Autumn Arrives Early

Although it is still August, temperatures yesterday and overnight are very much those of Autumn rather than Summer – not that we’ve had much of that either. There’s a lot to catch up on in this post so……

Daytime temperature yesterday hardly struggled over 14degC, and overnight fell to 4degC. It is sunny this morning and the temperature is rising fairly rapidly, but isn’t predicted to get very high today even so.

The rain has continued to appear every few days so that watering the garden has not been needed, and only the greenhouse has needed some attention. Basically we’ve had depressions coming through as if it was spring or autumn, rather than having high pressure systems as we should in summer.

So, the harvesting continues with brambles (blackberries) producing plenty, I think we’ve harvested over 6lbs already and there are plenty more to come – jam making looks like a real possibility before the freezer is full!  I am harvesting tomatoes almost every day, all small as those are the varieties I have, but very sweet and some are eaten every day but eventually I think some will be converted to sauce.

The climbing beans are still producing, as is the one courgette plant that is still healthy, and that rather too well. Having run out of recipes I gave the last two courgettes to my next-door neighbour (as a swap for other veg).  The cucumber plants are growing well and flowering, and even have baby cucumbers, but won’t progress much if the weather stays cold.

The tomatoes planted in the raised bed were doing very well, but seem to have been afflicted with some disease or problem and it has affected the tomatoes so I’m not sure whether I’ll get too much from them, and the cold weather won’t have helped. The plants in growbags outside the greenhouse, and in a container outside the kitchen are ok however (as are the greenhouse plants).

I’ve harvested one of the bags of ‘Mayan Gold’ potatoes and it produce more than enough for our weekend roast beef meal (and there are still some left) so we’ll maybe get a several more meals out of the remaining bags.

The broad beans and first rows of mangetout peas are ready for pulling up – and really need doing as they are completely surrounded by weeds now.

I’ve added the contents of the first potato bag to one of the (unused) raised beds to try and add a bit more organic content – there is some mustard ‘green manure’ already dung in as well. Also, some of the compost was added to the unused end of one of the others.

The lettuce I planted in the raised bed 1 (and had to protect from slugs & birds) are growing, though we may need an indian summer to bring them to a size worth eating.

The birds were less than welcome when I found a gang of house sparrows having a go at the mangetout peas in raised bed 3 (near the greenhouse) literally tearing away leaves et. – so some netting had to go over them. I love having the house sparrows, especially as they are in decline (and I can vouch for that in our own garden) but wrecking my peas is not on! There is plenty of seed for them after all.

Other animals clearly in decline are butterflies, and again it has been really evident in my garden – the buddleia bush near the house has been in full flower for a couple of weeks now but butterflies have been an uncommon sight, some ‘whites’ and a couple of peacocks plus an unidentified ‘brown job’ and that’s all – it’s been a bad year altogether and it’s very sad to see the bush with so few butterflies.

No unusual birds have appeared but the usual crowd are still going through the seed rapidly – in fact I need to refill the sunflower and nyjer seed containers today if possible.

I think four squirrels have been taken for their holidays since the last post, the most recent yesterday, so we’ll see if that has reduced the local population enough to mean we don’t get bothered by them for a while

STOP Press
No sooner had I written than another squirrel appeared and was trapped and released the same evening. However, yet another appeared the next day…… hmmmm.

Some pics below:

Tomatoes in greenhouse ripening

Tomatoes in greenhouse ripening

Courgette in full production

Courgette in full production

Cucumber plants

Cucumber plants – growing in the most inconvenient direction!

Peppers in the greenhouse

Peppers in the greenhouse

Climbing french beans

Climbing french beans – ready for picking

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