10 Sep 2017

And then it was September

Is that it? Is summer over?  You'd better believe it.  Leaves are falling from the fruit trees, children are back at school (hello again peaceful days!), seed catalogues are thumping onto the doormat and apples are blushing up nicely.  Unlike previous years, I'm feeling strangely calm about it all. Que sera sera, and all that.

The weather's been a bit tricky these past few weeks - hot one day, wet and mild the next. Luckily I'm no longer obliged to be outside putting my waterproofs through their paces; instead, as summer slips away, it's been the perfect chance to pop the kettle on and take stock.

It hasn't been the most productive of years for me for reasons explained in previous posts so I'm grateful for anything that survived my lack of attention. Except the weeds, of course. I still have one or two courgettes still pumping out little fruits, sweet peas are still flowering and the achocha plant that appeared earlier this year of its own volition has just started to grow its softly spined peppers. In previous years I've been inundated with achocha fruits by August so even this is taking its sweet time this year.

Late summer fruit, flowers, and veg collage

Soft fruit has been amazing this year, without exception - fat raspberries, sweet gooseberries, strings of redcurrants, punnets of blackcurrants from the plot and masses of Morello cherries.  Most of these have been munched by the kids living here but that's as it should be. Nothing like giving them a taste of freshly picked to pique their interest for next year.  She said optimistically ;)

Up at the allotment I've been pulling beetroot when needed, carrots are plumping up and the physalis plants have recently sprouted the flowers that will turn into cape gooseberries.  The big question is whether there'll be enough of a decent autumn for the fruit to ripen. The same goes for quite a lot of the other crops I've grown.  There are plenty of tomatoes but they're mostly green; sweet corn cobs are only just beginning to fatten, pumpkins and squashes are still small tiny.  Hopes of a small summer revival are minimal so these veg will either ripen ... or they won't. C'est la vie.

Physalis, corn cob, small squash and green tomatoes at the allotment


So what next? Well, ever the optimist, I've spread all my seeds out on the floor (still in packets, I hasten to add!) and dug out chard, spinach, wild rocket, winter hardy lettuce and komatsuna (a lovely deep green Japanese mustard spinach, great for stir fries and dead easy to grow). All of these rather enjoy the cooler temperatures of autumn so I should get a few leaves before the year end - or longer with protection. I'll also be sowing sweet peas and a few annual flowers for next year to get a head start and maybe even overwintering some broad beans.  That'll be a first for me, I usually sow in spring. My favourites - Red Epicure and Karmazyn - are both spring sown beans so I'm trying Stereo, a bean recommended as tender, excellent, and thin skinned, from Sarah Raven.

Despite the lack of a decent harvest, I was right to take a step back in August. I allowed myself time to breathe, to visit gardens, to sleep and to think. Now I'm ready to let go of this year and look forward to the next. We're not up to the autumn equinox yet but, like the kids going back to school, I'm ready for the new year - and, more importantly, looking forward to it.




20 comments:

  1. A nice post and lovely pictures. I like this time of year even though I've not much left to harvest and there are fewer flowers.
    I'm also ready for the new year, and looking forward to it. xx

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    1. Thank you, Flighty. I don't mind autumn as that's the natural order of things but it would be nice if the weather warmed up a bit! Lovely that still have a few flowers - it's all nasturtiums and verbena bonariensis over here! xx

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  2. Tow or our imminent kids are planting overwintering onions and sowing some hardy annuals.

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    1. I wondered about putting some onions and garlic in this year; it's nice to see veg starting to grow during the winter months. Hope the hardy annuals survive the winter - will they be in the greenhouse?

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  3. Lovely photos. You are so much better than me with your allotment. Jules x

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    1. Thanks, Jules. I like the peace and quiet at the allotment and enjoy the company of plot neighbours when we stop for a quick chat. It's quite inspirational to see what other plotters are growing! (Hence the overwintering broad beans, I was quite envious of the early plants that a plot neighbour had last year!) Caro xx

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  4. I'm glad you've got some good things to harvest despite a year of other things to concentrate on. It's all apples and pears here at the moment. No courgettes at all if you can believe it. The slugs got my couple of plants at home. I might even buy one! CJ xx

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    1. No courgettes? It's either feast or famine! I thought the same would happen here and, yes, I have slipped off to the supermarket when needs must. Watch out for my post on a potential slug deterrant, coming up soon. Cxx

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  5. My achocha has done exactly the same this year! I didn't plant it out very early, but it has done virtually nothing all summer, and has just decided to start growing, and flowering. Whether it will manage any fruits is anyone's guess ;)

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    1. Be careful what you wish for, Emma! I've found myself wondering that in previous years and then been overwhelmed with fruit. My achocha has now decided to reach outside the veg patch boundaries to some fennel growing in a raised bed; it's like a living spider web! Good luck with your achocha; it would probably prefer a slightly warmer autumn that is forecast.

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  6. September is always a great month for thinking ahead and making plans Caro. There's still time for those tardy crops to ripen especially in your neck of the woods. If they don't there always pickles and chutneys to come to the rescue.

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    1. Also I may even get my garlic and onions in on time! Left to the spring, they get forgotten in favour of sowing seeds in the warmth of indoors! It really does feel as though summer is over without the bonus of a few warm weeks in September/October. Ah well ....

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  7. I'm so glad to hear that you are in a better place now - and I really think that most of us would benefit from a "c'est la vie" attitude.


    I'm trying to stay relatively unflustered by what still needs to be done in the garden but some days are harder than others. I find that I'm constantly telling myself - as in literally speaking out loud - to take a step back, choose one task and forget about the rest.

    And my, those raspberries look incredible! Mine are just on the verge of ripening - although nowhere near as fat as yours, I'll be happy for whatever I can get before the first frosts arrive.

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    1. I think that's exactly the right attitude to have, Margaret. There's always plenty to be thankful for, even if it's just being outside for while whether or not we get to bring home something to eat. It's easy to panic about the amount still to be done (there's a LOT of tidying needed here!) but as long as it's not keeping pots watered that needs to be done, nature will just take its course! xx

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  8. I'm pleased to hear that you've had a little time to breathe and take stock, and that you still managed a good harvest. There is no point in sweating the small stuff, you take good care of you and enjoy planning for next year, there is always another year.xxx

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    1. Exactly, Dina. I think we all suffer a little bit from not acknowledging how exhausting life is these days. I've been very lucky to be able to take time out and, honestly, had forgotten how much work I did at the beginning of the year towards growing stuff. Pacing myself is the way to go! xx

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  9. What a lovely inspiring post! I love Autumn in so many ways but the seed catalogues! yes! Thats me sorted for a few evenings!
    Thank you so much for linking to #MyGloriousGardens this month. I hope to post a round-up post soon. x

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    1. Haha, seed catalogues, yes soooo tempting! A bit like visiting Ikea, your trolley is full and budget blown before you know it! And then there's which catalogue to be loyal to ... so many decisions that I'm sometimes quite glad of a chance to be indoors with a cuppa! x

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    2. It's good to take time to recover when life challenges. This time of year always feels demanding in the vegetable garden because most of the content is annual. But full production can be established again next year. Off to weed the allotment today because the weeds keep me awake at night.Sound familiar?

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  10. Autumn is my favourite time of year, closely followed by late spring. It always brings back that 'back to school' feeling – a fresh start, time to get a few things ticked off the list before the end of the year. And there's something about Autumn sunny mornings; the sun might be warm but there's a certain chill on the air that's so bracing, really livens me up :)

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Caro x

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