Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Summary of 2011

Neglect of the blog and somewhat of the garden although I am slowly turning it over for winter.
I harvested all the squash and now have to get them down to the cellar before my OH smashes them to bits with a hammer, because he will have tripped over them for the nth time.
I had the best harvest this year!
I had 6 Black Futsu (you can see two in this pic), 2 big Queensland Blue (There is one here giving a piggyback to a Black Futsu), and 2 other mysterious grey-blue pumpkins.

I also got a huge Atlantic Giant - 8.2 kg!

and there are 4 orange pumpkins (one got eaten before the pic was taken) - funny because I only planted Turk's Turban - the others appeared magically!

SO we will have pumpkin coming out of our ears, I predict! Good, pumpkin scones, muffins, flans, pumpkin fruit cake for Christmas! Yummy! But I guess I will have to give half away whenever I open some, most of them are well over 3 kilos!

Funnily enough the last two years the courgettes have been middling. The quantity was ok for me, but not what I would call a glut. I have trouble with the pattypan squash which is a shame because I like that a lot. It's been a bit cool for them, I feel they prefer the heat.

So the results of the growing season, now that everything is dying back?
Great garlic and onions. Reasonable potato harvest but it was a bit dry during their formative years... Good beans and peppers and excellent squash harvest. SO far the green cabbage and Brussels look good.
Lots of raspberries and gooseberries although the rasps tended to be squishy.
Excellent herbs and flowers (nasturtiums are all over the place now that the crops are out and we finally had beautiful lilies) and late rhubarb (had to restrain myself). Hopefully the baby artichokes will come into their own next year as they just put themselves in their places this season.

On the downside: tomato blight destroyed the crop, aubergines were crap, peas were not the best due to extended spring drought. Carrots failed to grow again and beets destroyed by voles. Good start to cucumbers but badly affected by powdery mildew).

On the whole it was a good year and I felt proud as I mostly kept on top of the tidyness factor. Maybe over time I am actually getting the better of the weeds?

Notes to self for 2012?
- Grow more cucumbers!
- Stop growing carrots!
- Find a way to keep the voles out of the beetroot.
- Grow herbs and salads in early spring and late summer.
- Go with the Rosabelle mid season spuds which were good.
- Grow kale and cabbage later. and try to grow broccoli and cauliflower again!
- Direct sow courgettes (esp those Striata d'Italia which were beaut!) but sow a couple in pots for earlier harvest.
- Grow only one cherry tomato plant and keep persisting with the heirloom varieties.
- Grow chillies and more sweet peppers! And take better care of the aubergines.
- Grow runner beans.
- Cut back the raspberries that are too unruly.
- Keep mulching and killing the weeds!
- Pat self on back for hard work put in.

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Thursday, October 06, 2011


last of the season

I am starting to be able to say this for several things. I think I can safely say that we ate the last strawberries last night - the plants are starting to die back and the weather has turned blustery. The pumpkin vines are dying off quickly so this weekend will be the pumpkin harvest methinks and then clear the ground and dig it over. On Saturday must go get some horse manure at the pony club and spread over the ground.
I picked more beans but there are no more flowers - still, last beans in October is great I feel. Last peppers on the plants, they have been excellent this year. Rhubarb is dying back, raspberries are giving their last fruit (not really very nice in fact), the courgettes too are on their last fruit (I leave them till it get decidely frosty though, you never know). The brussel sprouts are starting to sprout and the kale is growing well. I am starting to harvest the blanched Cornet d'Anjou scarole lettuces, the bloody vole ate through one! Bastard! But the others are nice, very crisp, a little bitter but the heart has stayed tender. I now need to fleece the frisée and mache I think. The winter spinach has germinated well, if we now get some rain it will be a good harvest (Winter Giant).
It is always sad when the summer harvest finishes, but there is still loads of work to be done - I want to move the compost heap (what an idea! But it is full of unused compost and I want to plant an artichoke in its place....) and it is definitely time to dig over, prune and tidy up before winter. I also need to prepare the garlic bed as that will start going in at the end of the month. One last thing to sow this weekend and that is the White lisbon spring onions.

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