Today is quite damp and overcast and I am delighted to say that Aideen has offered to help again. This is a massive bonus as there is so much to do, so we start with a stroll around the vegetable garden, assessing the remaining crops and potential jobs.
In the brassica quarter, the original cabbages are in a good state, the Brussel sprouts are coming along nicely and the new cabbages, cauliflowers and sprouting broccoli are also thriving. There are plenty of swedes and the Kale looks fantastic, in particular, the Emerald Ice and especially the Midnight Sun (purple/pink) look beautiful with glistening drops of dew, so I get Aideen to take a picture.
In the bean/onion quarter, things have mainly finished, except the leeks, but I do have cornflower seedlings to transplant and I eventually uncover some spring onions that have become swamped by borage. In the sweetcorn/beetroot quarter there is still beetroot, chard, chicory and parsnips. I am also debating what to do about the Jerusalem Artichoke bed. Aideen looked at the mass of towering, now dead, stalks and said “What’s that?” and seemed none the wiser when I answered, “Jerusalem artichokes”...there must be a tonne of tubers below the surface and there is a limit to what can be done with them, especially as they cause flatulence!
Finally, the potato/courgette quarter, where I found two surviving courgettes! I asked Aideen to clear another bed, which is the only one still containing potatoes, which need to be dug out. These were red skinned potatoes which I find do not produce as many tubers. Generally, this year I’ve found the potato crop to be lighter than usual, and I do not have many potatoes left considering I planted six beds originally. Not many will be left to store, we will have probably eaten them by the end of the month. However, I have noticed that we’ve eaten much less rice over the summer because I’m using the potatoes from the garden! I point out to Aideen that there is some curly leaved parsley in the bed she is about to dig, so she leaves it in place. Then to her horror, I pick a leaf off what she thinks is a weed and pop it into my mouth whilst I decide whether it is Lambs Lettuce or Purslane, I think she thinks I will be poisoned! We also still have a few tomatoes, peppers and plenty of chillies in the polytunnel and masses of butternut squash, pumpkins, apples, onions, shallots and garlic, so I don’t think we are going hungry anytime soon!
My job today is to plant out the remaining garlic, Autumn onions and shallots into the two beds already cleared by Aideen. Just another type of bulb planting. I plant out the Mersely Wight, Extra Early Wight, Early Purple Wight and Carcassonne Wight garlic. Then Shakespeare, Radar and Snowball, Senshyu Yellow and Rolieri (a red onion that has been sent to replace my order of Electric onions that are unavailable) and finally, Jermor and Griselle Shallots. These pretty much fill the two beds.
The wildflower seed selections arrive today so maybe I will concentrate on the mini orchard next, first putting in the 550 crocus bulbs and the 200 Snakeshead Fritillary then we can add the three new selections of wildflower seed.
When we come in, we picked up another lovely email from a member of Hatch End Horticultural Society about yesterday’s talk. I am really touched by the response we are receiving.