Yet another picture heavy, content short, post.
October swept in with barely a ripple and as usual for the time of year I'm fighting the traditional plunge into the salty seas of blackest depression. Better aware than usual of the triggers it's a more equal battle this time but strength sapping. Only the really rather excellent weather is keeping my head above the water.
I grew a couple of the 'giant' achocha from Realseeds this year. One poor plant was subjected to stress tests in the form of being pot bound and neglected, the other was popped in outside on the end of the bean row and has, after a slow start, finally found its feet. It's growing beautifully but only just beginning to form pods.
It could be argued that the larger immature fruits are a good thing with achocha since mature ones strike me as insipid and unappetising but although they're easy to prepare the taste is much the same as the smaller sort. As a crop I can only see them as subsistence food but will keep growing them for the extravagant attractive vines and the benefit to insects.
It seems unlikely I'll get good seeds before the frosts so it's never likely to become a pest in the garden.
The same cannot be said of the exploding cucumber achocha. The plants in the garden this year are all volunteers from a couple I had last year. It's almost impossible to save the seed casually and touching the pods scatters them everywhere. It looks like we'll have them for several years to come.
A testament to persistence are these Jerusalem artichokes which have managed to come through several years of abandonment in a stony waterlogged corner of the garden. The intention is to rescue them this winter and start a new bed, better tended, but we'll see. The flowers are on a selection of the old Fuseau variety and there is another more knobbly red-skinned sort that never flowers.
On mature reflection I've decided the vila-vila (morelle de balbis) are something else that I'd rather didn't become established as a weed. They are so very beautiful but seem very hardy and able to tolerate poor conditions. The fruit are pleasant but fragile and prone to splitting when ripe and picking them is painful and fairly unrewarding. Although I was going to try to be active in a project to grow out and select for less thorny specimens it's probably not something I have the energy to carry out effectively. They'll be planted as deer scarers and ornaments until they start to be a problem and then probably not at all.
Like their cousins the courgettes the ridge cucumbers finally overwhelmed me. I now have a plot covered in melon sized cukes, looking like yellow torpedoes of doom. At least there'll be plenty of seed to harvest from these.
Still a few butterflies about even now. There was a Wall a couple of days ago and it was really good to see a couple of Small Coppers sunning themselves on the nettles yesterday.