September has started really well. We have been picking French beans since August and now they are in full swing. They need to be picked every two or three days before they get too big and after about three weeks like that they are still going strong. They have been added to many dishes. The tomatoes have also started to ripen. Fortunately they have been ripening a few at a time so we have not been overwhelmed with them yet. I have pruned back the plants quite significantly. The leaves have been thinned and any branches with no flowers or fruit were removed. Mostly they are branches which should have been thinned out months ago but we missed. The tomatoes are incredibly sweet and delicious. Nom nom nom!
Outside, the beetroot, turnip, pak choi, pea and chives have all sprouted and started growing away slowly. I am not sure if they are unusually slow or if they are normal, but they all look good. The weather has been a bit cool and wet so far this month.
I finally managed to find some seed potatoes for sale so I purchased a kilo of Charlotte to plant. To be honest they would not be my first choice, not because I don’t like them, just because they are usually eaten very small so I am concerned about them not keeping very long. As a result I planted half of them already and have left the other half for a few weeks. They are planted into old compost sacks, rolled down, with a few holes poked in the bottom for drainage. Still no sprouts coming through the soil yet, I am checking them every day!
I sowed some seeds for winter crops. This is a bit of an experiment, again! I read that chard and kale will stand well during the winter so I have decided to plant some now. The problem is that they will probably stand well if they are already big by this time of year, but we don’t have any big chard or kale plants so I am hoping I can encourage them to grow now. Chard should be fairly fast to grow but kale takes a while and might not grow until spring. They have been sown into a small propagator thing, like a mini greenhouse. I sowed eight modules of chard Bright Lights and four modules of kale Black Tuscany.
Finally, the bad news. The courgette plants are done for. After only three or four courgettes from each plant the mildew has won. There was one small courgette on one of the plants for a few weeks not growing so I decided to finish them off. The leaves were so brittle that they almost crumbled in my (gloved) hands. The case was worse than I expected when I turned them over and saw some shrivelled courgettes on the underside. There was no life left in the plants at all. I tried to get some of the roots up too but it is not so easy to find the roots. I disposed of the leaves in a separate bin bag and put them out for the rubbish. I hope the fungus is mostly gone and doesn’t come back to wreak havoc next year. It really decimated those two plants very quickly and before we had gotten our real value out of them.
After a few days wondering what to do with the compost in those pots I mixed some fresh compost in and sowed carrots. I am not sure if the fungus will remain in the soil ready to attack but I decided against putting the chard or kale in the pots as they are leafy so they are probably more susceptible. It might actually be too late to sow carrots but I thought I would chance it seeing as I didn’t get a good chance to sow lots of vegetables in the Spring!