This is the month when autumn starts to appear and brings to an end crops such as beans, tomatoes, sweetcorn, and courgettes. There are also some later crops ready to harvest such as squashes, apples, and autumn raspberries.
I’ve picked some late fruiting Victoria plums which I’ve been popping into my lunch for a juicy treat.
The winter squash plants I planted earlier in the year have produced a bumper crop and I have been busy harvesting them. I’ll store them in the shed over winter and bring them to the kitchen when required to make a tasty squash soup or serve roasted with our Sunday lunch.
My sweetcorn is ready as well. My top tip is to harvest them when the tip of the cob starts to turn brown which means the cob inside has ripened and is ready. I love them alongside a Tex Mex meal wrapped in foil and roasted in the oven with butter.
Apples are in an abundance on the plot now, a bit earlier than normal due to the warmer weather. I’ll check they are ready to harvest by giving them a slow twist and if they come off they are ready, if not leave a bit longer. I have a lot this year so I’m looking to get them juiced for a stock of apple juice to go through the winter.
I also leave the sunflower plants on the bed because once the flowers have died back the sunflower head provides fantastic seeds for the birds.
What went wrong!
As you can imagine with the intense heat we’ve had in the last few months a few of my crops were scorched. Unfortunately, some of my crops came to an end too early, which included my cucumber plants in the greenhouse, and raspberries which were outside. Overall the soil becomes very dry and desert-like, including the grass which turned brown!
Nothing could be really done in these conditions, however as I write a rain monsoon has hit which will be a welcome relief to the plot.
In the kitchen
The red onions that I harvested last month have dried out well and made an appearance in the kitchen as a sliced topping on our homemade pizza. Sweetcorn cobs were stripped down to the core and dropped in boiling water for around five minutes, allowing the sweetcorn to turn yellow and become tender for eating or baked in the oven for a caramelised flavour.
Jobs to do
I’m starting to tidy up and cover my raised beds that have finished producing. This will stop any unwanted weeds from growing and make the bed ready for autumn mulching from composted material from the compost heap. Talking of which, this is a good time to turn over the compost heap with all the material that has been added. Make sure you keep it covered as this helps to trap the heat and allows the breakdown of the material quicker. The compost can then be used to enrichen the beds for next year.
Nights are drawing in now, lessening my evening time on the plot, which is OK as there is less to do now. Mrs. G drew up a list of DIY jobs for me to do around the house and garden whilst I was away on the plot during the summer, which I’m looking forward to!