Monday, 9 September 2013

Serious harvest time...

Damson Plums
   September is well and truly upon us. Lots of lovely produce to pick and eat. This has been a good year for fruit. Lots of plums and apples. The Mara des Bois strawberries are now well bedded in and there should be a good autumn crop. The apple trees I planted had produced a good number of apples only to suffer from aphids and black spot fungus. Three out of five of the trees had small shrivelled diseased fruit and then lost their apples. Two have proved to be very resistant to aphid and fungal infection and have a good number of apples on it. Cannot win them all! I think the fungal infection has come from the old pear tree. 
   Here in La Creuse I can expect frost free weather up until at least the middle of October and more likely to the end of October. This allows me to take a chance with some crops, for example, the Champion of England peas. They will probably tolerate some cold but a frost will start to kill them off. Peas are already formed and I am expecting to pick the first ones within the week. (As it happened I picked a handful on the 8th September). The swedes, variety Joan, is growing fast and I hopeful for a number of large swedes. Parsnips and Orbis look grand. The onion crop has been good, particularly the variety Yellow Rynsburger. Bedfordshire champion and spainish onion have been ok but nothing like last years big onions. After the sheep attack the celeriac is a sorry looking crop, nothing like last years at all.
"Joan" swede
Champion of England peas
The sunflowers have lasted a good long time. The birds are now eating the seeds on those that have set. 
   Anyone seen the rain? Umph! Mention rain and it rains. Yes, there has been some rain since I wrote that sentence. Not a lot but enough. Still, there has not been any reasonable amount of rain here at Watermeadows for a couple of weeks now and watering is now becoming a major task. 
   Time to harvest the melons whether they are ready or not. The vines have died back and it looks like the Troubador melons are mostly ripe. There is a real smell of melon from the bed. I needed my Radio Flyer truck to transpot them from the bed to the storage shed!
Troubadour melons
   My gamble with the peas and haricot buerre look like it will pay off. I have picked some peas and some haricot and lots more on the way. I am well pleased. Lots of Roma tomatoes being picked and my daughter is in full swing making pasata. The outside tomato crop has been good despite the chickens!
   The new chickens, laying hens and table, are settling in well and the laying hens are already starting to lay, albeit small, eggs.
   This autumn is going to be busy!

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