Saturday, 9 September 2017


It's always a little sad when the garden begins to look "over". Although I do have some vegetables for the Autumn and Winter, and even some PSB growing away strongly for next year's harvest, most of the contents of my Veg Plot is always stuff that matures in July, August and early September, so on its last legs now.

After yielding a satisfyingly huge crop, the tomato plants have been completely de-leafed now and only have a few fruits left to ripen.

The Runner Beans are past their peak now, though they will probably go on producing pods for at least another month now. Lurking in amongst the foliage there are plenty more bunches of fast-swelling pods like these:

But at the same time, I notice a few like this too - limp and yellowing, ones that will never mature.

My solitary Courgette plant is on its last gasp too. I have removed all the old, mildewed leaves, but the plant is determined to keep producing more.

This week it put out another flower, so maybe I'll get one more fruit before the season ends. Unlike many gardeners, I have not been inundated with courgettes. I think my plant has produced 9 or 10 fruits, and we have managed to keep pace with them. Our attempts to learn to like this vegetable have met with a modicum of success, but I don't think I'll be growing it again next year.

The things I sowed in the pots which formerly held potatoes are looking OK. I have harvested a small but viable crop of French Beans, and now the Carrots and Leeks are shaping-up quite well:

Carrots in ex-potato tubs

Leeks in ex-potato tubs

The Purple Sprouting Broccoli is getting big now - pushing up strongly against the mesh that protects it from butterflies.

I'm reluctant to remove the mesh just yet, because there are still some Cabbage White butterflies about, but it's getting to the stage where keeping the mesh on may be doing more harm than good, because it may be restricting the growth of the plants. I can't raise it any further, because the piece of mesh is not big enough!

It will soon be fruit-picking time for me. This will not take very long! One of the six fruits on my pear tree fell off today, which I interpret as a sign of maturity, so the other five may be picked soon.

Pear "Concorde"

My "Winter Banana" apple tree only produced four fruits this year, and they have all been attacked by some wretched boring (literally) insects (someone suggested Codling Moth grubs). Two of the fruits started to rot, so I picked them and salvaged what I could. Their flesh is surprisingly dense for an apple, but juicy and tasty too. Hopefully next year I'll have more.

Apple "Winter Banana"

My other apple tree ("Laxton's Superb") has not been affected by the boring insects, and has quite a lot of small but very handsome fruit on it. They are supposedly ready for picking in October, so not long now...

The days are drawing in now, and already the nights are much cooler. The garden in the mornings is dewy and festooned with spiders' webs. Soon it will be time to get the cloches and coldframes back into action. After a blazing hot June, Summer never really "took off" this year and Autumn is upon us already.


  1. Hi Mark...I have 2 rather foolish tomato plants have a lot of brown and dry leaves. A few of the plants still have over 50% green leaves...though if I examine closely even the seemingly green leaves have black spots and are yellowing. The black spots I suspect are from bacterial leave spot since I did not prune them much or keep up with removing unhealthy leaves throughout the summer or even stake them well due to health issues and working with no help from professionals or friends and relatives. Most of them do still have ripenening tomatoes after providing with my definition of an extremely satisfying harvest even by other experienced gardeners standards the amount is not to their full potential. This summer in New York is also not very hot but very humid fact I think the temperature swings a lot between high and below normal and rained a lot more than the previous years. This is my first year growing heirloom tomatoes. Last year I started out with planting cheery tomatoes only, I grow in ground. I am embarrass to say the other 3 tomato plants that I grow in fabric bags suffer from so much from abuses I dare not grow in pots again. The ones I grow in ground they produce well even I neglected them so much. Early in the season I put them out in the ground too early thinking the weather was stable enough. They all suffered from cold windy spells and aphid attacks. But all survive and produce well. The tomatoes they put out are catfaced and cracked. Now towards the end of the season I again have another aphid attack. I tried Neem Oil but the oil kill the leaves rather than the aphids. Earlier in the summer I tried pyrethrin and just dishsoap and the combination still damage the leaves but kill more aphids. I always wonder if my plants are just winding down after the earlier main harvest or if it is due to my neglect? I also really want to try pruning them more next year but have no idea to make them look like the ones in your website. Can you share with me your pruning method? Thank you!

    1. Hi Kaman; Yes, tomatoes do need a fair bit of love and careful attention if they are to crop well! Mine seldom suffer from any insect damage, so I never have to spray them with anything. Late Blight is the only significant problem I have. I feed my plants once a week with a proprietary tomato feed called "Tomorite". With the indeterminate types I remove all the sideshoots and grow the plants as single cordons. Once the fruit begins to ripen I start removing leaves, a few at a time. Of course, every tomato variety performs slightly differently, and weather conditions have a big influence, so I cannot really comment in much detail. There are lots of posts on my blog about growing tomatoes, so maybe you should use the SEARCH facility and have a browse?

  2. We leave the mesh on our brassicas all winter otherwise the plants either are covered with whitefly or devastated by wood pigeons.
    Will you use the beans inside the swollen runner beans pods?

    1. Sue, I don't think I'll have enough of the mature beans to make it worth saving them. If I had some other beans to add to them then maybe I would...

  3. Wow Mark ! You always have a brilliant harvest ! A joy to see . I also have some veggies that will be growing through the makes me feel happy when I walk around my veg garden in the middle of Winter ,to see them all growing away happily . Have a great week . Daisy :)

  4. Mark..thank you...I will use the search engine. When do you start pruning the tomatoes? When they begin to flower?

    1. I start pruning the sideshoots as soon as they appear, which is usually before any flowers develop. Then I start removing the mature leaves when the fruit begins to ripen.

  5. A sad time indeed Mark. Looks like you have bit more picking to do than us. I'm on the clear up now.


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