Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Get your woolies on ...

Oh dear, autumn has turned into winter already I think. We have had several frosts here, which have completely seen off the sweetcorn, squashes and pumpkins.

This miserable little thing is all I have to show from around 6 plants - very disappointing. I haven't quite gotten over it. I may consider giving one of them greenhouse space next year to guarantee some butternuts.

butternut copy

These are my outdoor sweetpotatoes, taken a week or so ago. The top growth looks like it has been in a fire. It was the motivation I needed to dig up the tubers:

frostedSweetPotatoes copy

They are certainly not as big or as plentiful as last year, but with hindsight they were definitely in the wrong place. Next year, they shall have a far superior home. The ones in the greenhouse still look OK, so I've given them a watering and will lift them next month. We've not yet sampled them - they didn't last long at all last year, so I'm hoping they make up in taste, what they lack in size. Apparently if you keep them for a little bit and 'cure' them, they become sweeter. The blue tray is about half full now (from around 15 plants)

Sweetpotatoes copy

Here is my most successful aubergine. The variety is Red Egg and the bush now has quite a lot of little fruits hanging off it, but can I bring myself to try them .... NO!!! they look horrible. Have crossed aubergines off my list for next year - someone remind me when I am nurturing my seedlings next spring :)

RedEggAubergines copy

The lemon crystal cucumbers have been very successful - but we have hardly eaten them this season. Again, another thing to cross off my list for next year - although I might just plant one, as they are very refreshing.

LemonCrystalCucumbers copy

I've now cropped all of the big tomatoes and they are sat at home, ripening slowly. The plants were sucumming to mold and the cold.

GreenTomatoes copy

The sweet olive plum tomatoes are on their last legs, but still have plenty of fruit. Most of it is now orangey-red and I'm hoping that they'll ripen over the next week or two. We've been roasting them with olive oil and the resulting sauce is delicious - so much nicer than anything you can buy or make with shop bought tomatoes.

tomatoes copy

I cut down the sunflower heads to dry them and collect the seeds a couple of weeks ago. We took some of the stuff from the move up a couple of days later and discovered huge piles of shells everywhere. As I've disturbed a 'ratty-mouse' and found droppings in the brick greenhouse, I'm pretty convinced they are the culprits ! Little b*****ds. Found another one in the compost heap, it seemed startled, then miffed at being discovered and ran around like a loopey thing for a while, until it realised I could still see it. I shrieked (of course) and did a little jiggy dance (to stop it running up my trousers you understand) whilst watching it scarper into next doors lottie.

sunflowers copy

I've been more than a little stressed for the last couple of weeks - in the same week that I moved house, a muppet crashed into my car. It has finally gone to insurance, but the cost of the repairs are very close to the value of my car, so there is a possibility that it may be written off. It goes to the garage next week, so I'll have an anxious wait until they make a decision. I suffered a bit of whiplash, but was more annoyed at the timing. They say moving house is one of the most stressful times of your life and thats without numpties who don't look where they are going.

MCD car3 copy

I've got so many jobs to do and so little time (renovating my new 'home') at the moment, that I think I'll be overwhelmed soon. I have managed to get my onions in and half of my garlic. There is still a bed of Charlotte and Cara potatoes waiting to be dug up. The green manure needs digging in. The cucumbers, aubergines, tomatoes and remaining pepper plants need to go to the compost heap. Sweetcorn needs chopping up, before adding that to the compost heap too. The greenhouses need cleaning out and sorting / tidying out. I need to have a huge fire with all the bits of hedge and weed piles that are lying around. The beans need to be pulled up and added to the compost. The broad beans need to be planted once the beds are prepared. The Jerusalem Artichokes need digging up. The Globe Artichokes need pruning / moving. The strawberry bed desperately needs attention and then of course there is still the jungle to tackle. Aaaarrrrggggghhh, going for a lie down now, while I think about it all.