Sunday, 3 October 2010

What to do on a rainy Sunday

Today the weather has been really grim -- low grey cloud; steady rain with no sign of letting-up. Even the previously-white Dogwood berries have turned blue...

Dogwood berries - turning blue

Today was also the day I was supposed to be going on the Fungus Foray at Hook Common with the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Society people. I have resigned my self to not attending. The prospect of traipsing around some windswept, muddy heathland in the rain for two hours or more, peering into the shrubbery for an elusive mushroom or two just does not appeal to me right now. Bah! (I had been looking forward to this event for some considerable time...)

Anyway, nothing daunted I decided to make best use of my time in some other ways. First off (before the rain got really heavy) I went out and brought indoors the last of my Sungella tomatoes. The final few are just beginning to turn from green to yellow, and I think they will be better off indoors. OK, so ripening on the vine does perhaps give them marginally more flavour, but at this stage of the season I don't think I'm going to be that picky.

The last of the Sungella tomatoes
Isn't it odd that the last fruit to ripen are the ones at the furthest end of the truss? Perhaps its because the nutrients have further to travel! Sungella has been a real success for me this year. I only grew one plant, but it has been completely trouble-free (except when the window-cleaner knocked it over with his ladder, of course), and has produced a big crop of lovely sweet fruit over a long period.

I hastily cut down the remains of the Sungella plant, along with its companion Black Cherry, which has also yielded its last fruit, and put them in the compost bin. I shall leave sorting-out the tubs full of tomato roots and spent compost for some other (drier) time...

View From - (...the garage door)

Main task for the day though was to build a log pile for overwintering insects etc to hibernate in. This was inspired by an article by Susan Litherland which I had seen in the Kitchen Garden magazine which included a paragraph headed "Resist the urge to tidy". So I went into the garage (where I could work out of the rain) and sawed up into approximately 50cm lengths lots of bits of scrap wood. I then took them out and piled them up at the bottom of the garden, near where two of my compost bins live. This area is no good for growing anything, (except comfrey which still survives there) because it is too dry and shaded, so it might as well play host to the new log-pile. The plan is that loads of "invertebrates" (aka creepy-crawlies) will move in. These will in turn provide food for the birds.

The log-pile

Whilst building the log-pile I carried out my own Fungus Foray...

The results of my own Fungus Foray (not very impressive!)

One final task today, which I also accomplished in the shelter of the garage, was to cut back the dying growth of the Greek Oregano plants. I plan to keep these under cover during the Winter, and they should sprout again next Spring. (Gosh, doesn't that seem a long way off just now? (sigh!)

Greek Oregano being trimmed for the Winter

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