Summer is over?

Well it’s been a long time since an update thanks to holidays and recovery from the same. Meanwhile, the summer has gone apparently, at least in England for now. I had made complex arrangement to keep plants watered while we were on holiday, but they weren’t really needed for the plants outside, as there had been plenty of rain. The tomatoes and peppers in grow-bags inside the greenhouse and outside had survived reasonably well also thanks to a continuous drip feed watering system I had set up.

The tomatoes had done so well that about 7lbs of them had to be picked at the first opportunity – some have been given away and some eaten, but we still have quite a few to deal with. Now (after a week or so) there are a lot more ripe….Recipes using lots of small tomatoes are needed!

Tomatoes outside kitchen

Tomatoes outside kitchen

Peppers are ok in the greenhouse and the chilli peppers are beginning to ripen, though some have been attacked by something, probably those caterpillars again. Mind, if they all ripen we’ll be selling chillis on a stall outside!

Chilli pepper ripening

Chilli Pepper ripening – hopefully

The runner beans, usually the first to suffer in the absence of rain, had also produced plenty of beans – and I picked about 11lbs the other day, those were just the really mature beans as well. There are still plenty of young beans left. However, the weather has been so windy over the last couple of days that I’ve had to add extra supports to prevent the main rows of beans from being blown over. Looks like a session of blanching for the freezer coming up.

As for the lettuces planted just before we went away, they have grown, but not all that well, so as well as being wet the temperatures must have been low as well. Unfortunately this mean we have had to buy lettuce to see us through, as all the original lettuce plants have gone to seed (though the guinea pigs don’t seem to mind).

New lettuce plants

New lettuces (beet and spinach rows beyond)

The brassicas do seem to have ceased to be attacked by caterpillars but I haven’t had time to make a close inspection yet. Some of the broccoli have flowered, but some have reasonable heads (see below). I did harvest a couple of cabbages before going away, but they turned out to have been so chewed by caterpillars that they were no good for eating – so maybe the rest are similarly affected. The sprouts look as if they are beginning to ‘sprout’ now – so maybe we’ll be alright for Christmas.

Broccoli

A head of broccoli that hasn’t flowered yet!

Also, the poor weather may have affected the rows of beet, rocket and spinach I planted just before going away, in the area where the broad beans had been. The rocket has come up ok, but very few of the other seeds have produced. Just look behind the lettuces on the picture above to see (or rather not see) the seedlings.

And the grass needs cutting, then the hedges……..

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