November 2021

30th November (St Andrew's Day) -  as Autumn ends we welcomed truly Wintery weather this week, with temperatures below zero almost all day and even a couple of inches of snow! Looked gorgeous, and the faces of two little boys walking along our road with their Dad were pictures of wonder as they gazed upwards amongst the snowflakes

However, life goes on at the plots whenever the soil is not frozen solid, and having got a recipe for Pumpkin Marmalade this week, I have a little job there to keep my fingers from itching too much when I have to stay indoors

Harvests continue though, and this week's Harvest Monday begins with Cauliflower, a rather confused plant, as this variety is supposed to be making curds in April and early May!!  I couldn't leave it any  longer to harvest, as I didn't want it to spoil, andit made  tasty addtion to a roast dinner

 

A more seasonal harvest is Parsnips. Now that we have had some frosts, I dug the first of the ones I had sown, as opposed to the self sown ones in the Forest Garden. This year I tried sowing two rows of seeds in small clumps, about 30cm apart, in a similar way to the way I often sow Carrots. It has given clumps of modest-sized roots, which are just the right size to scrub and then roast whole. The others have been thinned, so may give larger roots, but it is always a bit of  a voyage of discovery digging up Parsnips. The crown you can feel might be a decent size, but you never really know whether it is above a nice root, or a tangle of twisty rootlets!

There is plenty to eat stored from earlier harvest though, which this week has included Onions, Potatoes, Runner Beans, Carrots and Leeks (frozen from when I dug too many to use a few weeks back)

Woody herbs are also freely available: Rosemary, Sage and Thyme have been harvested this week, togther with Parsley from the polytunnel

Out On The Plots This Week:

The time I had available to work outside this week coincided with the coldest weather, but once I got going, my hands warmed up, and with the soil thawing enough just enough to  work, I got plenty done

-  The bare-root Roses are now planted. With a good helping of compost, and some blood, fish & bone, they are set up to sleep snugly through the Winter and put out some nice healthy growth come the Spring.  These are the four I chose, all long flowering and scented, so I hope they turn out to be glorious!

There is space for a couple more, ideally a pink and a white flowered one, If I see any I like the look of

I  moved a Lilac tree, about 40cm tall, as it was right in the middle of the new Rose bed. It now has its own little bed alongside the big metal shed... no photo as my camera ran out of power, so will take one for next week.... and is underplanted with miniature Daffodils, small early Irises and some Crocus. These last are protected from Squirrels with wire mesh over them. I also planted three giant Camassia bulbs, which should give beautiful blue flowers iin early Summer

Tulips are planted around the Rose bushes, ones I hope are perennial, and some beautiful green and white ones over in the previously cleared flower bed on #146 

Planning ahead for further development of the Forest/ Foraging Garden next season,and thinking of Honeyberries perhaps, maybe alongside the Rosa rugosa bushes. Seems an ideal spot, and they probably won't mind a few Cornflowers popping up amongst them

At Home This Week:

The big front bedroom is painted, and looks wonderful! A huge improvement, leading now onto choosing curtain material, and organising some carpentry work to be done prior to the carpet being fitted. I have spent a long time clearing up, sorting and resorting Most of the unwanted items have now gone to a local charity shop and all rubbish been taken to the tip. A little hiatus now, so perhaps seed sorting my actually happen, as well as more weeding out on the plots of course! Though wrapping of Christmas present and writing of cards are of course on my list of (non-growing) jobs too

There are still a lot of seasonal clearing up needed in the garden, and some small bulbs to be planted too, so, weather permitting, I shall start at the far end of the garden and work my way forward. If i get on top of these things now, come the Spring it should look good again!

