Though a burst of unexpected sunshine is holding off the inevitable, that good old Autumn chill can certainly be felt in the mornings and evenings! The garden is showing it too: leaves are turning (or gone already) and plants are looking decidedly scrappy and tired. Having said that, we still have a few cucumbers trickling in, the tomatoes are still going, the beans are going in for their third flowering, I’ve been digging up potatoes, pulling carrots and turnips, the dahlias are amazing, and some of the roses are flowering again….. Oh, and the second batch of raspberries are even bigger and tastier than the first!
As an experiment I started off a demijohn of apple wine….never made it before so have no idea what I’m doing or what it’ll be like, but when you have this many apples, why not?
I debated taking pictures to pretty up this plain post, and there’s actually plenty I could have used. Photos of flowers, the dahlias, gladioli, roses, fuchsias etc. The confused strawberry which is flowering, or the robins that venture to our feet whenever anyone’s working in the garden. The crazily blue sky I’ve been enjoying this week. The seedlings coming up in the greenhouse. Instead I’ve been busy doing things! Writing of course, and then we’ve started work’s started on the front garden, (we intend to put up trellising, plant climbers to train over it, and when that’s established, clear the dead bushes out) digging out the compost bins, more writing and editing, potting up, clearing finished plants and digging over the area, bringing sensitive plants that can be moved inside, clearing leaves, making endless apple juice and apples pies and tomato sauce, so that now the freezer’s full. Oh, and art/craft stuff in the evenings. And I’m making a new shelf/cupboard for the kitchen, partly to hold all the garden produce – the jams, bottled fruit, mincemeat, chutney, relish and whatnot.
The main garden issues over the last month:
- Where to put all the apples (We now have three crates with apples layered in newspaper as well as all the juice and pies and bottled and frozen.) Though they look to be nearly done now.
- Caterpillars. I have never seen so many caterpillars as we’ve had this year, and they eat everything. You know in school they tell you that each caterpillar needs a different type of plant and they can only eat that? Rubbish. I’ve found them on cabbages, carrots, strawberries, cucumbers, lettuces, flowers, tomatoes…..anything and everything. Luckily we can feed them to the hens!
- Dahlias: they need staking before they grow too big, even if they look okay. Once you can see they need staking, it’s too late to do anything about it because the stems are too stiff and brittle.
- What to do with the raspberries, because they’re not keeping brilliantly, I’ve used all the jars we have for bottling, don’t fancy jam, and although you can freeze raspberries you need space to keep them in the freezer and you have to put them in something when you go to use them. Instead it was decided to make raspberry cordial, which really tastes of raspberries and can be frozen.
One last thing; you really know the seasons are moving on when you realise you’re doing the watering in the dark!