Friday, 28 August 2009

Nights are drawing in

It was only the other day I was reading a post from a gardener in Scotland about the nights drawing in, and the weather turning chilly in the mornings. This morning the spider's webs were across the path, and a cold wind was blowing along Gillingham High Street, not to mention the fact that it's virtually dark at 8pm now. I noticed how quickly the courgettes have come to an end too. 2 weeks ago they all looked healthy and I was inundated with fruit, yesterday when I went to the allotment garden all the Cavili plants have succumbed to powdery mildew, although the green courgette (either Parthenon or Black Beauty, the label was lost) still looks quite healthy. Whether I will get more fruit I don't know, there are no more flowers. The marketmore cucumbers looked a bit the worse for wear too.
Vicky has named the pumpkins, George is the largest, with twins Fred and Sam almost half his size. The plants still look quite healthy, although of course, they will set no more fruit. The butternut squash plants have set several now, the largest is on the self sown one from the bokashi bin, closely followed by the unnamed seed from Wilkingsons. Both the Hunter plants look pretty sick, with no squash set so far, so I think it is a bit late for these now.
The cabbage white and hawkmoth caterpillars managed to see off the cauliflowers, we didn't get anything from these, but there are still a couple of cabbages in the fridge, which I cut before the caterpillars totally ruined them. I still keep picking them off the sprouts in the hopes I will actually manage to keep them at bay until the weather turns cold enough to stop them. Typically, now the summer holidays are virtually at an end, there is so much to do in the garden. I need to clear out the finished plants and get a compost bin set up in the allotment garden. I bought some Japanese overwintering onions today, £2 for 50 from Wilkingsons, although it is a bit early to plant them yet. I also got some Cobra climbing french beans as these have done phenominally well this year, as well as some kohl rabi and some courgettes which are supposed to show some resistance to powdery mildew, all at 75% off. I saved over £5 on seeds I would have been buying next year anyway, and no postage or packing. I was in town anyway.
I have enough jam made now to keep us going for a couple of years I think, (golden plum, scotch bonnet and plum, chocolate habanero and plum, blackberry, blackcurrant, marrow and apricot, raspberry and a blackberry and blackcurrant mixture) as well as 2 plum based chutneys and a cucumber relish. I think I spoiled the second chutney though by adding some blackberries to it, an idea I'd seen in another recipe. Unfortunately the seeds have cooked very hard, which has made it a bit unpleasant to eat, although the flavour's rather nice. I do still need to make an apple and tomato based chilli jam though, as Daniel is not so keen on the hot plum.

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