End of September 2019 Update

So, we’ve reached the end of September and autumn is beginning to make itself felt. The days are already noticeably shorter and the temperatures are starting to drop.

The polytunnel has certainly slowed down, french beans have produced less than 1kg of beans although some of the late sowings are still producing edible beans. We’ve quite a lot of beans which aren’t edible as green beans but are OK as beans. Some of these we will hang on to to give us beans to sow for next year others we’ll eat (but not dry).

The tomatoes are still not doing well. We’ve got grey mould more or less throughout all the plants and the fruit are still struggling to ripen. So we’ve got the worst of all worlds, green fruit on plants that are dying and infecting each other with mould. So we have to pick the fruit and keep them separated so that the mouldy fruit don’t infect any that stand a chance of ripening. There are lots (ish) of very small tomatoes, many of which don’t have any seeds so we’re even struggling to get enough seeds to be able to sow for next year. September has seen us pick around 8kg of tomatoes and we’re beginning to make decisions about what we grow next year, with a view that says “very few different varieties” so that we can give everything more attention.

Courgettes and Cucumbers are also just about done (2kg Courgettes & 4kg cucumber) but there are still cucumbers setting so we have enough not to need to buy from the supermarket (yet). The lettuce have also finished, we’ve got more plants growing and we’ll put them in the polytunnel hoping that they’ll grow slowly over the winter (providing we can keep them free of slugs).

Talking of slugs, I thought I’d done well to get some spring cabbages growing (I always have difficulties with brassicas) then half of them got taken by slugs one night. Its a good job I always sow more than I need, they’ll go into the raised beds (protected from the squirrels, birds and slugs) to see if I can grow some for next spring.

Beetroot and carrots are starting to produce and I’ll be clearing the raised beds soon, leaving the swiss chard for next spring and sowing broad beans to fill the space early on.

A mixed time with fruit, the raspberries and alpine strawberries have produced enough for us to have a handful on our cereal every morning and the physalis are doing really well. Sorting them out and getting rid of split ones is a bit of a problem but it shows they’re still fun and worthwhile. However, despite the battle with the squirrels and magpies, we’ve had a reasonable crop of eating apples (Discovery) and we’ve been dehydrating them as well as eating them as one does apples. I think we’ll have enough to see us until the end of October but before then my guess is that we’ll be cooking the softer ones. I’m planning to pick the cookers this weekend. They have done better than I’ve ever seen. Each apple is bigger than 250g and there must be 40 or 50 still on the tree. So there will be a cooking activity so that we can freeze them down to eat through the winter. (I’ve learned how to make a decent crumble after all this time).

So that’s it about 20kg of things picked (excluding apples) through September and some things still producing. The next few weeks will be mainly clearing out the polytunnel and greenhouses ready for next year and the mammoth task of replacing the cover on the polytunnel which has decided to give up the ghost after 13 years. Getting a replacement cover seems to be going to be more difficult than I would have thought, the company who I bought the tunnel from back in 2005 say that Brexit is making their life too difficult.

Ah well.