Tuesday, 13 October 2015


The autumnal garden clear-up has begun now that the house is painted. We can already feel a difference from the black south wall after it's been soaking up the rays for a couple of weeks. This week someone actually said, 'Wow, it's hot in here!' which has never happened before. Take note those who came to visit in the winter before and were feeling the chill, it's now safe to come again.

Lovely to have a freshly painted cottage
The range has been lit again after Jim comprehensively serviced it and the chimney attached to it. We're all delighted it's on, none more so than Madame Poppy who has taken up her rightful place by it.
The joys of a warm Rayburn
The pumpkin and squash harvest has begun in earnest and the champion is a Pink Fairy weighing in at 10.85kg.

One of eight huge pumpkins on this plant!
The other squashes are a colourful lot, too. So far: Turk's Turban, Jack be littles and Ambar.

The first lot of squashes
One little aubergine has appeared at last. Don't know how much it will grow at this time of year, but at least it shows that it can be done. However, I'm not planning to grow any next year; they are just too susceptible to greenfly and, until I've got that properly under control, I'll concentrate on tasty crops that won't need as much 'babying'. 

The winter salads have been sown in the greenhouse as has some spring cabbage and cauliflower. I'm going to try a few more things in the greenhouse over winter. Next month, I'll sow some peas and sweet peas. And some broad beans outside.

Meanwhile, it's mulch, mulch, mulch with all the goodness of the grass that hadn't been cut for two months (Jim really had to peen his scythe to a super sharp edge this time). All the hedges, all the areas that are empty over winter and all around the remaining crops.

And Soruss is practising his crow. Apparently it doesn't come natural to cockerels... It's getting better, but I don't think his dad is impressed. 

Let's just hope this fine autumn weather holds. Here's tonight's sunset over the Mountains of Mourne:
Where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea


  1. Have you already tasted Fairy? Am curious to hear your opinion of it... We waited the prescribed two weeks (but not much more) and started today by sampling the heirloom squash Amish Pie. Not so sweet as, say, Marina di Chioggia, Australian Butter, Sdobnaya or Speckled Hound but quite OK considering it was not ripe when harvested.

    1. Saving the Fairy for our pumpkin party later this month. Just had the first Ambar - very tasty, better than the Turk's Turban if not as pretty. Are you supposed to wait two weeks to have the squashes? Well, luckily, it worked out fine in that case.

    2. Well, yes - the squashes should be stored for at least a fortnight and preferably even longer; it enhances the sweetness. Have never seen an Ambar but suspect that the water-green fruit are Sdobnaya (one of the sweetest squashes we know).

    3. Aha! Yes, that makes sense because I definitely had at least one plant of that. In that case, I'd love some more seeds of Sdobnaya!

    4. OK, let's keep our fingers crossed for Sdobnaya seeds - they haven't yet appeared on the Estonian seed site - but they are usually the last ones, together with our other favourites Forest Nut (Hokkaido) and Golden Pear (Hubbard)

    5. The cottage is looking lovely it all looks SO relaxed and the cat of course has the best spot in the house. Squash harvest looks impressive - your mention of winter salads has given me a virtual kick up the bottom - going out to clear and sow in the polytunnel this afternoon.

  2. Yes, max out your polytunnel in the winter, too: salads, peas and brassicas for an early start next year. Use up some of those old seeds! We're just about to start taking cutting from our buddleia. Did you stick yours straight into the ground or did you pot them up first and then plant out in the spring?