Jobs related to growing this week  will, I hope, include:

- planting the final bulbs at home

- clearing up the far end of the garden, particularly clearing up the fallen Fig leaves resting on the Alpine pots before the rot, and removing the remaining fallen apples from the rear patio

-  starting the end of season seed-sort, making a list of anything still needing to be bought in and preparing the final seeds for drying

And that will keep me going I think! I hope you enjoyed the first of the snows and your Winter preparations are moving ahead

I'll be back next week. Stay safe!!

info@alittlebitofsunshine.co.uk

 Comments and suggestions are most welcome, and I shall reply as soon as I can

And if you'd like to know more about Harvest Monday, look at

www.ourhappyacres.com

22nd November - just a month to go and it will be Winter Solstice, and the days will start to lengthen. In the meanwhile, darkness falls in late afternoon, and the evenings feel very long. I shall have to start seed sorting and other tasks that I can do sitting on the sofa . Today, the Weather returned to a more usual seasonal chilly wind and a beautiful frost coated everything first thing in the morning.  Te clear skies that gave usa sunny day though mean more frost tonight though. Glad I took the Lemon Verbena and Pineapple Sage plants into the greenhouse yesterday!

This week , on our Allotment Site, a group of us cleared a badly overgrown plot on Saturday. The plan is to eventually use this area for raide beds, which we can let to people on the waiting list until a plot becomes available. The adjoining enormous Rabbit warren is an issue to overcome, initially with our local Council clearing that area, but also installing a surrounding rabbit proof fence.We have no funds, so creativity will be needed!

 

I have been mainly eating from my stores this week, including meals from the freezer, so Harvest Monday is even thinner! The only real harvest has been the late Apples: Golden Delicious. A lot of these are very small this year, so I have left them on the ground for a while for the birds to enjoy.

The spots on the skin are only on the surface, and I have more than enough Apples to eat for a while. I am not attempting to store any through the Winter this year, as I usually do, because there is no space available right now. The freezers are pretty full too, but I shall try to find time to make a batch of Apple Sauce, so I can save some of the fruit. The best ones are in a box on the kitchen floor at the moment, and I am munching my way through them day by day. They are incredibly juicy and very sweet

 

Out on The Plots This Week:

I have tried to make the most of the tail end of the milder weather, to get the flower beds ready to their re-planting: The triangle bed  does have space now for those Roses when they arrive. The 5m bed and the path bed are clear of weeds and are ready for the bulbs to go in. I shall mulch these well, as there has never really been any soil improvement in these beds, and it seems fair to give the new occupants the best chance to thrive

 

Things are looking much more open through #146 now, bringing into view some surprises, like these Gladwyn Iris berries. This plant is one I grew from seed about three years ago, so it is great to see it doing so well

The small potted  Rose plants that I divided up a few weeks back have survived the rough handling, and are looking very healthy.

I planted my new Issai Kiwi Berry plant in the bath this week, planning that it can climb up the adjoining trellis in the future. This is a very sheltered corner, so I am feeling optimistic about it fruiting well in a year or two. The heavy mulch is going to be short on nutrients, so some added fertiliser will be necessary to keep the plants in the bath healthy

As I dug down, I found some of the Allium bulbs planted recently: these had really good healthy roots already. I carefully re-planted them, I hope without any damage

The thick wire is there to prevent the Squirrels from digging up the Tulips and Crocus alos planted in there. I shall be putting more over the new bulbs to be planted in the Five Metre bed later this week

At Home This Week:

It has been a week of hard work, to make sure that bedroom is ready for being painted  mid-week, and at last it is good to go. The carpet is roughly hoovered, skirting boards clean and loose wall paper removed.  There is a small chest of drawers there still, but that is easily moved. Other than that... it is empty!!! Today I took several large bags of things to one of the local Charity shops, and all the  decrepit furniture, inclusing the bed, has gone to the tip. Clive took what seemed hndreds of screws out of the bed base, that Abi had repaired it with over the years, and together with Theresa (and me) wrestled the mattress down the stairs and into the car. Whew!

It's not left all that much time for anything else in the garden, although i did manage to acquire some new house plants via our local FB Marketplace: Chinese Money Plant Pilea peperomioides and Watermelon Peperomia Peperomia argyreia. They are really healthy little plants, so I am looking forward to them growing away nicely next Spring

Out in the garden, the annual "Blackbird Wars" have begun, with them queuing up to feast on the Yew berries. There is a huge crop on the two trees, but the way the birds are going they will soon be gone

And the new Gaura are flowering really well. I haven't grown these before, so am not sure what to expect as the Winter approaches. Thye are perennial plants, so I guess this year's growth will die back at some point

Some of the Pelargoniums grown from seed have only just started to flower, so I shall be moving these into the greenhouse. The shocking pink ones at the plot will be coming home too, as I want to give them enough protection to ensure they survive the Winter

Jobs this coming week mainly focus around bulb planting, as they really need to be in the ground asap. I shall have a helper in the shape of my youngest grand daughter at the end of the week, so hopefully between us we shall get that job finished!

