Winter is well in its way and we are having regular frosts (although no sign of the snow that fell in some parts of the UK - the first for 70 years in October !) Of course the clocks went back last weekend too, so the days are feeling even shorter and very gloomy.
My visits to the lottie are getting more infrequent, but I had a lovely day there yesterday and the threatened rain didn't appear. Uusally Jonathan Ross keeps me company at the lottie, but I had to make do with Radio 4 for a change yesterday.
I know its now November, but I've only just been able to get some onion sets (thanks mum). I can't tell if they were in short supply this year or whether shelves are being cleared super early for Christmas tat, but I must make a note to start looking for them in August next year I think. I cleared the last of Ken's swedes and finally cut down the leek flowers (crikey they take an enormously long time to produce seeds) and dug over the bed ready for my onions. I've made raised tracks to try and help them catch as much sun as possible, although I noticed that the enormous budlia next door is shading about 4 beds .. hmm, think I may have to nip over the fence and accidentally chop it down :) I haven't had much luck with onions to date and after the horrendously wet summer a couple of seasons ago, I didn't even bother with them last year. I'm hoping that these little fellas make me proud next summer. The variety is Senshyu Yellow.
I also managed to plant my garlic. I had an excellent crop last year and saved some of the biggest blubs to plant again. I've got a bed of Cristal and a slightly smaller bed of Germidor. I hope they do as well this season.
The sweetcorn was looking pretty miserable, so I've removed all of the cobs and pulled up the plants - they need chopping up and adding to the compost during my next visit. Most of the cobs have not developed properly, I don't know if its a lack of fertilisation or lack of sun.
I might make some sweetcorn soup with them and maybe some sweetcorn fritters, which are gorgeous with Chelly (chilli flavoured jelly).
[edit: and here they are :)]
The beans were looking past their best after the recent frosts and having stripped the last of the pods the plants are now adorning the compost heap.
Even the Jerusalem Artichokes, which have been towering all autumn are starting to look past their best. I've dug up about a quarter of them and have some lovely long tubers. I suggested to OH that we have some JA chips for tea last night, but I think he was confused, 'cos we got potato chips (not that I complained, they were lovely). I remember making some rather nice soup last year that didn't have any of the, err, memorable side effects. We had lunch at Fortnum & Mason in September (special family birthday) and I'm sure we had some roast artichokes with the main course - I must get googling and see what I can find.
With the cold creeping into my bones, the last job of the day was to sow my Meteor Peas. I haven't tried overwintering ones before.
As the meeces are patrolling I decided to cover them with plastic tunnels - this seems to work in the spring and keep the germinating peas safe from their little noses. Once they've germinated, I'll remove the tunnels and get some supports in place.
I see the peas I sowed at the end of the season have lots of flowers and a few pods on them, so I may get a few peas in the coming weeks.
I was quite pleased looking around, I think another 4-5 days and the lottie will be ready for spring again. Jobs for next time are to clear the greenhouse, sow my broadbeans, sow my sweetpeas, clear the courgette bed, clear the second lot of sweetcorn which didn't get chance to mature, dig up the last of the potatoes and dig over the rest of the beds. Then I need to turn my attention to that last quarter that is still a jungle. I also want to thin and redo the strawberry beds before spring.
Of course Dandelions are the one thing on my plot with a neverending season !