welcome to my little suburban oasis, filled with flowers,fruit trees and vegetables

Sunday, 23 October 2011

picked this week

This week's picking has been mainly about clearing green tomatoes and beans before the frost hit. Now have lots of dry beans to shell and store somewhere for winter stews.
I've also managed to lift a lot of Italian radishes, our single kohl rabi and some more beetroot.

Probably the last of the crystal lemon cucumbers and a bolting cabbage but the most ENORMOUS parsnips ever! - well, ever for us!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

First frost - Wednesday 19th October

Well we did have frost Wednesday night. Not heavy at home - and outdoor tomatoes here seem ok but down at the allotment it was much colder. Tomatoes are blackened, both french and runner beans look bedraggled, even the cucumbers inside the polytunnel were frosted. Courgettes and peppers that I covered with fleece seem ok for now.
It doesn't seem to have affected the whitefly much unfortunately - they're getting to be a real problem on brassicas and a cold snap might kill some off.
These are just a small number of the tiny green tomatoes picked on Tuesday. I need to find something useful to make with them but now moving on to eating parsnips, carrots and other cold-weather veg - and waiting for snow.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

First frost forecast

Part of my idea when I started this blog was to keep track of how well things were growing and cropping year on year - to be able to predict when we might expect the first runner beans or tomatoes - but another was to keep an eye on the weather, particularly late Spring and early Autumn with thier unpredictable cold snaps. There's a long held family tradition that snow is expected November 17/18th - my mother's birthday/grandma's wedding anniversary, so notable dates for us - and it often holds true, even when the week before is mild. I was surprised to discover though that the first frost for this year - predicted for Wednesday night - will fall same date as last year - http://maryomsgarden.blogspot.com/2010/10/frost.html Looking back through the blog, I can't find dates for previous years, but generally would have expected the first frost to come sometime in September, rather than as late as this.

Monday, 17 October 2011

picked this week

We've been making the most of the continuing warm weather but frost is forecast for this week, so now starting to lift things for storage.

a mixed tray of all sorts from the allotment - including a small butternut squash, too many cucumbers and the long thinItalian radish which are growing a lot better than the 'normal' ones set at the same time

we've started to lift some parsnips as we want them despite the lack of frost but this batch of leeks is done now. Hopefully the smaller ones will grow for a while yet.

a very pretty bunch of 'wild' tomatoes - these are some of the self-set ones which were growing crazily in the polytunnel and had to be moved outside. The fruits aren't very large, probably Gardeners Delight, but the quantity of them is making up for that.

more baby aubergines

and ALL of our pumpkins/squashes - these haven't done as well this year. Previously they've done best when growing among the runner beans but unfortunately the ones set with the bean row this year didn't grow at all.

Monday, 10 October 2011

picked this week

I think we've seen the last of the warm weather now. Much colder this week with high wind, thunder, lightning and hail!
because of the exposed position of the pippin apple tree, I decided it would be best to pick the apples before they fell. I wasn't really ready for this and didn't have boxes ready for storing them so for now they're mainly in containers in the kitchen.

Surprisingly there were a lot of blackberries and the autumn raspberries down at the allotment this week. I'm not sure how long the raspberries will continue to crop for but they seem to be increasing as the weather turns colder.

Runner beans still flowering and cropping well - starting to have a freezer full of them and tomatoes.

Still picking LOTS of the weird yellow cucumbers - these have definitely grown better than the normal green ones.
Courgettes have been having a second growth spurt with the warmer weather - much smaller now, but unexpected at this time of year.
The autumn broccoli - Ironman - is forming but the heads are rather small - probably again because of the unseasonal warmth.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

flowers and weather

Today is a proper damp October day. It's hardly believable that last weekend was so very hot. Temperatures have plummeted this week, easily by 10 degrees though it feels like much more. We've also had terrific thunder, lightning and hail one evening

Flowers are still going strong though, maybe starting to look a little battered as can maybe be expected.

Starting to get ready for a threatened arctic blast by bringing in geraniums and small cyclamens which were outside over summer.
Trees and shrubs are full of berries, so expecting another long, cold winter.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

picked this week

We've had an absolutely scorching week, temperature in high 20s, very strange for the time of year.
At least it means the later runner beans have a chance to crop and the pumpkins to grow.
More runner beans this week than last.
Lots of tomatoes though I've found the first signs of blight at the allotment

What will be the last of our cabbages for a while. The next row won't be ready for a few weeks, though the weather may confuse them.

A totally mixed up bowl of autumn broccoli, french beans, semi-wild blackberries and autumn raspberries

Italian radish growing well, picking them slighter larger at the size of a small finger carrot.

The pods and plants are covered in mildew but at least the peas inside are ok.

We've ended up with too many needing to be picked at the same time (what's new?)
Some should have stood till winter but have flower buds developing so need to be lifted now.

Borlotti and Tendergreen french beans ready for drying. Hopefully they, at least, like this late burst of summer.