Ready for Winter

Alex came today.

We put fleece over the landcress, pak choi, mustards and Chinese cabbage.

I use the 35g one which is slightly thicker than the usual horticultural fleece – it seems to keep the frost at bay.

Things won’t grow that much over winter but they’ll really put on some growth after Christmas as the days get longer and there’s more light.

These are white kale, Peacock F1 variety. My friend Lawrence sent me the seeds in the post.

We tidied up the kale and red cabbage removing any yellowing or dead leaves from the plants and the ground around them – it helps stop whitefly and aphids.

We also re-staked the red cabbage and harvested some of the cavolo nero (black Tuscan kale) and the showstopping white kale.

I picked some of the carrots that are interplanted with the red cabbage.

They’re doing really well under the enviromesh with little sign of carrot fly, in fact they are some of the best I’ve ever grown.

They make up for the ongoing failure of my beetroot – the roots get nibbled when young but I can’t work out what’s inflicting the damage.

Enriching the earth

Alex moved the compost that’s ready to be laid around the apples and pear trees.

She started weeding around them but the wasps feeding on the windfalls were getting agitated so she stopped.

We’ll do more weeding next week and then lay the compost down.

While she was doing that I pulled up my cucumber plants and harvested the last dozen or so.

Next – the tomatoes were for the chop!

They lasted a long time but were finally showing signs of blight so I cut them down too and am trying to ripen them off the vine in a brown paper bag with a banana!

The pile on the right weren’t wasted – they went into a wonderful minestrone that had fennel, kale and carrot in it as well as celery and tomatoes

 

I also began harvesting my black beans – the first time I’ve grown them.

Some of them had gone mouldy from the wet weather we’ve had.

I prefer to dry them on the vine but I picked as many as looked ready – to stop yet more of them getting damaged.

They are now on a tray drying.

These are from a couple called Nicky and Graham Elliot who showed the Norfolk Organic Group round their smallholding on the Waveney Valley last year

They are a shiny midnight blue – I can’t wait to cook them later this winter.

One of my friends suggested this recipe.

I’ve also re-staked the bean plants ,which are a vigorous dwarf variety called Canterbury Black, so that the remainder that aren’t quite ready to pick get a bit more air to them – then there’s less chance of them becoming soggy and rotting in the pod.

I’ve also grown Czar Runners mainly as huge white butter beans – but they’re also delicious when younger and more tender as a runner bean.

We had some runners tonight for supper alongside a simple tomato and cucumber salad and a potato and red onion salad using some Anya and Pink Fir Apple I still have in the pantry.

This week I’ll start remaking the big compost pile nearest the house layering homemade woodchip, grass cuttings, comfrey leaves and spent vegetable plants with a little compost activator.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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