Snipping off the growing tips and taking off some of the leaves worked wonders as mid-month there were so many ripe and nearly ripe tomatoes that I decided to make my own tomato sauce and freeze it in small batches for adding to pasta. I just placed them in the slow-cooker on low with a splash of hot water from the kettle and added three garlic cloves, a red onion and some oregano from my herb bed.
I finally started to get Tumbling Tom yellow cherry tomatoes. I planted up four home-grown plants into half-growbags outside, moving them into the greenhouse at the end of August. Three out of the four turned out to be red tomatoes and did not show the tumbling habit of the fourth – and were red, so the seeds I bought must have been mixed. But there are plenty of fruits still to ripen. I have to say that I prefer the sweeter taste of the fruits from single Tumbling Tom plant to the Moneymaker tomatoes my brother gave me.
I’d already used a couple of leeks before we went away at the beginning of September. When we came home after a week, the leeks had grown in height and width. The first thing I did when we arrived home was make vegetable soup using three of the fattest, and very tasty it was too.
I was late planting these, and made the mistake of planting them in a pot – but too close together. I later thinned them and planted the thinnings into one of the raised beds. But I also planted a few seeds directly into the bed and these are now proper carrots (the others are still micro veg!!).
These are continuing to grow and spread. By mid-September I had several small cucumbers and flowers appearing. As they are growing in a raised bed I don’t think it is possible to over-water them so I’ve been giving them a good soaking every couple of days since we got back. For lack of anything else, I added a tomato liquid feed once a week.
This is the first one I picked. It’s not pretty, but I don’t care.
This was a new crop for me, and not very successful; probably because I only had two plants donated by my brother. They grew quite tall and produced two cobs each, but one on each plant was very small and the larger ones didn’t plump out fully. But I cooked the largest after cutting off the end, and it tasted fine – better than the supermarket and no chance of going out of date.
There have performed consistently, once they got going. I had three plants from a packet of mixed seeds – two pale yellow pods and one purple pod (turns dark green when cooked).
I froze a batch before we went on holiday and had to freeze a second batch when we returned. We’ve eaten them cooked (steamed for 5 minutes), raw in salads, and in stir-fries. I’ll definitely be growing these again, and the metal arch was ideal for them.
Have all done well. The mint plant I bought and planted in an old plastic shopping basket grew so much that I have bags of it in the freezer – ideal for mint tea. Chives didn’t do so well at first – maybe I mistook them for weeds and caught them with the hoe; but there’s a small patch growing in my mini herb bed along with oregano and thyme. I only planted woody-stemmed herbs outside in the hope that they survive the winter. Parsley and basil both failed.
Jobs completed this month
The last of the old bricks have gone – hurrah! We moved the final fifty to the stack behind the garage and took the remainder of the broken bricks to the Recycling centre. Unfortunately the rubble sacks we took them in had holes in which prevented us from getting some of the free compost they had available.
I’ve also emptied, tidied and raked over one of my raised beds. There wasn’t much left in it. Both sunflowers uprooted in the winds, mid-month; peas and beans had finished; lambs lettuce wasn’t doing anything, so everything came out and I’ve used battens to protect the soil in the bed from the neighbourhood cats and their unsanitary habit of using my garden as their litter tray.
I’m going to make use of the conservatory to grow salad crops (Salad Bowl lettuce and lamb’s lettuce) and have another attempt at parsley and basil. There’s not much more I can squeeze in there, though I have started off some Californian sweet pepper seeds. If they germinate then I’ll move them from the greenhouse.