The Winds Did Howl…

It was a fierce night here, with strong winds battering us from the south. In the morning, all is serene in the cool sunshine, although a few casualties are in evidence: several of the late rosebuds are found on the ground, although one deep red one remains still shyly holding her petals close.

I finally removed the last sweet peas this weekend, leaving the roots in the ground to enrich the soil. They have still been producing blooms right into November, but were looking otherwise rather tired – and we needed the space. I have saved some seedpods though to sow again for next year, as these plants brightened up the garden with a range of lovely colours, with long straight stems and wonderful heady scents.

In their place went the spring cabbages raised from seed that have been languishing in pots in the greenhouse for a few weeks. They seem to have ridden the night’s tempest unharmed; five Durham Early and five Spring Hero seedlings to enjoy the nitrogen-rich soil.

Twice as many young plants again are still in pots in the greenhouse, to be distributed to friends and neighbours. Ten cabbages for the spring should be more than enough for the two of us – one cabbage goes a long way!

The lettuces are still buoyant in the sunshine – there is something rather amazing about harvesting lettuce from the garden in November. The salad bowl leaves are still growing strongly; taking just a few leaves from each plant in the row yesterday I picked a huge bowlful to wash, spin and store in the fridge for the week ahead.

I certainly didn’t expect that we would still be eating homegrown salads so late in the year; with beetroot, radishes and handfuls of carrots we are rather spoiled. There are still more than half a dozen romaine lettuces to be harvested; I am wondering about transplanting them straight into the ground in the greenhouse before the weather is due to turn cold again in a couple of days.

We could still be eating our own lettuce in December at this rate!

We have many jobs still to do before winter takes hold. The greenhouse needs a good clean out, the last pepper plants and marigolds (still gaily flowering) to be removed, and flower pots and seed trays to be cleaned. I must sow some sweet peas for next year, and give the apple espaliers a light winter prune. The year’s end seems to be accelerating towards us now; the race is on.


10 thoughts on “The Winds Did Howl…

  1. Nice. I’m thinking your late fall garden state (pumping out salads) is a good goal for me for NEXT year. Right now I just have tiny tiny plants eying me every time I pass, asking why I didn’t plant them earlier, poor things. =) Congrats on your great work.

    • Thanks. I must confess it’s more by accident than intent – I didn’t keep sowing a few salads every few weeks through the summer (which I should have, and aim to do next year!) and my later sowing was rather late, giving us a bit of a gap and lots of lettuce again! A happy accident as I didn’t anticipate still being able to pick lettuce so late in the year.

  2. My year end chores seem to have taken a back seat since I got my allotment last week. Suddenly raking leaves no longer seem important. However, I now have room for sweet peas so I may sow some of these

    • That’s understandable! Lots of lovely plans for you to make now. Glad to hear that your preparation so far is going well, the mild weather should help with digging over your plot, and you can start ordering up loads of lovely seeds for next year’s harvest! We still can’t get to our leaves to rake them for builder’s rubble… a blessing in disguise perhaps.

  3. Gardening is all about timing, isn’t it? I don’t know about you, but I often feel tempted to leave plants in place a bit longer than is sensible if they are still producing edible crops, even if they are not at their best, but this often means that their successors, like your cabbages (and mine!) often go in later than is desirable too. Your comment “…we needed the space” is very telling.

    • Indeed, it always seems a shame to pull out productive plants before their time, even if it’s just the last sweet peas because they were still producing pretty flowers 🙂 The cabbages are heaving a collective sigh of relief now though… as long as they don’t get waterlogged, our soil is quite heavy and the rain keeps on coming…

  4. I am jealous of your lovely leaves – my own fault, I didn’t get around to re-sowing in time to have salad leaves now, and am struggling to find the enthusiasm to sow some in the greenhouse as February is a long way away and I generally favour starchier foods then anyway… I’m always going to be be organised “next year”!!

    • I have a pack of Winter Density still unopened that I intended to sow in the greenhouse for spring, but haven’t yet made time for somehow – despite enjoying our salads still so much at the minute. I’m sure by February I’ll be sick of soup and cabbage and wishing I’d sowed some lettuce for a light change, so I’ll try and find time to sow some in the next few weeks and see what happens… Not that we’ll have any tomatoes that early for salads, but then we can’t have everything! And I suspect time will continue to elude me for a few weeks yet…

  5. What beautiful photos you have! Your lettuces look great. I’ve got some on the go at the moment but the trouble is, it’s too cold to eat lettuce – it’s just not appealing right now! 😦

    • Thank you! Indeed we were enjoying hot homemade pumpkin soup at the weekend, after which salads aren’t quite as appealing in this weather – but they still taste great, and we have so much lettuce still to eat…!

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