Although there are other jobs that need doing, I think my time will be used up with other decorating-related tasks. At this time in the year that is absolutely fine!

I hope you are managng to spend some time outside, and are enjoying planning for the next growing season

Next Monday, I'll share the progress with that bedroom renovation!

info@alittlebitofsunshine.co.uk

 Comments and suggestions are most welcome, and I shall reply as soon as I can

And if you'd like to know more about Harvest Monday, look at

www.ourhappyacres.com

15th November - half way through the month and hardly a frost in sight here. We did have some proper fog though, which made things seem a bit more seasonal, but pretty much it is grey and overcast, with occasional spells of relatively warm sunshine.

I am just getting on with organising the plots for Winter, an organising at home for decorating a bedroom. Hard to juggle sometimes!

 Harvest Monday will have very little on the table this week..please do check out the link at the end, hosted by Dave of Our Happy Acres, so you can see what others have been harvesting this week

Celeriac is the star of the show here. They look so unpromising don't they? What a contrast to last week's almost perfect Cabbage. 

I am though totally sold on the slightly aniseedy gently celery-like flavour of that crisp white flesh inside them. So far I have tried in in a Slaw with mayonnaise, added to stir fry at the end to keep its crispness and slower cooked in a curry. Really, what's not to like???? Thank you to everyone who shared their advice on the best way to grow these... seems to have worked!

Harvests have been a bit thin this week, mainly because I had lots of vegetables at home that needed using up. There was nothing that would  spoil if left still growing.

I made a Katsu Chicken curry which incorporated lots of these vegetables, and also had Celeriac as an ingredient. far from traditional, but tasty none-the-less

Japanese Greens (which I think may be Choi Sum) have been excellent growing under fine mesh out of the beds. The occasional plant starts to flower, but manly they have been growing away fro months. I am now harvesting them in larger bunches as I am not sure that they would stand a frost. Makes sense to use them while I can. Amazingly, the leaves are pretty much undamaged too

They are not only good in stir fries or curries, but finely cut into ribbons and drizzled with an oil and vinegar dressing, make a decent salad too

Other harests have included Rocket and Black Kale

 

....as well as some Parsnips, which had grow in the mulch underneath the Apple tree in the Forest/Forage Garden, from the self-sown seed of a plant I let flower last Summer

The soil is very shallow, and the roots are weird and wonderful, but it is a foraged meal for free: Parsnip soup!!

Out On The Plots This Week:


To make the best of the time away from the house, and ensuring I don't overdo things, I am limiting my working time to four hours. There are fewer people around at the moment, which also helps me stay focussed on the job in hand

This might sound a long time, but it really isn't. So far this week I have cleared undergrowth from:

- the Rosa Rugosa bed, where the rose leaves ar a glorious butter yellow

- the lower end of the Forest Garden under the big Apple tree. I found all sorts of good things there: the small leaves white flowered Periwinkle has spread well, there are some healthy looking Primrose plants and the Geraniium offshoots I moved there seem to have taken. I planted a lot of Tete-a-tete Daffodils in the sunniest spot

- one of the small beds around the Rose arch, which now has  Allium Moly, Muscari, Brodiaea and more tete-a-tetes amongst the Foxgloves. I also transplanted four seedlings of Cerinthe major "purpurescence" which I hope will flower well there

And the hedge of Blackberry and Loganberry is all tied in neatly again, with old stems removed and dead Foxglove stems taken out too, which looks much better

Over on #145, things are looking much more "Winter ready" on the whole. There are a couple of Dahlias still to cut back, and they all need their annual mulch. The Cauliflower bed could do with weeding. I noticed one plant has started forming a Cauliflower!!! Supposed to be for late Spring, so I am guessing it will be quite small, growing at the time in the year. I'll show it to you next week. Hope they don't all do that though

The Shakepeare Onions are starting to poke up their little green shoots: always good to know something has been happening under the ground. It wonlt be long before the Winter Red ones join them, but the Garlic is in much deeper, so may take a bit longer.

