Whether you go by the meteorological definition of autumn or the astronomical theory that autumn starts with the Autumn Equinox it is clear that it has arrived. The chill in the morning, dew on the grass and the falling of orange, yellow, brown and red leaves. It is a time to traditionally bring in the harvest so let's see what's been growing in my garden.
With the lack of frost over last winter it means that the rhubarb has not done well at all. It finally grew in August to an extent that there was enough to cut and make two crumbles from it. However when I went on a tour round The Walled Garden at Clumber Park I found out why they don't cut their rhubarb after 31st July. The oxalic acid content in the leaves is needed to give nourishment to the crown for next year's crop. Apparently by cutting after this date the rhubarb stalks the next year will be fairly weedy and it will be dead by the next. Whoops... If I have killed my rhubarb all I can is it died a good death and the crumbles were delicious!
Unlike many people I haven't had a glut of courgettes just the odd one or two coming through at time. This does though make each one a treat to eat. I am very pleased with the crop as it is the first time I have grown courgette plants from seed. It was an old packet I found in my collection of Black Beauty from the Alan Titchmarsh Organic range. I've also grown carrots for the first time although when I pulled them up I wondered if they were actually prawns! They tasted very nice but I do think carrots are probably best grown in the ground rather than in containers. Perhaps I should look out for specialist variety next year. After last year's no-show on the French bean front I've had a decent crop this year but I won't bother with the 'speedy' variety again. The beans didn't appear much earlier and the yield was much smaller.
Something I have grown from seed for the first time are chilli peppers. The plants have grown good and strong but no sign of peppers until now. They are still in the greenhouse but I think I had better bring them into the house before the nights get too cold for them.
This is where the the colour goes from my garden. I have a total of nine tomato plants but not had a single ripe tomato from them. I bought three of them as actual plants. The above variety is the plum Roma. A lovely looking tomato but not red!
Then there are the gardeners' favourite of Shirley. They have grown to decent size but once again not a single ripe one. I've also got a cherry tomato called Sun Baby which is supposed to be a yellow variety but once again they are all green.
The rest of the tomatoes I grew from seed from a packet of free seeds my dad received. They are called First in the Field and are a much different plant to what I have previously grown. It is a shrub variety and the stalk and leaves are much thicker and studier. From what I've read it is suitable for growing outside. I've had three plants in a gro-bag in the greenhouse but none of them have produced a single fruit whereas the three outside grown in my my own homemade compost have thrived. However, once again not a single tomato has ripen. What is going on? Different varieties, different locations, all have been fed and watered as usual and excess leaves cut off. Can anyone help me get a ripe tomato before it's too late?!
I'll leave you with one last flush of colour from the summer pots. The petunias has gone now but I left the geraniums in. Now to start thinking about winter planting...