Sunday 16 October 2022

Life on The Weald - September 2022

Life on The Weald - September 2022

and in the garden and kitchen 

The days are getting shorter and there is an autumnal feel in the air.  It was hotter than usual on 1st September with bright sunny periods but the temperature dropped in the early evening followed by distant thunder and heavy rain in the night.  The day before I had picked more than a kilo of plums and I had begun the process of making some plum jelly by stewing the plums with the addition of a few apples and blackcurrants and had left them to drain in a jelly bag overnight. 

1 September - Plum jelly in the making

In the morning we had manged to harvest  another 2kg of plums!  Sylvi spent the morning clearing the long grass, bindweed and brambles from around the apple tree and I continued relaying the pathway with wood chips and it was very hot work with the temperature in the mid twenties.  The afternoon was spent making the plum jelly.

2nd September was very much cooler and overcast with the temperature reaching only 17C by early afternoon.  After the heavy overnight rain, there were showers in the morning so I decided to spend some more time in the kitchen with the plums.  I used half to make some Chinese plum sauce.  Around 2pm, however, the showers stopped and the clouds cleared and by mid-afternoon the temperature had risen to 23C, 4 degrees higher than the seasonal average (the seasonal average over the past 30 years for our area is 19C).

Wednesday 5th it was sunny all day until late afternoon when there were thundery showers. The weather forecast for the following day was thunder and lightning and heavy showers but the morning was bright and sunny. The French beans coming to an end but there were still quite a few to be picked.

French beans - 6 September

As there was a plentiful supply of wood chips I continued to repair the path.

6 Sept - relaid path

There was rain later that afternoon, but I managed to harvest some patty pan  squashes, a cucumber and a beetroot and I had also picked quite a few tomatoes from the pots in the garden at home.

Tomatoes, French beans, squash,cucumber and courgette

Thursday 8 September was dry.  I handweeded the leeks....

8 September - leeks

....and also lifted some beetroots.

8 September - beetroot

The garlic chives were in full flower and attracting bees.

8 September - Asian garlic chives

On 12 September, it was raining so I stayed at home and picked several of the chillies that were in the garden. I had already picked some of those from the mini-greenhouse on the plot.  They varied from the extremely hot to quite hot. The Habanero paper lantern were supposed to be  350,000 - 500,000 units on the Scovile scale, the Scotch bonnet 100,000-250,000 and the Cheyenne 30,000-50,000.  I have lots of chillies in the freezer, some from last year, so decided to make Habanero sauce.  It was far, far hotter than the commercial Habanero sauce that I had in the cupboard. It was intended for presents so it will have to go with a heat warning - I tested it and immediately had to go for the honey and yoghourt to cool down as it was quite a shock to the system!

The rain and cloudy weather continued that week. Tuesday 13th was cloudy all day with some rain, although the temperature was around 18C. It rained heavily in the morning of 14th. Thursday 15th was damp and cloudy but the temperature rose to 21C but Friday 16th was dry and much colder with a maximum of 17C.

I was able to harvest a few beetroots and some Patty Pan squashes and a small Crown Prince.

16 September - Boltardy beetroot

16 September - Patty pan & Crown Prince squash

The purple French beans were still producing

16 September - purple French beans

The Cavolo Nero is usually at its best after the first frosts, but there was so much I decided to pick some early.  There was also a plentiful supply of Chard.

16 September - Cavolo Nero

16 September - Chard

On Monday 17 September, I did some serious weeding around some of the beds. The soft annual weeds could be pulled up and added to the compost bins but I also dug out a lot of creeping couch grass and bind weed around some of the beds and removed the annual weeds from the beds, which I did not wish to dig.

17 September - clearing weeds

At home we were harvesting tomatoes daily.

17 September - today's tomato harvest

17 September - Marmande ripening

On Monday 19 September, I began to prepare the beds for the onions and garlic. I am gradually developing all the beds as "no dig".  I hand weeded the beds by just pulling up any annuals, which went to the compost bins, but I dug out as best I could, with a hand fork and hand trowel, any persistent bindweed and couch grass. I did dig around the beds to remove bindweed and couch grass and put down a layer of cardboard topped with wood chips/prunings.

Preparing a bed for the onions/garlic

19 September - a top layer of compost

I thought it was also a good time to try to clear the pond, before anything began to hibernate.  One end of the pond had become completely engulfed with couch grass which was now growing in the pond and choking the irises.

19 September: Pond - couch grass removed

19 September - matted roots of couch grass

I removed the growing basket containing the iris and put in a bucket of water awaiting removal of any remaining couch grass.

At home, I had a completely own grown salad of tomatoes, beetroot, and potato salad of Charlotte potatoes with chives.

20 September - Home grown salad

In the garden, the chilli peppers were thriving.

20 Sept - Scotch bonnet chilli

20 Sept - Orange habanero  chill

20 Sept - Basket of Fire chillies

The allotment was looking a lot tidier.

20 September - plot 247/2

20 September - Plot 247/1

20 September - Plot 247/2

The following week started cooler with a maximum of 17C during the day and down to 9C at night. The allotment was neglected for a while as we had visitors staying and we didn't return until Wednedsay 28th. The squashes were nearing harvest time but were not as large as last year, probably as a result of the drought.

28 September - Butternut squash

28 September - Butternut squash

28 September - Butternut & Chioggia squashes

28 September - Crown Prince squash

This was our last visit in September as we were off to London for the weekend for the London Marathon.

It was definitely feeling autumnal, quite sunny with clear blue skies during the day but feeling chilly with the night temperature down to 8C. Summer is definitely over.

John Austin

Hove, September 2022

No comments:

Post a Comment