On some plots it is is 20cm tall already!! It'll all level out in the end though (She says, with fingers crossed)

The Pansies in the troughs by the tap are thriving.. I noticed this morning there is a Strawberry flower in amongst them - it's mid November! A very confused plant there. 

Funnily enough, my little patch of Wild Strawberries has lots of flowers . I hope this doesn't mean they won't flower again in the Spring? I guess if we have some proper cold weather they will be kickstarted into flower bud production again. Let's hope so. I am looking forward to those little fruits, the first ones from the plants grown from seed last year

In The Polytunnels This Week:

I haven't done anything at all, making the most of mild dry weather to work outside. At the time in the year there is not much that won't wait for a week or so. I just need to remember to keep the crops in there watered properly.

The Lettuces are developing nicely and I can pick a few individual leaves now when needed,. I find this better than pulling up the whole plant, as often that is too much to use all at once, whereas the plant grows new leaves to replace any I cut off. 

I noticed that some small slugs seem to have set up home in or around the Pak Choi, They wouldn't win any prizes with those newly lacy leaves, but they are still good to eat. I must have a little search and see if I can spot some of the culprits, but I suspect that during the day they will be tucked deep down in the stem bases out of sight

At Home This Week:

To be honest, my main focus has been on completely emptying a bedroom that hasn't been decorated for nigh of forty years!! All sorts of things have come to light, as you might imagine, but three trips to the local tip later, most of the old chipboard-based furniture has now gone, along with lots of other unwanted "stuff" Just the bed to deal with now, and one chest of drawers... next tip-trip is booked for mid-week, so I shall be busy upstairs again! Very grateful to my son who demolished the wardrobes etc.... it would have taken me far, far longer for sure!

Which of course means that little else has happened in the way of outdoor jobs, but at this time in the year  that is fine., most things can wait!!

Except for bulb-planting , that is. I must get a move on and get them in the ground so they can start to grow some roots before the Winter weather arrives. I have some particularly pretty tulips for pots, and little Hoop Petticoat Daffodils to plant in the lawn, in the hope that they naturalise... you can see how good they will look

So jobs for this week largely focus round the bedroom renovation still, but bulb planting has to happen, along with:

-continuing to clear undergrowth from the Forest?Forage Garden on #146 and weed the paths

- making a start on taking out end-of-season spent plants in the flower beds, starting with the long bed oppostite the table and chairs.

- mulch the Dahlias

- and if at all possble starting to prune the Lavenders

That does seem rather optimistice really, but written here it will remind me, should I get time, that there is plenty left to do!!

I'll let you know how it all goes next Monday In the meanwhile, make the most of the mild weather to get outdoor jobs done in comfort

info@alittlebitofsunshine.co.uk

 Comments and suggestions are most welcome, and I shall reply as soon as I can

And if you'd like to know more about Harvest Monday, look at

www.ourhappyacres.com

8th November - a week of mild weather, warm enough to shed jumpers when working outside, which is not the usual sort of weather for November, but very welcome.I am trying to catch up with late season work in the garden and on the plots, whilst at the same time sorting things as I get the last bedroom ready to be painted. Not being held up  outside by the weather is a bonus for sure

Harvests are now settling into late season vegetables, and I always try to plan ahead to have a reasonable range to choose from, as well as other in store or in the freezer

Harvest Monday, as always,links with other growers here and abroad, hosted by Dave...link at the end... and I am beginning with the first Autumn Cabbage. The head is absolutely solid and there is no slug damage either. It is a Clubroot resistant vareity Kilaton, and this year I have  grown only four. One head lasts ages! I od have a range of other Cabbages rgwing though, to ring the changes and I anticipate these will last in the ground right through the Winter. I do like the way the low sunshine shows up the beauty of the veins in the leaves!

