Tuesday, November 9, 2010

November Gales A Blowing

November brings us a proper rest with fewer chores requiring attention and more time to relax a bit. With the freezer now full of assorted berries, veg, tomato pulp and so forth, outside the plants are dying back bit by bit, some of them struggling to cling on in this world despite the frosts and the batterings they're taking from the gales. It surprises me how long chilli plants and tomatoes can hold out in a northern european winter. Some of last year's chillis actually made it all the way through to this year, albeit after being taken inside in January to avoid the snow.

I'll be particularly interested to see if the tomatoes on the patio last til Christmas as they have done in previous years.

The greenhouse we put up last Spring has just braved it's first proper storm without taking off to the land of Oz as our old polythene "tent" version was wont to do. Inside the new one we've still got six types of tomatoes, chillis and the odd aubergine still going strong - the warmer indoor clime is probably extending their growing season by perhaps two months. Although the cucumbers seemed to know it was winter anyways and and abrupty committed hara-kiri in unison a few weeks back.

Outside in the garden the swedes are still going strong, and the six or seven cauliflowers are three to four feet high. These are our early warning system for the cauliflower bed at the allotment, which we haven't seen for many weeks due to the poor weather and dark evenings. The plants in the garden are there to let us know when their compatriots are coming into season, because caulis, like broccoli, can ripen and turn quite quickly. If we don't get up there and get the lot at the right time, all the work will have been for nothing.

Ours is a winter roscoff heritage variety provided by Irish Seedsavers. They in turn saved it from an elderly farmer in the county area who may or may not be aware that he's played a role in rescuing a traditional local strain from extinction.

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