August update

August always marks the best harvesting season here, and this year is no exception. But it also is the month when I start preparing the garden for winter – sowing plants that will be ready for late autumn, or even through winter.Broccoli Sibsey and Chinese cabbage and fennel seedlings planted out this week. Cauliflower Boule de Neige will go in soon – when I have some space!.  Brussels in the background looking good, Far fewer cabbage moths this year, so plants are not as badly eaten by caterpillars as they were last year. I still do a routine check though – and have to admit that I get more than a little pleasure out of squashing the little green buggers 🙂
Purple sprouting broccoli  (in the foreground) is a long term project – planted in spring, it will only produce early next spring. Wonderful to have  in those early months when there is little else to pick from the garden. Behind it boerenkool and calvolo nero (Tuscan kale) will be big enough to cope with the frost later in the season, and will produce throughout winter. In the background of this photo, the last of the cucumbers picked.
I am sure it is too late, but I am trying new cucumber plants in the hope that they will produce before the first frost.  In front of them carrot Eskimo, beetroot, pak choi and turnips.  Young plants covered to stop birds digging them up in their quest for worms.

A spicy blend (includes mustard, teasel greens and mizuna) of CCA leaves has been very successful – really tasty! Behind it beetroot, then parsnip.

Fennel and swiss chard both growing very fast now. Behind it broccoli Sibsey (calabrese)  and the previous fennel crop, now flowering. I am keeping it to harvest the seed, but the added benefit is that the bees love it! Planted another row of spinach (between chard and calabrese) and three row of red Tuscan onions behind the flowering fennel.
Leeks, still covered against leaf miner moth, are doing well. I have read that the leaves should not be allowed to touch the mesh as the moth will lay her eggs from the outside! But they are so tall, so I have to take my chances.
My favourite lettuce, Sweet Success, sown in situ, will be ready to harvest in about a fortnight.  Planted a row of crunchy blend CCA leaves in front of it. Also in this box, spring onions, coriander, carrots and beetroot.
I finally cleared the sweetcorn patch after the devastation wreaked by the badgers. I had hoped that one or two plants might survive, but it was just a mess, so I cleared them all away. DAMN badgers!!

The melons were badly damaged by blight, so they have come off the frame ( on the right in the photo above) But I had a great crop of melons and will plant them again next year. Butternut to the left, also affected by the same blight, but lots of fruit ripening well, so I will be able to harvest before the plant succumbs.  
Each year brings a new challenge!  I just hope I can keep my tomatoes free from blight long enough to reap a good crop. This year’s increased rains (still not nearly enough!) have been the cause of the blight, so I guess as gardeners we are never satisfied!


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