 

There was only one of there! I found it when I was clearing up in the greenhouse this afternoon: one single West Indian Prickle Gherkin.It has grown to the size when I would expect the seeds to be ripe, so I shall try again with thes next year, perhaps in the polytunnel instead

And these are the large Spagna Blanco, which are excellent in soup, the Blacksmith, which, from only ten beans, gave an excellent harvest, and will be used in all kind of stews and curries, and the small Soya harvest

A recent harvest was Beans for drying, so here is the end product, now they are dried and podded, ready to be stored in air-tight jars

First are the Borlotti: two different kinds. The ones to the left are those grown by one of my friends from the Carribean, and you can see they are larger and more bean-shaped in comparison with the ones of Italian heritage, which are smaller and rounder.  I shall be interested to find out if they taste different

Out On The Plots This Week:

It has been a week of hard graft, and now all the long beds on #145 that are not occupied by crops have had a healthy dose of compost and are now  securely covered for the Winter. The tall Nettles growing inot the branches of the Bramley tree are cut back,,, great addition to the compost bins, albeit a bit of a squeeze to get it all in... so I can see the shape of the tree again. It will need some serious pruning this Winter, as it is really difficult to access the dalek bins without almost crawling under the branches. The tree does heavily shade the top half of one of the veg beds too, so thinning the crown wiil help there too

I've been cleaning paths as I went along , and made good headway with the area around those daleks too

Next is to decide how to make the best use of the space where the Strawberry tables are at the moment. Perhaps a long coldframe?  The flower bed behind has a nice border of short Lavender, a and it will be good to be able to see this, and to revamp the planting, as it looked reallty scruffy this year. Roses seem a good possibility, ones that repeat flower all Summer, and ideally be scented. They would go well with the Lavender, and the large Catnip too

Lots to think about here too, including how to get rid of that rampant stripy grass!!!!

Over on #146 there is still plenty left to do of course, but only one small bed that will need covering for Winter. Not such heavy work thank goodness

In The Polytunnels This Week:

Weeding the gulleys that run along the back of the beds has been mainly what I have done, plus a lot of sitting in the polytunnels, thinking, talking to myself, planning where everything will fit next season. I shall need to move the support netting for Cucumbers etc, and that partly determines where other crops will fit . Still mooting where to put the table staging too, which will be another determining factor

I decided not to grow, or attempt to grow, huge Onions next year, as they do take up almost half a bed for a long time. I planted the last few Winter Red sets in between the rows of Lettuce, as these will be ready mid June, rather than late August, and will have plenty of space once the Lettuce are harvested during the Spring. Be interesting to compare the outcome with those growing outside 

At Home This Week:

I spent most of the day today cleaning and re-organising the greenhouse, and putting up the bubble plastic insulation, while the weather is still mild and dry. I cleaned the glass on the inside and removed the moss from around the edges of the panes.. still got the outside to clean and the Fig tree to prune, as some branches overhang far too much now. The only occupants at the moment are the Jade plants that belonged to Abi and a couple of other succulents, which are now inside again to keep them frost free.

I have already taken away the huge mass of Grape vine prunings to the green waste, and all the spent compost from pots under the staging is now on the bed at the plot where Roses will be planted, so very pleased with the day's work

Earlier in the week I sorted through the Chillies to get some seeds to dry for sowing next year. I wrote their varieties on the kitchen paper because in the past loose labels have got mixed up. Some of these seeds are to share with other people, so I am keen to make sure I know which are which!

I have already enveloped Bean seeds: Blacksmith, Borlotti, Runners, Helda, Dwarf French and Spagna Blanco, and witten on the labels if they are to go to anyone else. Trying to be organised

The jobs needing doing continue to be quite big, no quick wins at the moment:

- prune the Fig tree

- clear up the fallen leaves and windfall apples on the back patio in the garden

- plant the remaining bulbs (yes, a big job, there are loads!)

- at the plot, cut down the Cosmos, and the rest of the Dahlias: mulch these

- weed over the Herb bed and start to cut back the Lavender... if I have time!

Thw weather is only going to get colder, so the more I can do out on the plots now, the better really. Work in the polytunnels can wait a few days more

And next week I hope to have more tidy areas to show you and the greenhouse less overshadowed by trees

info@alittlebitofsunshine.co.uk

 Comments and suggestions are most welcome, and I shall reply as soon as I can

And if you'd like to know more about Harvest Monday, look at

www.ourhappyacres.com

1st November- weather has been unpredictable to say the least! Brilliant sunshine one minute, then torrential rain, which makes planning anything outside tricky, so say the least! I have managed to get out on the plots though, and slowly beginning to get things in order again. November is the month of "mists and mellow frutfulness", but gale force winds don't let the mist hang around for long, or the remaining fruit stay on the trees either!

