9 Oct 2016

#UpandAutumn

... to borrow a hashtag phrase which I keep seeing on Twitter.  I love it, it's so appropriate, especially given the sunny weather we've had this week to start the season off.  There's nothing quite like blue skies to make me feel motivated and now is not the time to start slacking off in the garden. (I've done enough of that already this summer!)

Veg gatherings

There's bulbs to plant.  I have a large basket full waiting to be planted; alliums, daffodils, snowdrops and crocuses can go in now so that they have a chance to develop roots while the soil is still warm - that's particularly true of alliums - and I also have about 250 tulip bulbs which I'll plant next month when it's a bit colder. That's nowhere near the thousands of bulbs that are planted in public gardens but I know my limitations - kneeling pads, restorative yoga and Deep Heat at the ready.

Every year I add to the previous year's tulips; I never lift the bulbs when they've finished flowering but nip off the flowering stalk and wait for the leaves to die back. Most of the bulbs have proved reliably perennial so far - fingers crossed for this year as well, although realistically they'll be less vigorous year on year.  Bargains are a necessity as my work in the communal gardens here is not funded.  This year, I'm very taken with 'Sherbet' bulbs from Morrison's supermarket. I grew them last year and there were some absolute beauties in the mix. I paid £2 per bag of 12 which I think is quite good, even with no budget to speak of.

Another job waiting for my attention is the planting of several grasses in the middle garden. Remember that space?  Yep, big plans, not enough time. It's mostly been used as a holding/nursery area for plants this year while I flesh out a plan and watch how the light falls across the garden throughout the year.  As luck would have it, I collected a car load of plants from the T2 tea collaboration with Rich Landscapes last week and autumn is a good time to plant perennials.  I'm hoping to dedicate a large part of my weekend to weeding, planting and pruning; it's much needed.




The veg patch is ticking over at the moment. Braeburn apples have ripened and are, amazingly (touch wood), still on the tree.  I usually pick one a day to munch on.  A few pears need to be picked and ripened indoors and, huge excitement, I've got five quinces ripening! This is a first and I'm really looking forward to cooking with those - or even just being able to smell the famous perfumed quince at last.

Borlotti beans have coloured up beautifully and are now an astonishingly vibrant red.  I don't know yet what they taste like as I'm saving any ripened pods until I have enough to cook with.  Likewise with the tomatoes.  Remember my despair a few weeks back? I needn't have panicked, I now have bowls of beautiful yellow plum shaped tomatoes - and no sign of blight.  I'm still going to choose my tomato seeds with better care next year though.  It's worth noting that Banana Legs (the yellow plum tomatoes) were prolific, each fruit 2 to 3 inches long and each plant growing several clusters of 5 to 6 fruits. I bought the seeds from Pennard Plants at one of the early RHS shows.

I've still got to plant out Cavolo and curly kale but it's a question of where? The patch is still stuffed with chard, beetroot (small leaves of both excellent in salads), broccoli, rhubarb and radishes that I'm letting flower so I can try the pods - supposedly a restaurant delicacy, don't you know!


orache + fennel
~Orache (Atriplex rubra) aka Mountain Spinach and Fennel - both self seed enthusiastically at this time. ~

And then there's seed saving ... and sowing for next year's annuals ... and mulching ... and, and, and. Onwards, always onwards.

Like I say, up and at 'em.

21 comments:

  1. It all looks and sounds amazingly healthy. I've just written "2017 - banana legs" in my garden notebook. I hope I remember what it means... It sounds like a good variety to try though, I'm always on the lookout for tomatoes that people have recommended. Good luck with the bulb planting. I went to the allotment four days in a row last week, and probably the same this week, and I can really feel it! CJ xx

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    1. I'm always wary of recommending varieties, CJ, as what grows well here one year can fail spectacularly elsewhere in another year. It's still probably worth a try though! I think bulb planting will follow a plan and be little and often - and hopefully before the weather gets too cold! Hope you're feeling less stiff now; I also have a tendency to get stuck in then feel the pain later! Cx

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  2. I too had some of those Sherbet Mix tulips from Morrisons last year and they were fab. I also had a pack of 12 "Reds" (there were 5 or 6 different types), which were even better. Great value too. This week I bought a mixed pack of 50 tulips for £3. I hope they are as good! I had a different result to you from some Banana Legs tomatoes last year. Mine were insipid and tasteless, and the yield was below average. Can't win 'em all I suppose...

