Thursday, 25 October 2012

Autumnal Updates

Autumn Update from Frugaldom

It may be late October but the garden isn't 'done' for the year, not yet. IN fact, it's far from it - I still have a profusion of flowers - nasturtiums, begonias, heather and alliums, to name but a few. The days are shortening, night's are lengthening, temperature's dropping and leaves are falling, but there's still some sunshine about the place. I've been amazed at how warm it still gets in the little plastic greenhouse, so rather enjoyed doing the bit of tidying and weeding when I went to clear out all the tomatoes last weekend. But then I changed my mind! They simply weren't ready for clearing.

We all know what we're meant to do with tomato plants - keep the side and top shoots nipped out to promote growth into the half dozen (maximum) vines of flowers/fruits while keeping them fed and watered. I set out to nip buds faithfully as soon as I spotted them on my plants, but then things went awry again, with family crises that took me away from home. The plants went a bit wild and have received no extra feeding at all. But guess what? This year has produced the best crop of tomatoes I have ever grown!

Kilos and kilos of the things have been picked over the past couple of months and I am still picking them. There are side shoots and new vines replacing the old ones as I strip them of tomatoes. Even my fancy 'black' tomatoes are doing exceptionally well.

tomato plantsAll of these photographs were taken today, 25th October 2012, and show the condition my tomato vines are in after stripping them of all their dead or dying leaves at the weekend. Each time I pick the tomatoes, another shoot appears, more flowers grow and that, of course, is followed by more tomatoes! It's amazing. One plant in particular - a cherry tomato - ended up looking like a weeping willow decorated in little red baubles. I have picked dozens and dozens of small tomatoes from this 'tree' and still it continues to grow and produce.
The 'black' tomatoes are also still doing well, although the revived grape vine managed to climb up through and it is now needing some attention. These dark , cherry tomatoes are a sweet variety, so very nice, although a little strange looking, with salad. Regardless of how late it is in the year, the vines are still producing more flowers and we still have some bees buzzing about the place. It's all very unusual, but not as unusual as the tadpoles that were spotted recently, swimming about in the pond at the nearby Logan Botanic Gardens!
Elsewhere in the Frugaldom garden, the herbs are still doing amazingly well, with bundles of mint being picked for pots indoors and all the begonias adding an extra splash of colour outdoors. In the ericaceous bed, where I planted the new blueberry bushes, heather is still in full bloom, adding a good dash of purple to the reds and oranges of autumn. I also have lavender still flowering in pots along the top of the 'bug hotel'.
It's been a strange year for gardening, what with the early months of hot sunshine followed by prolonged damp periods, to sudden deluges that have seen our little stream erupt in torrents, rising higher than the foot bridge and completely cutting off the hen run from the main garden. Thankfully, we opted to incorporate drainage from the duck pond, so there have been no flood problems there, so far. 
Spots of colour are still visible around the entire garden. The temperature reached an astounding 21C through the week in the direct sunshine, so the hanging baskets are holding out a little longer. I'm not giving up hope of growing something through the winter, even if it's just salad leaves. On the subject of growing over winter - has anyone else noticed FLOWERS on their strawberry plants? I have runners sprouting out all ways, waiting to be potted, but I've also spotted flowers on some of the plants. Most peculiar!
Indoors is progressing slowly but surely and I'm hopeful of having a frugal kitchen (of sorts) within the next week or two. No preserves got made this year at all, but I do have a lovely stock of raspberries, blackcurrants, rhubarb and gooseberries in the freezer and should be OK for lemon curd making, if I continue freezing any surplus eggs. (Egg-laying has diminished to no more than a couple of eggs every other day.) Sadly, there has been no fruit from the mini orchard, but we weren't expecting much after transplanting all the young trees during the move here last year. I may take a trip to a friend's orchard this weekend and see if they have any to spare.

I hope you are all doing well with whatever frugal challenges you opted for this year and I sincerely hope that some of you will continue by joining for 2013. Otherwise, thank you for reading the sporadic witterings that I manage to type from this almost forgotten corner of Scotland. If you have access to Facebook, I have loaded photo albums of the area, all of which can be accessed from
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  1. still have tomatoes on the vines outside here in Canada. Have been bringing in green ones to ripen in the window sills which is good also.

    Gill in Canada

  2. Not left a comment for a while NYK, but I always read your blog. Hope everything's going great?

  3. Hello guys, thanks for your comments. :)

    Gill, I think my luck with tomatoes this year may be to do with the new (recycled) plastic greenhouse and the fact that I'm a tiny bit further south now, so the wetaher is slightly more temperate than previous address.

    Dave, how nice to hear from you, I hope all is well and that you're still writing. :)

  4. Oops, that should have said 'weather'. Still just as bad with typos here. :)

  5. Great to hear your update.

    What beautiful flowers.

    Sft x

  6. We've got flowers and strawberries on all our outdoor plants just now too - really weird.

  7. I am still writing and getting the rejections NYK. Perhaps I should just write blog posts or even self publish? Do we really need books now we can publish for free on the Internet? Do you have any publishing projects on the go? Have you had any snow yet?

    Sorry for all the questions.

  8. Lovely as ever to hear from you. No flowers on strawberries now but they still keep sending out the odd runner or two.


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