Monday, 3 October 2016

Berries and squashes

It's well and truly autumn here. The range is on most days. The hens are going to bed noticeably earlier, long before our bedtime. More and more pumpkins and squashes are appearing in the house every day. So far we've sampled Golden Nuggets, Bon Bon (a new favourite), Olympus, Forest Nut and Pink Fairy. All of which have been delicious and since they were the first to ripen they are on the list for next year. Now I'm trying to remember when I picked each squash - we are waiting two weeks to eat them after picking to give them a chance to cure and sweeten.

Bon Bon squash
Marina di Chioggia, Olympus and Pink Fairy

Sdobnaya and Christmas cactus
Other than eating lots of squash, we've also been eating lots of berries. Mainly raspberries, but we've also got our first cranberries this year. And the first flower has appeared on the Goji berries so maybe next year we'll have some of them, too. Both cranberries and Gojis should be wonderful dried, as a raisin alternative.

Early Black cranberry
The first Goji berry flower

We decided to make a third strawberry bed so that we can dig up and replace the plants on the three-year-old bed every year after letting them fruit a final time (the yield is not so good on the older plants). I'd been potting up runners in July and August and they were ready to go to a new home. All three beds are roughly the same size and the plants are one year apart so there should always be one at its peak, one just starting out and one fizzling out.

The new strawberry bed 
There's still plenty of colour in the garden. One of the most spectacular plants at the moment is the grain amaranth. I'm not sure it's going to be ripe before winter, but it's fun to look at and touch.

Funky grain amaranth
The winter salad greens (lettuces Density, Valdor, Merveille de Quatre Saisons, tatsoi) have germinated. They'll be planted out into the polytunnel once the tomatoes have finished cropping. The greenhouse has been emptied of strawberry plants and replaced with 36 cranberry cuttings. We could be talking a lot of savings here, if even 10% of them make it!


  1. The strawberry bed could double as a flowerbed! And you still have raspberries? We have practically no (wild) cranberries this year - apparently the plants suffered from the snowless hard frosts at the beginning of the last winter.

    1. Yes, we still get about a third of a litre of raspberries a day (down from a litre) - enough for porridge and muffins. At the moment the strawberry bed doubles as a cat litter box - so conveniently located. Must put some more strawberry plants in to increase cover.