Sunday, 27 September 2009

Tidying up for Autumn

Welcome back to Reads Retreat! Oops ! - I started this post about 2 weeks ago, and forgot to finish & publish it! God, where does the time go? At the time of these pictures, we were having a good run of green toms, so many in fact that i decided to cut these from the dwindling plants, to bring them inside to hopefully ripen up on the windowsill. I'm pleased to tell you that this is going well!

Notwithstanding the plethora of green toms, we are also madly harvesting the rest of the ripe toms. The daily haul includes Moneymaker, Gardeners Delight, and Yellow Pear. We seem to be getting a good late crop, even as I belatedly type this post up (well into October) we are still harvesting them on a daily basis. Yum!

The plants themselves are now a tad bedraggled, and very soon we will pick the remainder of the crop before tidying up and throwing away the remains of the plants. We really have had a bumper crop, and have to lay the blame of late pickings on the weather.

We've had some similair late successes with our Chilli plants. This one of unknown origin (a present from Huw & Jane) has done remarkably well, producing an abundance of 3/4" long hot specimens. They've mostly all ripened on the plant, though some will inevitably be taken inside to finish their ripening.

As for this beauty - we've had loads of these fiery hot "Firetongue". This plant was purchased from Victoriana Nurseries, quite late in the season, and with a bit of TLC has put on tremendous growth. Jen used this variety in our home made tomato sauce!

These Jalapeno "Hercules" are somewhat dissapointing in that they have failed to redden up. We've been using them as they are and have no complaints!

We've been tidying up the raised beds, and this one has a fresh mulch of spent grow bag compost on top. It's uncanny just how much the level in the raised beds has fallen over the last couple of years, and this top dressing should go some way to rebuilding that level. We've had some excellent crops from this bed, including some great tasting Lollo Rosso - cut and come again lettuce. There's still half a dozen or so carrots left to pull, before the bed is finally covered for the winter.

Our Rhubarb crown has done bloomin great this year, providing substantial harvests up to the end of August. We'll let the leaves die back a tad more, before applying our winter dressing of manure / compost. We do this every year and it seems to do well from it. We have a second crown in the borders now (v. Victoria) which should mean an even bigger crop next year.

We still have this Butternut Squash (v.Hunter)in the raised bed. Won't be long now till harvest time, as the weather is deteriorating and the temperature starting to drop. Must get this one in before the first frost.

Our Asparagus bed is doing pretty well. 8 out of the original 10 plants have survived, and we're hopeful that we'll get to harvest some next April. If not, then we'll have the satisfaction of eating fresh Asparagus from the allotment - the plot we've just taken on has an established asparagus bed already!

This runner bean plant (v.Scarlet Emperor) has inadvertently turned into our sacrificial seed generator. To be honest we kind of forgot about the seeds that Ruby planted, and as we had such a great crop recently from the plot, we never needed to harvest these. There's a good bunch of nice sized dry pods, which will yield a good amount of seeds for next year!

And finally a pic of our ever eager helper. Ruby had a fantastic time "helping" us clear up the garden. Cant wait for next year when she'll be a bit more able to understand what we're doing.

That's all for now folks, but check back soon for more updates.

Enjoy your gardens - we love autumn!


Sunday, 6 September 2009

What's growing at Reads Retreat

Welcome back to Reads Retreat, the home of veg growing in raised beds. Aside from the mornings work at the allotment, there's still a riot of activity on the home plot! This Butternut Squash(v.Hunter) is the pick of the crop at the moment - being quite huge in size and still growing. It's a first for the home plot, and one to be repeated at the allotment next year. There's a good few others growing here, but this is by far the largest. Needs a bit more sun yet to ripen it up. Fingers crossed eh !

The Dwarf Yellow podded French beans are still producing well. We manage to eat them a couple of times a week, and although they're getting fewer in number now, we hope to be cropping them for a good few weeks hence. This is another for the allotment next year. Must remember to save some seeds!

Our late sowed Courgette is still producing! We managed to cut another 6 incher today, but will be using it tomorrow. There's still plenty growing too, despite the white mottled leaves and the plants poor appearance. Might as well get what we can from it!

The even later planted Zucchini are growing well too, though the plants themselves are way smaller. I reckon if we get enough sunshine in the next 6-8 weeks, then we may be able to get a crop from these too. Nothing to lose by waiting a little while.

The toms are reddening up nicely. We're picking these almost daily now and loving the taste. The Yellow Pear ones are fruiting well, but I'm not as keen as Jen on their taste. Elsewhere around the plot we have a half dozen or so Moneymaker plants, which are currently full of trusses, but none of them are ripe yet!

That's about it for today's update - hope you've had a good read!

Dont forget to visit our new blog - Reads Recipe's - which Jen is updating on a regular basis.

Hope you are still enjoying your gardens as much as we are.

Take care all


Saturday, 5 September 2009

Check out our new blog:

Launched only a couple of days ago:

aims to showcase all the wonderful recipes we use.

Bookmark us and pop back soon, as we slowly get to grips with yet another blog!


Tuesday, 1 September 2009

First September Harvest

Welcome back to Reads Retreat. Every day it seems that winter draws a stage closer, soon we'll be "decking the halls ...etc" and looking forward to spring. What a cheery thought! At least we can still harvest home grown veg from the garden & the plot. These 3 courgettes are just at the right size, and eager to be eaten - guess we'll have to keep them happy!

One thing that brings us so much joy, is the excitement Ruby has when she gets to pose for the camera with something freshly harvested, these 2 cobs of sweetcorn proving the point. She really wanted to get peeling, so I was lucky to get a quick photo first!

Don't you just love the look on her face,"these are mine " kind of look. Whenever we plant any seeds in the garden, Ruby always helps, as she did when we planted this corn. Variety is Swift Early - and we'll be growing these again next year - but in larger numbers!

The final harvest from the raised beds today was this handful of Dwarf Yellow Podded French Beans. This crop has been a rip roaring success this year, and they taste out of this world. Definitely one to grow a lot more of next season.

That's all from Reads Retreat today, hope you've enjoyed the update.

Hope all your gardens and plots are going well too.

Take care all,