Harvest Monday definitely has an Autumnal feel here, apart from the one notable exception below. 

Despite having no Buttenuts, I did have a few smallish other Squashes, which are not in the basket in the dining room for storage, along with the giant Butterflies given to me last week by a friend. I usually store them in the spare bedroom, but with the amount of moving round of thngs upstairs at the moment, with renovations of the third bedroom underway, they are better off somewhere I won't have to keep moving them. 

 

I deliberately waited to pick these Tomatoes until this morning, as I have never picked any outdoors in November before!!!  All the plants, even the resistant ones, were hit by Late Blight, but this one plant struggled on, and has given me a fair few fruits since then. These are not quite ripe, but will redden up nicely indoors I expect. Is this a sign of warmer Autumns to come?

Other harvests are more seasonal. Here are the last of the purple Khol Rabi from the polytunnel. These have been excellent and earned their place on the list for next year alright! There are still some pale green ones growing alongside the Cauliflower plants, and these are just beginning to develop their swollen stem bases. I am not sure if they will carry on fattening up when the temperatures drop, as I usually grow this last crop under cover, but thought it worth a try

The Sweet Peppers are still ripening, although there are not many left now. I had thought to perhaps not grow these next year, as sometimes there are so few fruts it seems hardly worth it, but Gogorez and Long Red Marconi have made it to the list again after all!

And here ... Dah Dah... drum roll.... is my very first proper Celeriac! It is not the largest one, but the ones which had the fewest leaves still nice and green, and I know that when it is peeled it will be smaller. I shall savour every piece of it though, for absolute ceertian!!

There are lots more to come, as well, and  although I think they usually store quite well, they can carrry on growing for a while longer yet

Out on The Plots This Week:

With a sigh of relief, my final Garlic clove was planted this week The bed took ages to clear. Behind the bean sticks were all sorts of deep rooted weeds, growing invisibly between the rows all Summer, and the soil needed an addition of compost to help it maintain the amount of moisture Garlic needs, plus some Blood, Fish & Bone to ensure the cloves can grow lots of strong, healthy roots before the Winter. 

There was one rather nice Perpetual Spinach plant in the middle of the sticks too. I decided it could stay, as by the time it could possibly shade the growing Garlic, I shall have eaten it!

So with three beds now planted with Garlic, Elephant Garlic, Onions and Shallots, I am moving on to clearing beds that will rest the Winter out under a protective cover of black plastic. I am still using the same pieces of plastic I started with fourteen years agao, so have no qualms that they are doing nay danage to the environment. They do a good job in both preventing the soil from becomng water-logged, and stopping nutrients from being washed downwards out of reach of root growth of the next crops, plus of course  suppressing weed growth at the same time Excellent!

Next up for Winter preparations though was the Asparagus. I weeded the beds and gave them a 10cm thick mulch of compost, which should keep them nice and snug until they stir into growth next Spring

This always feel like a time of both faith and hope for us growers, as we look round at bare soil, beneath which are the stirrings of our next crops, as no sign of them is visible at all, and may not be for quite some time, in the case of the Asaparagus

One of my Asparagus plants is female, and it has produced a pretty crop of red berries. I do not want any new plants to start to grow, as this would make the bed too crowded, so when I cut the plant down, I took it to the Bonfore plot opposite and propped it up by the fence so the birds can have the berries and any that germinate won't cause a problem

As well as Tomatoes , I noiced some Tromboncini growing this morning. I donlt think they are likely to get much larger but I left them for now, as w have a coule more days of mild weather left I think

Once they are out, I can clear this bed completly for it's Winter rest. The next crop here will be tall Brassicas, which wonlt be planted out until perhaps late April. The soil can have an extra blanket of compost, and  the worms will have plenty of time to work it in I think 

That will leave this year's Squash bed on #145, and over on #146 the area where I grew beetroot to get reday for Winter, as well  as lots of clearing of old plant growth in the Forest/Forage garden area, some weeding over on the Herb bedand around the pond, plus  the Lavender has to be to cut back. Good to get that done by the end of this month if I can Then I can move on to repositionaing those tables used to grow strawberries on, into the polytunnels for staging. 

