It’s hard to believe that August is nearly over and we will soon be entering the last Summer month. Already there is a definite nip in the air, so much so that I can no longer leave the greenhouse doors and windows ajar overnight but there is finally stuff happening in the garden, possibly a little too late in some cases. Yesterday afternoon I took a walk around the vegetable patch, phone in hand to record some of what is growing in the beds and in the greenhouses.
The first thing to note is that it seems that I gave Middle Mudlet the best piece of real estate as her patch of garden is proving the most resilient this year and has given her some pleasing results in what was a very trying year for many experienced gardeners never mind an absolute novice. To her go the accolades of first pumpkin, first winter squash, first runner bean, first climbing bean and most recently, the formation and growth of the first noticeable cabbage heart. Let’s also not forget her award winning potatoes, although they were grown in a potato bag rather than her vegetable bed and over in her tomato planter the tube grown carrots are filling out nicely and it won’t be too long before we can actually attempt to harvest them and see if they have grown as long and straight as she hoped for.
I also have to point out that out of the six Christmas Tree seedlings that emerged from the ‘Grow your own Christmas Tree‘ pods, Middle Mudlets’ is the only one that has made it to this stage of the growing season and, after spending several months with just the first five or six spindles, it has put on a spurt in the last few weeks and is now starting to look more like a Christmas Tree in the making. The sapling has been outside since around March or April and has endured the prolonged cold, wet Spring and the heat wave of June and July. From all that I have read, it will be at least another year to 18 months before I will need to repot it but it is good to see it making such great progress.
Anyway, back to the vegetable garden and greenhouses.
We have one solitary Atlantic Giant pumpkin in the garden and, to be frank, I’m amazed we got that one as the pumpkin plants have not been at all happy this year and have, for the most part, struggled to get going. Little Mudlet has made it her special duty to keep an eye on the progress of the pumpkin but, in spite of the name, it seems to have stalled at ‘football’ size, though she won’t mind in the slightest so long as it remains rot free and matures into an orange fruit, suitable for carving.
Tomatoes are not something we’re short of this year, with plants both inside and out, producing copious quantities of fruits from tiny little blueberry sized red tomatoes, through orange, red AND yellow cherry plum tomatoes (from the Rainbow Cherry Plum Tomato seeds), across the standard cherry tomatoes and ending up with the last tomatoes to ripen – the salad varieties.
But the real success of the greenhouses this year have been the chilli and the mini bell sweet peppers. I can’t quite believe how well my chilli plants have done this year and tomorrow I’ll be shopping for the ingredients needed for pickling peppers as I have dozens and dozens of Jalapeno ready for picking. I can’t even estimate the number of the long, slim green chillis on the Curry Chilli plants and I’m looking for signs of them turning to red because I would like to pickle red and green ones and I’ll probably freeze a few for use during the winter months. There are also a pleasing number of Paper Lanterns chiilis growing as well, the longest of which is about 3 inches not including the stalk. In the small greenhouse, the four Patio Chilli Plants are packed with light green, upright fruits and these are just starting to change to red now. I’m disappointed that I only have 4 plants as this is the variety that I use for chilli jam but I’m hoping that the Curry Chillis will make a suitable substitute.
In addition to the chilli plants there are also a number of Sweet Pepper plants across the two greenhouses and these are also producing a respectable number of fruits some of which have already turned red and have been enjoyed raw and cooked.
We also have carrots, some parsnips and a few beetroots and the King Edward potatoes to look forward to, although I’m not at all sure that there will be that many potatoes considering the shortage of water this season. For the first time ever the Mange Tout plants failed to produce pods bar the odd one or two. This crop and in particular this variety usually produces more pods than we can possibly eat, even with the Mudlets’ snacking on them several times a day but we did sow the last of the seeds to see if we could get a later crop and these seedlings are obviously enjoying the cooler weather of the last week or so and are now through, as are a late sowing of runner beans. Fingers crossed that we can get a crop of sorts from these.
It has to be said that the garden has done better in previous years but all things considered, I can’t complain too much and there is always next season …… talking of which, this autumn the Mudlets’ and I will be reorganising the garden space, adding topsoil and nutrients as we go but I’ll tell you more about that later in the year.