Sunday, 2 November 2008

November Already

It's amazing that a month has gone by since I last posted. The garden is now winding down with a vengance, the grapes all picked and eaten, the runner beans cleared and the greenhouse now housing plants that need a bit more protection. This year I moved the lemon and peach trees inside before there was any frost forecast. The poor lemon overwintered outside last year, and although it survived, it lost most of its leaves and we had no lemons. My previous peach tree got peach leaf curl very badly, and never recovered. As this disease is spread by rain in winter, I have moved the tree inside to protect it. Hopefully it will flower around February and produce some peaches, although how reliable it will be, as it is a home grown seedling, I don't know.
The chillies are still covered with fruit, I made another batch of jam, which seems hotter than the last lot. It's difficult to judge what it will be like, as the chillies vary so much in heat. Hopefully the rest will ripen off in the greenhouse, I'm hoping to bring a couple of plants inside, as apparently they can be overwintered and grow on much quicker next year, rather than starting from scratch with seeds in January.
I was disappointed with my yacon. I dug one plant up yesterday, but there was very little growth. There should be small tubers for replanting and a large storage root, neither evident on my plant. I have potted it up and put it in the greenhouse, in the hope it will continue to grow and at least provide me with planting material for next year. I am now wondering whether to dig up the other two, rather than waiting for the tops to catch the frost. If they have done nothing either it would be better to move them inside while they still have leaves!
I still have celeriac, beetroot and parsnips in the ground. I am waiting for the parsnips to catch the frost as it is suppose to turn the starch to sugar so they taste sweeter. The celeriac should stand the winter well too, and hopefully keep growing. Interestingly I have found a number of dead slugs recently, although it is ages since I last treated with nematodes. Still any slug is better dead than alive, especially as they will eat into any veg still in the ground.
I do not know how they are getting in, but I found 3 slugs in my downstairs bathroom, chowing down on the cat biscuits. I couldn't see any trails from back or front doors, but can't see how else they got in, unless they hitched a lift on one of the cats! Mice seem to have been an issue for most of my neighbours too, one caught 30! I'm being vigilant, as the cats (6 of them) are not allowed in the bedrooms or kitchen, so would not be able to deal with any visitors in the time honored fashion.
I decided to brighten up the garden with some pots of colour last weekend. I planted tulips down deep in some of the old compost used for courgettes, after adding some chicken manure pellets. Then I have topped these with ornamental kale, pansies and cyclamen. Hopefully these will look good right into April next year. I had just finished and came in to watch Gardeners World online, where they were doing exactly the same thing!

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