Friday, 7 October 2016

First blast of winter

   I woke up on the morning of the 7th October to see a heavy frost. So that is it then. Winter is knocking on our door. That frost has finished off the squash, courgettes and the noire crimee tomatoes. That pretty much draws this season to a close. It has been a difficult one, certainly the most difficult in the six years I have been growing vegetables in France. The year started out ok but the long spell of dry hot weather just about stymied everything. Looking back to 2015 up to the end of October I was picking tomatoes! Through out this year everything has been two weeks early. Still, despite the frost the sun is shinning albeit on the cooler side.
   In the poly tunnel the tomatoes are more or less finished, just a few stragglers.  The chrystal cucumber has been cleared and the tomatoes sorted out with just a few stragglers that may or may not ripen. Japepeno peppers are still  growing and some are going red! The autumn lettuce looks good as does the beetroot.
   Outside the poly tunnel my bantam corn has produced cobs but i fear they will not now have time to ripen. The winter leeks are set as are my small patch of winter cabbage. I have some lettuce that I hope will stand a reasonable frost. Time will tell! The autumn cauliflowers are small but least I will get something. The yellow haricots has been frosted and I do not think I will get anything more from them. Still, I was surprised to get anything considering how late they were sown. Sweet peppers have also been frosted. They have been a disappointment among many this year. Among the courgettes and squashes, now well and truely dead, there are a few volunteer purple potato plants that I hope to get at least a breakfast from! The carrots are standing well as are my few salad type onions that I was determined were going to get to a point that I could eat them. Apples were a bit of a  disappointment despite a good start. The one tree that looks like it may produce a few apples is the late ripening variety but I fear there will be few.
  On the animal from the sheep are now back to eating grass and the rams and ewes are well separated. Unfortunately we lost two Ixworth hens to what we believe was a fox and the remaining two hens and two cockrals are in a secure enclosure. The rest of the flock are not laying well and I obtained two sussex and a cuckoo maran for free with the hope that the egg count can be improved.  A more secure enclosure for them is under construction.

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