There is quite a bit of bare soil, now that the onions, shallots and potatoes have been harvested, and recent weather conditions have not been conducive to sowing any seeds to fill the gaps. In fact most of my Winter crops are already in. I have two rows each of 24 Leeks, a row of Parsnips, seven Brussels Sprout plants and several cabbages.
|Leeks next to Beetroot|
|Most of the Leeks are this size|
|Brussels Sprout plants|
|Little sprouts forming|
The cabbages are mostly under netting, as seen here, although the "January King" ones (left of photo) will soon be too big for this arrangement.
I do still have one cauliflower, but it is the world's weirdest one - it looks more like White Sprouting Broccoli.
I have recently seen stuff like this being sold in one of our local supermarkets, labelled "White Sprouting Broccoli", but I'm convinced it's just bolted cauliflowers!
As I reported a few days ago, I have harvested my shelling beans, and now I have also taken down the wigwam of canes that used to support them, since this will allow just a little extra light to reach the Brussels Sprouts. You can see the wigwam in my next photo (at the left), with the sprouts behind it, but if you scroll back to the first photo of this post, you see that it has gone.
|In the foreground are Parsnips, Beetroot and Leeks|
My Beetroot won't last into the Winter at the rate we're consuming them. Now that they are being thinned in this way, the remainder have finally got enough room to swell up more, like these ones:
The "Pumpkin Patch" is definitely looking a bit tired now. The first thing I notice whenever I arrive at the plot is how droopy the leaves of the squash plants are!
Fortunately, once the plants get a drink they perk up pretty rapidly, often within minutes. The fruits are still looking fine, although not yet ripe. I have been getting advice from various Twitter friends on how to tell when a squash is ripe, so I'm confident that my ones have some way to go yet - particularly the Butternuts, whose skins are still fairly pale and soft. One test of ripeness that I have learned is to try pushing a thumbnail into the skin of the squash. If you can penetrate the skin easily, the squash is not ripe. The skin should be hard and rigid. I'm expecting my squashes to be ready by mid to late September, and since at present there are 11 respectable fruits they should keep us supplied for many weeks thereafter.
|Butternut Squash "Sweetmax"|
The three tomato plants that are in amongst the squashes have some fruits on them too, though not as many nor as big as their siblings growing in containers in my own garden. Like everything else at the plot, they have had to make do with less-than-ideal amounts of water.
The single "Mountain Magic" tomato plant that ended up in amongst the Dwarf beans and New Zealand Spinach also seems to have done well enough. It has set a lot of fruits, but again they are smaller than those on the one I have in my home garden. I didn't pinch out or tie-in the sideshoots of this plant so they have grown tall and flopped over. Lying on the ground like this their fruit will be very vulnerable to slug attack, something I shall have to be wary of, given the recent rain.
|Tomato "Mountain Magic"|
|Tomato "Mountain Magic"|
I'm not yet saying that Autumn is here, but my plot has a definite end of season look to it. However, we have had a bit of rain over the last few days (at last), so maybe things will perk up a bit.