Wednesday, 12 September 2012
The end of summer is now upon us. Not that it ever really got going, but there have been some splendidly hot and sunny days in the last month which have caused some sort of recovery in the garden and my soul.
But this is how it looked today at about lunch time, the picture is entirely unretouched, it was that dark out there. And then it rained, and now it's not looking so bad. The forecast seems to suggest another dry week starting tomorrow. This is a good thing as there is still a whole meadow to cut at the far end of the farm. It's been proved to me that I'm a true feeble wimp. The scary field that I was afraid to traverse with the tractor in case we both fell sideways was licked into shape in a few hours when the man arrived and took over. So my ambition for the next short while is to take most of that final field and show it, and the tractor, who's boss. Wish me luck.
The onion patch quickly succumbed to weeds and neglect early in the season when I lost my gardening mojo but I'm pleased to report that there are quite a lot of small but perfectly formed bulbs up there hiding beneath the metre high magentaspreen and thistles. Even if we only make a couple of jars of pickles from them it's an encouragement to try again and a testament to the hardiness of vegetables.
Many pumpkin seeds this year didn't even germinate. From the four surviving Sweet Dumpling plants it looks like we'll get 10 or so fruit. The bought in Uchiki Kuri plant had a terribly slow start and didn't really begin to grow until the end of July but now, if the weather stays warm, will probably make three squashes. The single plant of Moschata seems to have missed flowering entirely.
It's not too serious. Although we usually have many pumpkins and squashes of several varieties they are often lost over winter to inadequate storage as we have too many to keep them all in the warm. The Sweet dumpling are a good size for couples as well, just enough to share as a side or for one each as a main course.
Although the outside tomatoes quickly gave up from poor management and blight the greenhouse toms, just a handful of plants in tubs made from supermarket carriers, have kept me in fruit for a few weeks now and still have more to come. The Sun Baby above were really impressively sweet to begin with but either they've coarsened or my taste buds have atrophied because they don't seem quite so lovely now.
The Black Prince tomatoes below are sturdy and reliable with several more trusses beginning to ripen. The harsh conditions meant the beefsteak and continental types haven't done so well but they've still produced a few pounds of tomatoes for salads.
And so to the chillies. These have been more successful than usual because I remembered to start the seeds in the early part of the year before I lost all hope. The Lemon Drop are doing well, the Jalapeno only so so. It took some words of advice from Rhizowen to get conditions right for the Capsicum pubescens, more popularly known as Alberto's Locoto which I had from Realseeds. They are plants from higher altitudes and need a cooler environment to set the flowers. As soon as I moved the plants from the greenhouse they started to make fruit. Now that's a useful plant and perennial too.