These are the quickly becoming the predominant colours of my garden, as the seasons move forward and the plants begin to tire and age. It could be quite a depressing sight but I keep my mood light with thoughts of the treasure still lying in the ground beneath brown potato foliage and the beans still waiting to be discovered amongst the yellowing leaves of the plants.
Perhaps the most obvious of all, are the mangetout plants which really must be cleared this weekend, regardless of any late pods still not quite at a useable size. How well these 12 plants have served us, providing handfuls of crisp, fresh pods, two or three times each day for 14 weeks or more. Their almost paper like appearance is testament to the amount of effort they have used but it also marks the end of their tenure and so room will be found in the compost bins so that they can continue to provide for us by way of the nutrients next years plants will draw from the compost.
Not all the yellow in the garden is a bad sign, as the squash plants continue to flower, though it really is too late for them to make much of a difference. Still, we do have a couple more cobnuts growing and they may just make it to both a decent size and almost ripe before the first frosts hit – fingers crossed. As for the largest of the two pumpkins, it is now slowly changing from green to orange and the second orange sized fruit may yet make both a respectable size and change to orange. I can always hope.
The tomatoes both inside and outside are showing no real signs of age as yet and continue to provide the Mudlets with fresh tomatoes to snack on. It is important to remember though, that now is the time to ensure that greenhouse are still ventilated, even if it is raining, to prevent fungus and mould spoiling tomato crops, or getting onto cucumbers and chillis. Cold nights and a damp greenhouse do not make good bed fellows and just leaving the roof vent open a smidgen or a small gap in the door, during the day, could make all the difference to the health of your plants and the chances of everything ripening.
As for the cucumbers, the outside ones never really settled into their environment but we did get three gherkin size fruit, one of which I have kept to ripen, so that I can try and save the seed from it.
As you will know if you read my blog regularly, I already have a cucumber from the greenhouse which is being allowed to over ripen, so that I can attempt to save the seed. The idea behind seed saving is that the seed collected will have adapted to your particular temperatures, soil, environment etc and each successive generation of seed will have become even more accustomed to these factors and, long term, should ultimately produce better and more generous crops from your growing space. So, I figured that if I also kept one of the outside cucumbers, despite them being ever so small and use that seed for outside plants next year, then these new plants should have already begun to adapt to outdoor life and all the other environmental factors and be much happier, resulting in a better yield. That’s the theory but time will tell. Obviously both sets of seed will be clearly marked ‘indoor’ or ‘outdoor’.
In the greenhouses, the Christmas Carrots are doing well and all the chillis are looking lush. Non of the patio chillis have started to change colour yet and the Caribbean Mix chilli is still a lime green but at least there are plenty of chillis on the plants, to see us through the curries and chillis of the winter.
Even the melon plant has finally got flowers on it, Both are female and neither will become melons but, hey ho, it was an interesting thing to try and grow and next year I may have better luck.
I’ve also had to bring the enormous Anna Swartz Squash in because it became detached from its’ vine but it has a well cured skin and should last until the Trick or Treaters have been at which point we’ll be able to see what it tastes like. I plan to weigh and measure it over the weekend and I’ll post the results in a day or so.
So this weekend I have a long list of jobs that need to be done in the garden which will result in it looking a lot emptier come Monday but it has to be done. That is, of course, unless the rain which was supposed to arrive in torrents today, turns up tomorrow which part of me hopes it does as my garden desperately needs some water, especially the lawn which also has a lot more brown in it than is healthy, in my opinion!