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    1. I loved the Sherbet tulips, Mark, they were all so different and such a change from my deep pink/bright red/yellow and red striped ones that come up year on year. I think the bigger bags tend to have the brighter colours but they still look spectacular in flower. You seem to get really good harvests of tomatoes so perhaps it's all relative. Which tomato would you recommend for flavour, I wonder?

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  3. I've not come across that particular hashtag yet but as you say it's rather appropriate Caro. Great news on your quince harvest - let us know your verdict. I had a most pleasant afternoon pottering about in the garden this afternoon. It's a great time of year for working outside. I've not come across 'Sherbet' tulips before but a trip to Morrisons is on the cards later this week so I will keep my eyes peeled :)

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    1. I love this time of year for gardening. The slight chill helps when there's hard work to be done and it's great to be outside breathing in fresh air before the winter cold sets in. Good luck in getting some Sherbet bulbs, they'd look lovely in a pot as well.

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  4. A good post and nice pictures. You're doing well harvesting as you are, and clearly going to be busy bulb planting.
    There's still lots to do so let's hope the weather stays good.
    Happy gardening. Flighty xx

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    1. Thanks, Flighty. Yes, I think I'll be kept out of mischief for a while in the garden! I only get the weekends (and evenings while there's a little light left) so nice weather would be a bonus. C x

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  5. I've just spent three hours on the allotment clearing runner and borlotti beans and picking brocolli and a cabbage. The beans will be podded and dried. There's lots more to do with acres of nasturtiums to lift but those have to wait till the first frost. Hopefully from now until it gets really chilly I can do an hourly sessions twice a week before taking a break. Thanks for the tomato tip it's in the diary for next year.

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    1. Everyone knows that if I say I'm going to "pop down to the garden" they won't see me for a good while! I cleared nasturtiums when they were heavily infested with black aphids earlier in the year but the dropped seeds have sprouted so I'll also have nasturtiums to clear before long. I think I might cook and eat my borlotti beans as I hear the flavour is great and next year I'll be sowing lots more!

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  6. Caro, Banana Legs noted. The name I love! And your borlotti beans look amazing - I have never tried them, perhaps my new potager plant for 2017? Hope you have a bath at home - we've been prepping our new spring bulb border today and my husband currently relieving his back in a hot bath!!! Like you I'll be at yoga so that I can do as many hours as possible in the month ahead! x

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    1. Haha, I love veg that have been named well. I grew tomatoes called 'Cherriettes of Fire' a couple of years ago - they were great too! Borlottis are on my list for next year again - but twice as many. They don't seem to be prolific croppers and look so beautiful so well worth growing. I can recommend Epsom Salts with Eucalyptus for a nice post-gardening soak in the tub, and it's especially nice on these chillier evenings! I look forward to reading about your winter garden! (and thank goodness for yoga!)

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  7. Gosh, you are going to be busy, but in a wonderful way. Your harvests are just fab, glad to hear you finally got quinces, do tell if they are as fragrant as you hope.xxx

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    1. It'll be me against the darkening evenings; I went straight into the garden after work tonight and within the half hour it was dusk. I had to finish in the dark! At 7pm! :( I've heard that people leave quinces in a bowl to perfume a room so I'll let you know (mine will still be eaten though) xx

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  8. I never lift tulips either and am looking forward to a good quince harvest.

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    1. How often have you had to replace your tulips, Sue? I'm assuming mine will eventually run out of steam and this will be the fourth spring for some of them. I hope you'll share some recipes when your quinces are harvested to give me some ideas beyond stewed quince/apple and membrillo paste!

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    2. I'm not sure how long I'd say how long tulips last as it seems to depend on the type. One type has been coming up.for years and others fade after a couple of years.
      I'm afraid that we are boring when using fruit and tend to stew and freeze fruit compote.

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  9. Replies
    1. Aren't they just fab, Endah! I love 'em and will be growing LOTS more next year :)

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  10. I shall have to look out for those tulips in Morrisons. It does make such a difference when the sky is blue! It must have been exciting putting in so many new plants. Sarah x

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  11. All your vegetables look fabulous, & how exciting to have quince! I have 6 new raised beds in my garden & I can't wait to have vegetables growing again after giving up the allotment! x

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Caro x

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