Sunday, 26 September 2010

A tidying-up session

After Friday's prolonged rain, I was pleasantly surprised to see the sun on Saturday morning. Even before 8-o'clock I was out there in the garden wading into all those tasks I had been planning during the last week, and whilst we were away on holiday.

Most important was the clearing-away of most of the tomato plants. I harvested the last of the Ferline ones before we went away, so these were the top priority. I cut the stalks and the remaining foliage into short pieces before adding them to one of my compost bins.

Ferline tomato plants awaiting the chop...
I also decided to get rid of the Currant Goldrush plant. It seemed a shame to do this when the plant was absolutely laden with fruit, but you know my views on this already. The fruits are just not good to eat -- a minuscule quantity of flesh surrounded by an exceptionally tough skin.

The Currant Goldrush plant was disposed of too
Another of the Tomatillo plants was also on its last legs, after a hugely successful season, so I harvested its last fruit (another 300g or so), and then it too went into the compost bin. I only have one Tomatillo plant left now, and that one will probably have to go within the next week or ten days.

Third of four Tomatillo plants also ended up in the compost bin
In the sunshinre this morning, I found photo opportunities even in the compost bins! what do you think of this?

Sunlight makes a pretty picture even in the compost bin!
Some of you will have seen my post about Mini-greenhouses a few days ago... I felt yesterday that the time had come to protect little "Son-of-Wilma" from the Autumnal chills, so now he is safely ensconced in one of the greenhouses. Hopefully this will allow the fruit to ripen in the next couple of weeks.

Son-of-Wilma is now enjoying the benefit of some protection
Another job that urgently needed doing was cutting back the Mint. We have had a good supply of this throughout the Summer, but the plants were definitely "past it". I have found that if you prune the plants hard at this time of year, they very often produce some useable new growth before the weather turns really cold, so that is what I have done this time.

The Mint was looking decidedly tatty
All four pots assembled ready for the "haircuts"
After the trim -- lots of new shoots visible
The end result
As well as these more significant jobs, I also did a bit of general tidying-up of the plot - things like removing a few yellowed and fallen leaves from the Winter brassicas. If you don't regularly remove stuff like this, it can harbour mould and fungal diseases, as well as providing cover for slugs. At this time of year I also have to keep picking up fallen crab-apples. Our tree produces vast quantities of fruit, most of which we cannot use, and it just drops onto the grass and the driveway, so I go round every few days and pick up another batch. Of course I then add the apples to the compost -- no organic matter is wasted on my plot!

Final task was tying-in the Sprouting Broccoli plants to stop them rocking about, or in the worst case, falling over in the forthcoming Autumn / Winter weather. As I said the other day, this is only a 10-minute job, but it's best done on a dry day, because getting in amongst those huge plants on a wet day can be pretty unpleasant. You can see from my picture that I have tied-in the biggest plants to their stakes not just once but in at least two, additional places. The purple Sprouting Broccoli plants tend to grow the tallest -- perhaps five feet? The white ones tend to be shorter -- about 3 feet. When tying-in, don't skimp on the twine; wind it around the stems and stake three or four times to make a broad, strong band. Also, try to thread the twine in such a way that it wraps mostly around the stem, and not around the leaves.

Purple Sprouting Broccoli firmly tied-in
So there we are. A few unglamourous but necessary tasks done. Some people only want the harvesting opportunities their plot presents, and they don't enjoy digging, weeding, tidying-up etc, but the fact is that results are often in direct proportion to the amount of care and attention you devote to your plot at all the other times too. No pain, no gain; as they say.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to see someone else being mad enough to take photos of their compost bin.


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