thesticks

At the start of August we planted the new bed with winter brassicas, covered them with super-fine micro mesh and looked forward to curly kale, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower in the darker months to come. Our summer cabbage and kale had been plagued with snails and slugs and, despite the butterfly mesh, ravaged by caterpillars. With the new plantings we were taking no chances. A month later and they are looking good and I've replaced the mesh with standard mesh.

Later this month I am expecting a delivery of spring brassica plants, so we should be fixed for a diet of healthy greens for the next six months. With Johnson's no-deal, crash out Brexit looming and the warnings in the Yellowhammer document, that can be no bad thing. Hopefully we won't need to protect them with barbed wire in addition to the mesh and later fleece.

lowlevel cloche

winter greens

As the August weather improved slightly on the miserable July weather we had a fright that the outdoor tomatoes had been struck by blight so we hastily removed them, consigning them to the bonfire, although not before we had already harvested a reasonable number of the lovely, small and sweet Red Alert fruits. Fears that the plants in the greenhouse may also be infected were groundless and we have harvested approximately 4kg cherry tomatoes every other day for weeks. We have been drowning in tomatoes! The patty pan delikates took a battering in the weather but eventually revived and have been producing copious amounts of fruit. Too many for us to eat, so some is finding its way into the many jars of chutney, jam and preserves we have been busy boiling up in the kitchen.

tomato chutney

Because of the mould on the aubergines and the suspected blight on the outdoor tomatoes we were worried about our tomato "jungle" of Sweet Aperitif cherry tomatoes in the greenhouse, but we need not have been concerned. For weeks they have been providing us with about 4kg of fruit every couple of days and it has been a mammoth task to keep processing it into preserves - besides eating them fresh, including them in meals and giving them away to friends and family. The size of the vines had taken us by surprise and we have to remove the glass from the greenhouse to harvest completely. The crop is beginning to slow down and some of the vines are starting to die back but there are still plenty more fruits. If they don't ripen we will be making green tomato marmalade again.

aubergine fruit 3

The broad beans finally finished and the runner beans took over. Probably due to the poor weather in July the first flush of flowers didn't produce many beans but subsequently we have been far more successful this year than last. Despite our attempts to stagger the planting to avoid gluts, a large crop appeared almost overnight and our washing basked was filled with our first harvest. Half of them are now pickled in jars.

Recently we have been harvesting the remaining potatoes and carrots and clearing the beds, fertilising and preparing for the autumn planting.  When the tomatoes finally finish we will have the pleasure of cleaning out the greenhouse to look forward to although I don't know what we will do with all the chilli plants. Some are only just flowering!