I'd begun to think that we'd have no snow before the end of the year. Just before Christmas I saw polyanthus and forsythia in flower, and snowdrop and daffodil shoots coming through - but then it snowed!
This fell in about an hour, rapidly changing from rain to snow, and covering everything.
Expecting it to change back to rain, and have all disappeared by morning I dashed out with the camera, but instead a freeze has set in, and, although the snow has melted slightly with bright daytime sunshine, at night the temperature is well below freezing.
It's time to lift the Christmas tree! This is quite an old tree despite it's lack of height. It was bought as a rooted tree a long while ago, planted in my parents garden after it's first Christmas, left to recover and grow, lifted again, this time planted at the allotment where it's been for 4 or 5 years.
Also as there were a couple of days of heavy frost, got the blue winter radish lifted ...
Following on from last week's post about saving my own seed - here's another!
I've been really impressed with the peppers and chillies we've grown this year, but can't remember what sort of seed I'd set - so I'm having a go at saving some. I'm not sure if this will be ripe enough but there's only one way to find out....
I also plan on saving seed from the chillies - for now though they're drying over the dining room radiator.
I also harvested more radish seed - all of these pods came from one plant!
and collected some more flower seed; these thistle-shaped seedheads are from rudbeckia, another 'new' seed for me. I love the bright yellow orange flowers so hoping seed-saving works
It looks like we're set for another weird month weather-wise - and just look at what is still flowering. Nasturtiums, hollyhocks, welsh poppies, fuchsias and rudbeckia! Strange doesn't seem to cover it.
Some things are more normal though - winter jasmine, rosemary and polyanthus flowering
With rainy, foggy weather and too many other things happening we only managed to get to the allotment once this week - mainly for maintenance of sheds and the like. Still managed to find a cabbage and a handful of tomatoes which might ripen with luck.
Back at home, I've had occasional bits of spinach and american land crees for lunch and stumbled on a surprise - a tiny alpine strawberry!
Checking up on our winter crops and delighted to find broad beans poking through and brussels sprouts starting to form. The brussels could do with some colder weather - to stop them sprouting too quickly; the beans will grow better if it stays mild!
The cost of seed, like so many things, gets more expensive each year, so I've been round the garden and allotment collecting seed for next year's plants, before we have any frosts. Some 'easy-growers' I just leave to self set or I pick the seedhead and scatter ripe seed where I'd like it to grow; forget-me-nots, love-in-a-mist, aquilegias, foxgloves and kaffir lilies all grow happily without any further fuss. Others have to be dried and kept over winter before sowing.
This mix of cannellini, borlotto and black beans were gathered a month or so ago and have been drying on the window sill. These beans didn't crop well this year, so I've put none aside for dried (edible) beans, just keeping these few for seed. We also have lots of runner and broad bean seed.
Peas have done a little better - but I didn't really leave enough for seed, so will end up buying again.
I'm still in the process of collecting pumpkin and squash seeds, as I get round to using this year's crop, but I already feel I have enough. The small black seeds are sweet peas - not many of them but I think some pods had already split and dropped seed. Maybe in Spring I'll find sweet peas growing in unexpected places.
Marigolds are still flowering - even in November! - but I stopped removing dead heads in September to allow plenty of time for the seed to set.
These fennel seeds may end up in dinner, although I'll save some just in case the parent plants die over winter.
I hadn't expected to find any ripe, usable seed on these sunflower seedheads - but when I pulled them apart I was pleasantly surprised. There's plenty for growing next year's plants, and leftovers for the bird-feeders.
The experiment with home grown brussel sprout seed seems to have paid off - there are plenty of healthy plants at the allotment, some already showing sprouts for Christmas dinner.