First frost?

With a forecast for frost this morning, yesterday was a scurry to get a final harvest done. In fact it turned out to be a very light frost so nothing was damaged. I picked the last of the yellow courgettes, Yellowfin, which have been very successful. The beans are butter beans (we can’t buy them here and I love cooking with them) a Polish variety called Piekny Jas. They were very slow to mature, so I’ve been lucky that we had no early frost. Peppers and peppadews have ripened more slowly this year too – because we have had more rain and less heat than previous years, I think.

The peppadews are all from seed I got from a plant my sister grew in South Africa and I bottle them according to a South African recipe

Delicious sliced in salad, or stuffed with cream cheese

The frustrating thing about peppadews is that they are slow to ripen, so every year they get frosted before they all ripen. However, they are so prolific that I generally get more than I need to bottle each year.

The plants are so laden with fruit that they topple over, even though I stake them
Craig’s super hot Ring of Fire chillies are also hugely productive

Planted peas and broad beans this week. They’re fleeced to protect them from the cold evenings and also from hungry birds. My “Jen Frogs” have gone inside for winter – the table looks so bare without them!

Peas and broad beans in the background. Mizuna, pak choi and broccoli in foreground

The brassicas cope well with the colder weather – cauliflower, romanesco, cabbage, brussels sprouts and kale in the bed in the background. Celery, on the other hand, gets soggy when it freezes. However, leaf celery is more like parsley and coriander and will keep going all winter. Wonderful for soups and stews!

Celery on the left, then leaf celery (still small), pak choi, two half rows of coriander( also small!)
I love the look of Romanesco – and it is delicious roasted in a little chilli oil.
Spring onions and white onions should be ready to use in spring. Lettuce will cope with the cold too. Huge plants in the background are purple sprouting broccoli.
Seed collection for next year!

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