that, if the slugs don't get there first, we can use them as needed straight from the plant.

We pick some watercress nearly every day. It seems to relish the conditions in our garden pond and is still looking green and fresh. Other than having to curtail its enthusiasm it is proving to be a very easy crop.

As usual I am linking to harvest Monday hosted on Dave's blog Our Happy Acres 

Wednesday, October 11

Daisy, daisy

Monday, October 9

Still managing the occasional plot visit.

We managed another visit to the plot to harvest a few things courtesy of a friend ferrying us there and back home. This time the kind friend was Jan who has a plot opposite to us.
Although we did manage to do a couple of jobs, when plot visits are snatched as and when we can, we mainly concentrate on gathering in the harvest. On Sunday we collected another three sacks of apples and one of pears.

There were also lots of tomatoes both outside and in the plot greenhouse. These will be pulped to use in recipes that call for canned tomatoes.
I hadn't expected to pick any sweet peas. Although lots of the flowers had gone over, due to the fact that we hadn't been able to pick over the plants regularly, I did come away with a good bunch of flowers.
We have had a few firsts of the season. 
After a couple of disappointing years, this year the red cabbages have done well.
A large solid head was revealed once the outside leaves were stripped off. This will make a batch of one of our favourite vegetable recipes - braised red cabbage. This freezes really well and, if anything, improves when reheated,
Another first was a beetroor. This was surprisingly nibble free. Usually our beetroots have evidence of slug activity but this one was near perfect,

You may remember that slugs devastated the emergent growth of our first sowing of carrots. The second sowing didn't escape their attention either but at least some went on to produce a crop of carrots. They are the quintessential wonky vegetables but at least they have usable content.
The shallots were lifted some time ago and were stored in the shed. Last weekend one lot were brought back home to use. Yet another group of occupants of the summer house.
At least there are some things to hand in the garden and garden greenhouse that we can harvest easily. The Snackbite peppers are doing really well but it seems - despite buying a packet of mixed colours - that all the ones we have grown are a yellow variety.
The apples above had fallen from the tree in the garden and were tucked behind the greenhouse. I managed to stand in a tray full of slushy rainwater as I headed through the narrow gap between the greenhouse and boundary fence to retrieve them. Fortunately my garden shoes are made of a rubbery material and so recovered once the insides had dried out!
We've never managed to grow decent melons so we were full of hope for the one that we picked last week. The variety, Emir, is described as low temperature tolerant. This was the only decent sized fruit produced and although it was very juicy it was somewhat lacking in flavour.
Finally the flowers have had a battering and the beds are looking a bit worse for wear but we are still managing to come away from the plot with enough for a vase.

As usual I am linking to harvest Monday hosted on Dave's blog Our Happy Acres

Wednesday, October 4

Autumn Gold

Monday, October 2

Another assisted plot visit

We managed another harvest visit to the plot last week. This time it was thanks to our friend, Graham acting as a taxi. One of the disadvantages of having a plot a few miles away from home is that when you can't use your car things are difficult.

To explain our current dilemma, at the moment, Martyn is not allowed to drive for medical reasons and my dry eye/unpredictable forceful blinking means that it would be unsafe for me to drive. We are learning how to use public transport but this isn't an option for visiting the plot so we are very grateful for offers of lifts.

When visits are rationed we have to make the most of out visits to harvest as much as we can.
The only things missing from the collection above are the blackberries that Graham picked. We have more than enough stored in the freezer so we didn't pick any.

In the sacks are more apples. A sack of Fiesta and a sack of what we think are Golden Delicious
There's a sack on Invincible pears which is an incredible haul from such a small tree.
We picked two sacks of Meeches Prolific quinces. It's a pear shaped variety often mistaken for a pear. The fruit has an extremely hard central core so once peeled the flesh is sliced off for stewing. The cooked fruit turns an attractive orange colour. In fact the flesh starts to turn orange when it is exposed to air,

Usually we store our fruit in cardboard trays from the supermarket but as we can't get there to ask for some, the fruit is laid out in the floor of the summerhouse.
The smell inside is gorgeous; however, when we were sitting in there during the week, I had to stride across the apples and sit cross legged in the chair! 

At least we can continue to harvest from the garden greenhouse. Everything in the photo below, except for the courgettes, were harvested from there. They were used in a ratatouille pasta sauce.
As usual most mini garden harvests are used straight after picking so there are no photos to prove that we're are still harvesting fresh cucumbers and watercress.

The sweet peas are continuing to produce cut flowers, although last week we only managed three vases worth.
To add to my flower collection I picked a mixed bunch of annuals and perennials.

The dwarf lavenders are also still flowering so I decided to pick a small posy of lavender too.
As usual I am linking to harvest Monday hosted on Dave's blog Our Happy Acres

Martyn has been on light duties when we have visited the plot and so he has been filming some videos during the last two visits which he has posted on our vlog here. If you are interested take a peep.

Sunday, October 1

September in pictures

Each month I keep a summary of our gardening activities - with the occasional non gardening items sneaked in - on our website. The summary has links to any relevant posts on either of our blogs. September's page is now complete.

The summary includes picture collages that provide a snapshot of each week. The collages are shared below.
Week 1

Week 2
Week 3 

Week 4

Week 5