Monday, October 22, 2007

Autumn is here with a vengeance, it is getting very nippy! and a walk in the woods showed a brilliant display of colour and lots of fallen leaves. So I had better get a move on deciding how to protect my crops! I think it might be time to cloche the new lettuces with some plastic bottles...
Anyway this weekend had time to plant the garlic! But forgot to take a picture of us doing it :-( still I hope it does better than this year's useless showing.
I also finished planting out the strawberries, runners from this year's lot.Well it isn't very pretty I suppose. I should try and put some more decorative edges on it maybe. But the plants look like they are happy enough.
I hope they will take like last season's did:
err yes they do need a good clean up before the winter... I will get around to that.
The tomato patch also got cleared out last week, going from this:

to this:
roughly done but still it looks tidier. That nice green patch in the bottom right corner is my bed of lettuce seedlings that I planted out shortly after doing the tomatoes. I have discovered this is the lettuce sowing method that works best for me.
There are still some things that need tidying though:This was a patch of (again) ill-fated tomatoes plus the sunflower stalks that need digging out, and some compost dug in to compensate the big drain the sunflowers put on the soil. Where the tarp is at the back is where the garlic and some red scarole lettuce (thinned out) has just gone in.
Still so much to do! two priorities now:

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Last night I performed an important job - seed saving! I was quite pleased, I managed to come away with about 60 or 70 green and yellow bean seeds, scavenged from the lottie as I cleaned up. about 20 radish seeds, and about 15 pumpkin seeds, from a market-bought green Jap type pumpkin. All tucked away in paper envelopes for the spring.

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Still harvesting. It is getting distinctly cooler here and it is quite dry, although rain is predicted for later in the week. I can see the weeds in the garden starting to die off like the rest of the vegetation, it is quite fascinating to watch. Time for a big weed clear out that means, as they are easy to pull out just now.
And still, some things are not dying, but just coming into bloom...

That is a chrysanthemum that I bought for about 2 euros last year! Small cultural diversion - in France the chyrsanthemum is the flower traditionally placed on gravestones on All Souls Day, November 1. After November the 1st you can pick up loads of flowers for next to nothing!!! I had this one on my balcony but it was unhappy, so I moved it to the lottie and it has thrived!! It is a very pretty one, you will see when it blooms completely, very big whitish pink flowers.
I took stock of the lottie yesterday, hmmm what is left to be done before it gets too cold? Plant the garlic (update on that next week probably ;-).
Rip out the devastated tomato patch (so depressing to look at):

And of course keep harvesting all the autumn veg:
Sprouts and leeks

I think I have created some monster cow cabbage (what is this actually called? it was given to me. Here it is called "green cabbage" or "Feed cabbage" used to feed livestock! Maybe it is really a type of kale? Anyway it is delicious braised with onions.):

Next year I must be more careful with the broccoli, it went straight to flower this year, dunno why:I mean it is pretty but you can't eat it!! Actually it has seed pods, I wonder if they are viable??

My broad beans and red endive seem to be doing well, I must do a bit of transplanting next weekend... There are a few gaps in the broadies, might be a good idea to fill them in. And you can't see them but my white onions are at least sprouted, now let's see if they grow!!I had quite a nice harvest yesterday, a small bag of sprouts, two leeks, beets (already cooked and ready for salad tonight), radishes, physalis, some nice parsnips, not too big, baby tomatoes, and a BEAUTIFUL CABBAGE ! (like the ones in the broccoli pic above), handful of rocket, handful of parsley. Best of all, a big bag of yellow beans! I will freeze some of them, as there are too many to eat all at once.
And let's leave the lottie with a look at the bean patch (there will be another bagful at the end of the week unless I am very much mistaken) and you can see too the rhubarb slowing down, the artichokes and the flowers (nasturtiums and marigolds) that are at the end of their tether too. I hope they have done their bit for some self-sowing next year :-D

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

More harvesting! I am quite pleased with what is coming out, although it is not much compared to the work put in.
I only did a bit of tidying up apart from the picking, watered a bit as it is quite dry, pulled out a couple of the sunflower stems remaining, weeded the leeks, washed down the sprouts with soapy water as they have some aphids attacking them.
I think I am putting off the big clean up that really needs doing before the cold November and December rains. This means finishing planting out the strawberry babies, pulling up the tomatoes and digging over and weeding that section, give a good weeding everywhere and pile up all the grassy stuff so I can mulch the perennials during the winter. But I must get around to it soon. And lay the paths, except that I have not yet collected enough cardboard to do it properly (I want to lay cardboard under the wooden squares to stop weeds). Hmm the list gets longer the more I think about it...

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Ok here are some of the promised pics.
Something is on my sprouts !! waaaah! I asked at A4A and they said either mealy aphids or white fly... wtf? whatever, gotta find a way to kill it.

anyway, in other news: here are the fruit bushes, you can see how big the physalis (cape gooseberry is, it is actually a bit invasive. I wonder when it will start perishing??
I took a few views of the overall picture, you can see that if you compare it with January's pics, there is no contest...
This is a view from the compost end
You can see in the foreground the cabbages, and some greenmanure behind it, the very green bits. The tallish things round the edges are cow cabbage, the leeks and sprouts are on the left side.
Then there is a view from the top end, you can see the last of the flowers, orange and yellow and the amputated sunflower stems. This is the section with fairly new seedlings, beans, beets and carrots.

Here you can see the artichoke and rhubarb.
I guess I am pretty proud of what I have done, but I know there is still a lot to be done!!!! sigh...

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Monday, October 01, 2007

quiet weekend in the garden. Just an hour yesterday actually harvesting!! didn't think that day would come! Got:
So I am pretty chuffed really!
The plot is a little untidy though, needs a good weeding again. I sowed some green manure again, but weirdly enough i now cannot find the seeds!!! Smallest One was there with me and it is looking bad for her on the guilt front... hope they turn up or I will have lost all my green manure for the season. I popped down this morning but no sign of the little brown paper packets.
Also saw a little mouse in the compost bin! Just hope it stays there and helps eat all the veg instead of the fresh stuff on the lot!!!!!!
Took some pics, be online soon.

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