I rather enjoy autumn, the chance to pack it all away (and make space for winter veg) while the weather is just nice enough to be outside, the trees being laden with berries, leaves turning the most glorious shades of burgundy, red, yellow and acorns (lots of them!) appearing on the ground.
|Orach (aka Mountain Spinach); stems are great cut for a flower vase in the late summer. |
Stems left on the plant into autumn quickly develop brown seedheads.
Although the weather's feeling autumnal, there's still plenty to eat. Tomatoes, sweet corn and apples are still slowly ripening in the veg patch. I had home-grown tomatoes on toast for a late supper last night, one of my favourite quick snacks. I didn't need many as the Sub-Arctic and First in Field toms are almost a meal in themselves, weighing in at around 100g apiece! (And frequently falling off the vine due to their weight and needing to be ripened in the banana bowl.)
I've grown several varieties this year - Yellow Pear, Outdoor Girl, Sub-Arctic and First in Field, the last two being a larger variety. All are supposed to do well if grown outdoors in the UK climate. I bought some compostable tomato buckets to plant them in; these are supposed to let the deeper roots search out water in the ground so only the uppermost roots need feeding and this is done by only watering into the bucket area. Very neat. Having a proper warm summer probably helped but there's no denying that I've enjoyed good harvests - not massive deluges of tomatoes but just a gentle daily trickle of ripening tomatoes, enough for a salad or gardening snack. The self-seeded Cherriettes of Fire (bottom right, above), a tiny centimetre wide fruit, have been perfect for snacking and the children love them as well. I allow the end of season fruits to fall back into the compost and rot down there, knowing that that's next year's tomato sowing taken care of!
|Tomato 'buckets' - quite hard to see as they blend in with the soil!|
It's interesting to look back and think about what worked and what didn't at the end of each growing year, especially if you have limited space, like me. The big issue this year has been having enough time to look after the garden so crops that look after themselves (bar a bit of feeding and staking) such as these tomatoes, beans and potatoes, are a boon. There seems to be a lot of reward for very little effort! The biggest issue this year, though, has been the cat/fox visitors and their calling cards. Some serious thinking is needed to come up with a solution to keep them at bay while keeping the beds easily accessible to gardeners!