Darsham Nurseries Cafe, potager, kitchen garden, vegetables from seed, harvesting vegetables,
The Daily Dibber

Kitchen gardener for the Darsham Nurseries Cafe. Seedaholic. Grower and lover of food and flowers.

The hassles of an Indian summer 8th October 2015

The hassles of an Indian summer 8th October 2015

My perception was that 36 raised beds enjoying an Indian summer would just improve harvests. However the ever-changing spikes and plummets of the temperatures in the month of October have always, and will continue to, perplex the most experienced gardeners.

We have a ‘waiting room’ of eager mature seedlings that are screaming to be planted ready for the winter harvests, but the beans – well, we’re still picking a boxful daily. This long harvest means the chef is constantly evolving the bean recipes to accommodate our glut. This week I have sampled them with gremolata, it was absolutely delicious. The successive planting of the climbing yellow bean ‘Marvel of Venice’ from Franchi seeds has been very productive but now the kales and brassicas are impatient.

Today’s dilemma is whether to remove the beans even though they still have flowers appearing. The brassica seedlings would greatly benefit from a frost free head start. I opt for safety and remove the contents of one of the last two bean beds, and I feel almost guilt free.

Meanwhile in the polytunnel, the last of the less hardy lettuces are not worth planting out now, so are given to the chef as a baby leaf harvest. It’s the beginning of October and time to sow the second batch of hardy winter lettuces. We have chosen Marvel of Four seasons, Claytonia, Winter purslane, Corn salad, Valdour, Winter density, Mascara, Little gem dazzle and Black seeded Simpson.

Lettuces generally fall into two categories, the tender fast growing varieties which are generally sown May to September the slower hardy varieties are sown September to December. Corn salad can be sown all year round. Planned correctly, you should never have to buy a bag of salad again.

Sadly the water melons in the polytunnel have stopped growing, a lot of efforts for 4 largish tennis ball size melons, oh well – that’s another lesson learned.

Lola’s ability to constantly evolve the menu around our own produce is causing me some concern. We need more growing space, like ……now. We decide to keep the containers in the polytunnel that had our tomatoes and chillies grown in them. The original plan was to add the spent compost to our own home made compost. With the compost enriched, they should provide another growing dimension, maybe a micro climate. A sunny winter’s day will raise the polytunnel temperature, which may mean that seedlings planted will grow at a different rate to the potager. Exciting. Brassicas, radishes, spring onions, turnip tops are planted in these containers by the end of the day. This method may also make up for my failure in advance to judge the importance of autumn kale. I will sleep better now.

limegarden@sky.com • 30th October 2015

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