Winter. The ground is wet and the paths are slippery, the greenhouse has been cleaned ready for next season. In the poly-tunel we have young pea (Douce Provence), broad bean (Super Aquadulce), calabrese (Matsui F1), cauliflower (Zaragoza F1) and cabbage (Duncan) plants, together with an assortment of oriental cabbages, grown from seed, all of which we hope will produce early harvests next spring.

Autumn planted garlic, shallots and onions have sprouted; the onions are currently recovering from a battering caused when recent gales torn down a fleece tunnel that flapped across their bed flattening them. The Winter Gem lettuce have hardened themselves against the weather. A few rows of swedes, leeks and celeriac remain to be harvested. The chard has almost gone but there is still kale and a few red cabbages (Kalibos) which didn't get pickled. A row of Best of All savoy cabbage is almost ready for harvest, in time for Christmas dinner. The Autumn broad beans, planted too late, are still in flower, but there is little prospect of further beans maturing but the summer cut calabrese (Matsuri) is still producing side sprouts, providing a small, steady supply of broccoli stems.

Autumn2020 00000003

Fruit beds have been mulched, black current and gooseberry cuttings taken and container grown young bushes stowed behind walls of hay bales. The cucamelon plants have been cut down and the tubers stored under fleece until next year. The raspberries (some variety of primocane I can no longer remember) kept us in fruit until mid November, not quite meeting last year's early December, and will soon be cut back.  The "new rhubarb" crowns have been in for two full seasons now and we are looking forward to a full harvest next summer.

Autumn2020 00000006

Three avocado stones tossed into the compost sprouted and are now potted indoors along side the pineapple plant. They will all move to the greenhouse in late Spring when risk of frost has passed. A few avocado trees may make our Mexican resident feel more at home.

As an experiment we have trimmed a few chilli and sweet pepper plants and are attempting to keep them over winter for an early start next season. We don't have space in the house and no heating in the greenhouse or poly-tunel, so they are wrapped in fleece in the tunnel where they will be best protected against frost. If they survive and grow, that will be good but our expectations are low. We managed to over winter one bell pepper plant indoors last year and it produced some fruit this summer, but it was not a healthy plant. 

Now we have logs to chop, paths to lay, additional raised beds and trellising to build. It will be a busy winter, weather permitting.