Mid September 2020 – The beginning of the end

Whilst there are still quite a few tomatoes still to come, its obvious that the plants are well past their best and we can see that the end of the season is in sight. We pulled up the first of the plants today which (surprisingly) was Summer Cider.

Our harvest so far has been much better than last year and about the same as we would normally expect. However, according to our records, earlier years continue to harvest for several weeks yet and I can’t say that I expect that to happen this year. Although there are a couple or three large tomatoes still ripening, most of the remaining fruit are standard sized red tomatoes and I would guess we have no more than 10kg of fruit remaining (30kg so far).

As I’ve said before, our problem has been a combination of Bacterial Canker, various forms of Wilt and grey mould of some sort. We’ve been cutting the affected/infected leaves off the plants but that doesn’t seem to have stopped the problem working its way back into the plant. The result is that the leaves die back, the stem dries up and the fruit drop off due to lack of water. Some of them (particularly the Summer Cider) also suffer from what I would call “grey threads” running through the fruit which makes them unpleasant to look at and therefore they get thrown away.

COVID19 has meant that we haven’t seen our children and grandchildren this year or had visitors so consuming the tomatoes has also been an issue. One solution has been tomato soup. We found a simple tasty recipe which uses about a kilo of fruit to make enough for between four and six servings so making that a few times has reduced the glut to more manageable proportions.

The rest of the garden continues to deliver although that too is showing signs of autumn. The dwarf french beans have finished but the runner beans (which we sowed later) have hitched on to the end and are keeping us supplied, courgettes and cucumbers are also over (earlier than I would have expected). The raspberries seem to have recovered from their battering by the wind and are giving us a couple of hundred grams a day which, topped up with a few alpine strawberries, adds to the cereal.

Our eating apples are willing to give us a lot more than we can eat but fortunately they’re not dropping off the trees so eating them both raw and cooked means that we can just about keep up with them. The cookers are not quite ripe but we’re beginning to get additional windfalls. We have loads of carrots which (hopefully) will keep in the raised bed. I’ll have to work out next year how to share the bed with something else.