Having decided that the amount of Strawberries I end up with is not worth the space they take up, it leaves me with an area for something new. I could  make a row of coldframes perhaps....... let's see.....  

And Winter pruning of the Apple trees has to be on the list for this year rather than after Christmas when it tends to be a bit chilly out there for that kind of job! Oh, and clearing over the Raspberry canes too, for the same reason. If I work steadily, and we donlt have too much rain,it should be OK

The compost bins are all bursting at the seams, but of course the contents will "slump" as they start to rot, so there will be space for topping up as more green stuff gets cleared.  Very satisfying to know there will be plenty for next year

In The Polytunnels This Week:

Watering has been mainly what I have done, to ensure the long bed that will be covered up for Winter has had a good soak while i could still use the hose. The water pump was turned off today, and tonight is in fact the first night there may be a frost too,so good timing there! I must get the compost in, and the bed covered before it dries out. 

I am still jumbling round in my mind as to which crops will go where next year, and think the plan is almost there now.  I have decided not to grow any large Onions from seeds this year... don't have to do the same every year... but have planted the remaining Winter Red sets in between the rows of Lettuce seedlings in  #1. There were  only about 8, but thought I might as well give them a go, taking the view that they come to nothing in the packet

Rodents seem hellbent on eating things in there at the moment, with this week's casualties being a rather nice looking crop of green Khol Rabi. Not sure if they will recover, but I've left them in to see... at least they might grow some leaves and I could eat those I guess.  I think it was voles rather than rats, but in #2 it was definitely rats that saw away those Carrots last week!  The evidence was very clear ...

One rather good thing is that last year's Purslane self seeded along the row. Now that the huge Cucumber plants have gone, it has sudenly germinated, to make  another row this Winter. It was excellent last year, so am looking forward to a repeat performance

At Home This Week

I have spent a long time happily podding Beans that were now dry enough to store: I shall take a photo of them for next week, as they look gorgeous, and I can tell you the varieties then too.  It did keep Luna wee occupied too, chasing the occasional damaged bean around the base of the bowl, in amongst the empty pods. 

It is a job I am glad to see the end of though, as I have had trays of Beans around the place drying off for ages, and they are much neater in jars, ready for to be cooked. The pods made a good "brown" addition to the compost too.

There are still a couple of saucers of drying seeds, though these are flowers: Cosmos and Cornflower, but they won't take long and they can be enveloped up and labelled before being put away for next year

And there is a box of Apples and a basket of Pears on the side too

The leaves on the Acer trees have turned a glorious colour again this year, getting better day on day. This is the dwarf one alongside the path, which has some fern fronds growing through the canopy. It  might be dwarf but it is far from small, being a couple of metres across at least

And the two either side of the arbour, which were repotted last Spring, are starting to change colour too

The new pond pump is now n=installed, with help from my son. Definitely easier with two people, as the cable had to the threaded through the hole in the garage wall, and also led down to th epond through various shrubs , including a large rose plant. Very much enjoying the sound of running water in the pond again, and the movement the flow creates will stop the water completely freezing over during the Winter

This week I aim to get at least one more bed outside Winter-ready, and the Herb bed weeded over too, depending on the weather. Two beds would be a bonus and if any of the Lavender gets cut, that will be amazing!

In the polytunnel, compost being added to one bed and all covered over is a priority, as I don't want the soil to dry out again now

Packaging and labelling the saved flower seeds at home is a job for this week, freezing down the remaining Pears now they are properly ripe and moving Apples for storing to the garage

I daresay everyone is busy too, and I hope the weather isn't too harsh for the coming week. I shall be back next Monday, and you can see how far I get with the everlasting jobs list!

info@alittlebitofsunshine.co.uk

 Comments and suggestions are most welcome, and I shall reply as soon as I can

And if you'd like to know more about Harvest Monday, look at

www.ourhappyacres.com