Inside the greenhouse and out

Some of the tomato plants are completely dying back for the winter, but they still have tomatoes ripening on them….
Some of these tomatoes have been put in the greenhouse to ripen.
Some beans and peppers have also been put in the warmth of the greenhouse in the hope that they will dry and the seeds be collected for planting next spring.
Inside the greenhouse peppers are turning a wonderful red, but outside, they are still flowering and fruiting too…

This chilli plant has vigourously flowered and fruited after the chillies it grew earlier in the year were left on the plant until they had dried in the sun. These were all harvested (for delicious and spicy meals) and the plant has done it’s utmost to replace it’s lost fruit and seeds.

The strawberry runners potted up and put in the greenhouse to over winter aren’t looking too good.
They have now been watered, but look like they are going to need more regular attention…
Clover, our Green Manure experiment, is sprouting well, but has been dug up a bit by squirrels. A wire mesh has been placed over this container, which will hopefully protect the tiny plants.

Planting Garlic

Autumn is the time of year to plant garlic bulbs.
Each bulb splits easily in to cloves, each clove can grow in to a new plant.

Potted up in soil-based compost, the cloves should be planted pointy end up and pushed an inch down into the soil.

Garlic is ideal for growing in containers, so we have potted some up ready to be taken home by green-fingered cooks from our Harvest Festival and BBQ on Wednesday 26th October.

We have also planted some Garlic ‘Marco’ and huge bulbs of Elephant Garlic for the garden.
And covered the delicious bulbs with, what we hope is, squirrel-proof wire….
Watch a video about how to plant garlic here.

Feed the soil, not the plant!

Understanding Soil and Soil Life, Plus Mulches and Leaf Mould
Capital Growth course at Regent’s Park Allotment Garden 15th October 2011
Our new mantra:
Feed the soil, not the plant!

Soil is surprisingly rare on the planet; what with the sea taking up so much and mountains being about, there is only about 10% of the earth’s surface that is covered in usable soil, and this is the same bit we keep building cities on!
To grow plants soil must be kept:
  • Moist
  • Warm
  • Aerated
  • Fed
Soil should be fed with:
  • Humus – this is what we are making in our compost heap
  • Vermicompost and Worm Juice– we could make this with a wormery
The pH balance of the soil is very important and for most plants should be kept at a neutral pH of about 7.
Soil should be tested regularly and the balance altered to keep it in the most fertile range. If it is too acid, we can add lime. If it is too alkaline, we can add more compost or manure.

Corrugated cardboard is good to add to compost heaps as it contains lime, used in its manufacture, it also adds carbon and allows for air to circulate the heap more easily so the bacteria can breath and compost our compost for us.

Out with the old, in with the new

The harvest is still coming, but much of the garden is settling down for winter now. 
We dug up the mint and comfrey that had Powdery Mildew and planted Clover as Green Manure in the vacant boxes. 
We have also planted tulip bulbs and broad beans ready for the spring.
As many strawberry runners as we could pot up have been placed in the greenhouse to over winter. We should have plenty of strawberries for Strawberries and Cream in the garden next summer.
Aphids are enjoying our Mustard plants! The affected parts of the plant have been removed and disposed of.
Beautiful white ‘Margo’ Runner Beans were harvested for planting next year.
The Sweet Peppers were harvested and the rest of the plant removed. 
(These were lovely roasted for my dinner!)

Harvest 8th October

Bulbs are already sprouting!

Another juicy Snozcumber is on it’s way.

These carrots are starting to look delicious!

But green tomatoes are starting to fall from the plants!

Cause for concern?

We seem to have developed some Powdery Mildew. This can be caused by lack of air circulation which we had previously thought might be a problem in the garden.
We should destroy these plants!

Powdery Mildew on mint.

This Sage plant seems to have had it…

Uh oh! Is this Tomato Blight?

Sweet Peppers are crinkling up on the plant. Should we harvest them while they are nice plump green peppers?

Seed heads and runners

Saturday 8th October, beginning to prepare for next year! Seeds are ripening all over the garden.
Radish seeds? These are nearly ready to gather.

Fennel seeds: don’t eat these unless you really love the taste of aniseed!
All the ripe, dry seed heads were gathered and stored for the winter.

Mint seed heads.

Plenty more mint seeds still to ripen.

Basil seeds need to be gathered up….

…although bees are still pollinating some of them!
Strawberry runners were pegged out in pots of soil-based compost. Once the runners have rooted in to the pots they can be cut from the mother plant and moved to the greenhouse for the winter.

We have a number of varieties of strawberries. Hope they all do well next year!

Some have taken root and have been moved in to the greenhouse already.