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Tuesday 15 October 2013

A Trip to the Greenhouse

The weather was better on Tuesday, no rain or wind and the temperature managed 14.4°C. In the afternoon we took our part time dog “Tivvy” for a little walk and it was good to get out and about after the horrible weather of the last few days.

When we got back home I thought it would be a good idea to clear the home greenhouse of its long dead tomato plants. It’s green recycling bin day early on Thursday morning so I thought they may as well help fill up the bin as there was plenty of space left. I hadn’t really had a careful look around the home greenhouse for a few weeks other than to pick some grapes and water the cyclamens growing in a tray by the door.  

They’re a pleasant surprise looking so healthy just now as everything else in the greenhouse has that look of getting ready for winter. The tomato plants were chopped down and the dead stalks moved into the compost bin. Going into the greenhouse I had to duck under some foliage from the grape vine which has been left to its own devices for a couple of weeks. As there was still space in the green bin our grape vine was trimmed back a little and before I knew it I had a decent pile of grape vine on the greenhouse floor.

All this went into the recycling bin too and at last the greenhouse was starting to look a little tidier. There is still plenty more to do though to finish the job.

Earlier in the year, at the end of May, we had rescued a small fig from a container down on the plot. If you follow our blogs you will know about plants that have recovered after appearing dead, it was one of those plants.

This is how it looked when we took pity on it just a couple of leaves making an effort to grow in very trying conditions. It was given a new home in our home greenhouse in its own pot of fresh compost. I’m pleased to say its looking very healthy growing alongside our cyclamen.

I suppose it will only be a short time now before it looses its leaves for winter. On the opposite side of the greenhouse and under cover of the grapevine I found this pot of crocus doing their best to do just the opposite and put on some new growth. They’re Sue’s special saffron crocuses.

This is how they looked once a few discarded grapes were removed along with a few dead leaves that had accumulated in the pot. I’ve given them a good watering and placed them by the greenhouse door close by the cyclamen and fig. This is becoming a little area of the greenhouse taken over by plants needing a little bit of care and attention as we move into autumn.

I really must make a point of checking these plants out on a regular basis right through the winter months. It would be a shame to loose them now.




Wednesday 16 October 2013

Tomatoes and Quinces

Wednesday morning started cold, the coldest morning of autumn so far with the temperature falling to 4.4°C and as it was a dull murky start to the day the temperature didn’t exactly shoot upwards. By lunchtime it started to rain and it continued most of the afternoon and into the early evening. It was fairly light rain, nothing too heavy.

As the temperature had fallen so low I decided to harvest our quinces Meeches Prolific which were ripening down on the plot. It was more for its looks - lovely when it flowers in spring - that was the main attraction for planting the tree. The fact it produced fruit was secondary when we decided to buy the tree. Now I know what we’ve been missing out on as quince and apple crumble has to be one of the season’s highlights as aromatic quinces and home grown apples are a great combination.

It was wet down the allotment but it didn’t take too long to pick our 3kg of quinces. They easily parted company from the tree when tested in a similar manner to apples.

I thought I might as well clear the tomatoes from our plot greenhouse as it meant at least I would be out of the rain. Most of the tomatoes had ripened with each of our 5 varieties having around 2kg of green tomatoes. The full weights of our tomato crop are in the table below.


Plot Greenhouse

11 Sept


Plot Greenhouse

16 Oct Final


Home Greenhouse

11 Sept


Home Greenhouse

16 Oct Final







Amish Gold





Brandy Boy Hybrids





Pink Wonder















I don’t know what to make of the results. We didn’t get a single tomato from 3 plants of Sioux in our home greenhouse as every fruit produced succumbed to blossom end rot yet the three plants in the plot greenhouse produced our heaviest crop. On average each plant in the plot greenhouse produced 2.7kg of tomatoes. I don’t know whether that’s good or bad but I’m satisfied with our final crop because as September started any crop at all was looking doubtful.

The box on the right contains all our green tomatoes so it’s now a matter of deciding where to keep them for a couple of weeks to see if they will ripen. I may have to do a little bit of reorganising in our freezers to accommodate the remainder.

Thursday 17 October 2013

Dog Walking Again

Thursday was the best day of the week so far, pleasantly mild with a few sunny spells but there were a few heavy showers around which we managed to avoid.

We decided on a visit to Temple Newsam, a Tudor-Jacobean house, for “Tivvy’s” walk. The old house and extensive grounds landscaped by Capability Brown are owned and maintained by Leeds City Council. It’s one of those local spots I’ve visited on and off for many years and it seems to maintain a never changing appearance and charm.

Outside the old walled kitchen garden the estate holds national collections of asters (Michaelmas daisies) and chrysanthemum (Charm and Cascade cultivars) as well as four other national collections. The asters at this time of year make a stunning border.

The estate also runs Home Farm which is one of the countries largest working rare breeds farms and is open to the public. Obviously the farm isn’t open to Tivvy so we’ll have to return another time to have a look at the farm animals.

Friday 18 October 2013

More Drabness

Friday was back to drabness with an overcast day but mild and almost rain free.

It wasn’t the sort of weather for gardening but it did give me a chance to finish editing some video from our visit to the National Trust property of Barrington Court on our recent visit to Somerset.

We did notice that in the walled kitchen garden lots of weed control fabric was used. Obviously they must follow our blog!

Saturday & Sunday 19/20 October 2013

Dodging the Showers

The weekend continued the dull showery weather of the past week. Between the showers it just about dried up tempting a bit of gardening before another shower arrived and put an end to any thoughts in that direction.

On Sunday we decided on a visit to the East Lancashire Railway Steam Gala. This was a bit of a risky choice weather wise heading west into the oncoming showers. That seemed to be the case as we sat out the first hour in the car after arriving in pouring rain. Fortunately for us the rain disappeared and we just had a few light showers in the afternoon.

This is Ramsbottom Station soon after the rain had stopped and we risked venturing out of the car for a look around. Of course the dull wet weather is bad news all round as the ducks on the river Irwell were enjoying themselves.

Monday 21 October 2013

Continuing Mild and Wet

Monday continued in the same pattern as the last week or so with a little bit of rain but mild. Sunshine was again at a premium with just a brief spell in the middle of the afternoon after rain off and on through the morning.

I took Tivvy out for a walk in the afternoon and timed it perfectly to coincide with a little bit of sunshine and it felt lovely and warm with the temperature almost reaching 17°C. It’s remained mild overnight too with no risk of frost with lows of around 10°C.

Although it’s rained almost every day for the last ten days our rainfall total for the month is surprisingly around the amount normally expected.

The rainfall chart is up to date to midnight Monday 21 October 2013 and as you may have guessed Tuesday has begun cloudy with a little more rain. The forecast is for more of the same with Thursday being the best day of the week with some sunshine and no rain. We’ll see.