End of Summer season in the patch

I take my hat off to all our dedicated food growers, especially those who are committed to growing organically. It’s when we have seasons like this I can’t help but wonder how this nation ever got off the ground at all!

As the summer season comes to a close I’ve been trying to sort out the veggie garden to have it ready for some serious, more dedicated growing throughout the year.

I started by moving the 2 compost bins that were in the area where we have just moved a small outbuilding from. This area will become a courtyard and I don’t really want to look out the kitchen window to the bins. The bin made from wire and lined with weed mat contains last seasons leaf mulch and it’s not quite ready to use. I need to work out where this years leaf bin will go. This area does become a natural collection point for the english oak leaves so it can’t be too far away. I will have to move the little blood orange that you can see in the front. This was being espaliered on the wall of the building we moved, so it may end up against the fence.I have previously mentioned how when you clear the compost you discover insidious bits of plastic that you didn’t know you had. Here you can see the remains of a spinach box. I bought it in a box thinking it was plastic free, but as with so many packaged items the plastic is hidden. GRRRR!You can also see here that the paper vacuum cleaner bag still has a bit of decomposing to do. I will just put that into the relocated bin. I am cutting back needing to use bags in the vacuum as I now have a barrel unit that can be emptied directly into the compost (unless it has bits of glass etc in it). The big vac with bags will be used much less frequently.From these 2 compost bins I got enough compost to top dress the big 6 meter long wicking bed and the 3 smaller wicking beds as well as give the orange tree a really good top-dressing.As  always, our last chook Rene was on hand as oversee to the works!

Last men standing.

I removed all of the tomato plants that were passed it and their remains have been put on the bed that will be where corn will be grown next summer. I really should remake this box as it was put together as a temporary bed when we first moved in, but it still has another season in it I think.The remaining tomato plants in this big bed, have had exclusion bags put on the last fruit and I will be planting a green manure crop of mustard seed and assorted seeds that are well beyond their prime and that I am unlikely to plant here. I keep  saying I will rest this bed for a season, but space is just too precious. I guarantee I will still end up using half of the bed for something!I have had marginally more success with pumpkins this season, but they are still not what I would have a hurrah over. The plants that were not going to give any return have also been pulled and put on the pile with the spent tomato plants and I’ve let the ones still performing in, hoping that they will develop and mature some more.There are quite a few small ones still developing but I don’t think they will develop enough  before the cool weather hits. They are pretty though!Remember my experiment of trained versus free range tomatoes? This is a couple of pics of the issues I had with free ranging tomatoes. I don’t think I’ll try that again!

The big success this season is our grapevine, this is performing really well and these grapes are delicious! Although it is a slip grape, supposedly for winemaking, it tastes like passionfruit and we use them just for nibbling on. They do have a few pips but I don’t  mind that.

There are still a few jobs to do but I really enjoyed getting back out into the garden and claiming some thinking time as I worked.


This is a pic of my rye dough that decided it wanted to take over the world. I thought the overnight temperature was going to be quite a bit cooler than it turned out to be, so I gambled on leaving it out on the bench overnight. The lid was nearly at right angles before I removed it! Fortunately I saved it in time and managed to produce some lovely loaves of 50% rye and 50% organic Laucke T55 white flour. The tang in these is amazing!So now I have to decide on what my next ‘get back in control’ jobs will be in the garden. Well, everywhere I think!

21 Replies to “End of Summer season in the patch”

  1. Hi Maree. Busy as always. Do you ever stop? What are exclusion bags? I just dug up a huge laundry basket of potatoes thanks to you. I have never grown potatoes before so I don’t know if that is a good crop or not but it will do Maus and I for the whole of the winter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Glenda, exclusion bags are little mesh bags you put over the fruit or veg to stop birds munching at it. Bought several a few years ago and I love them. I use them for all sorts of things! Glad you have spud success. You’ve made me think I might make potato gnocchi with fresh tomato sauce for tea. 🙂


  2. Some thoughts on vegie gardening this year. Our pumpkin season ( we probably do have slightly different weather patterns) has just began.This always starts in late Feb and the pumpkins get a real move on in autumn, maturing sometime in late April or May. I have never had pumpkins in summer- they love the cooler weather to scramble, plump up further and harden.
    My tomatoes have been disappointing this year, but there are still plenty. I know you are restrained by your siting in a back yard. Tomatoes hate any shade. Many are now getting their second wind and will continue through to May so long as no frost turns up.
    Some free ranging tomatoes, meaning bush tomatoes, do much better in dodgy seasons such as this one. Our Rouge de Marmande tomatoes were the star crop this season. A few ground hugging tomatoes went to pests, but on the whole, they out performed the tall varieties.Our commercial organic producer, Ollie, who sells at St Andrews market, also only had success with the bushy Rouge de Marmande this year. The yellow pear shaped mini will hang on forever too.all our tall well staked Romas shrivelled up early.
    Your breads are amazing- must try more rye in the mix and get onto some fancy slashing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I find it really interesting to hear the variances in results over such a short geographical distance. I usually see a second wind but not this year so it was time to cut and run. I did plant quite late this year and ponder as to if that had any impact. I’m hoping the greenhouse ones continue for a bit longer, went to July last year!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have some self seeded ones that started in early February which are now fruiting.Bonus crop. Also, I always plant six varieties, knowing that some will be better than others each season, though my rouge de marmandes have now been my best croppers here for the last 35 years. I don’t go in for hot house things, though can see the benefits.

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  3. Your sourdough loaves look amazing…I am yet to make anything successful . More trial and error I think. My best pumpkin vines this year were the two that grew out from the bottom of the compost bins. 7 very large grey pumpkins… also a few butternuts from the seedlings I planted..several plants grew loads of leaves but unfortunately no pumpkins !


    1. Hi Suzie, it takes a while for Sourdough to come together but little by little you will gain more success. How did your S&S class go? Your pics don’t look too bad, are you baking in a container like a dutch oven or adding steam while baking? Pumpkins from the compost always seem to thrive. Cheers.


  4. You’re so lucky to have an oak tree. A friend gives me bags of oak leaves from her tree each year….they make beautiful compost. I think I will still try a couple of tomatoes au natural next season. One of my neighbours seems to have great success with letting his just sprawl on the ground. The rabbits don’t like tomatoes and I can easily throw a net over them if the blackbirds show any interest. Loved the pic of the sourdough! One of the reasons why I don’t get into sourdough baking.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It seems there are different results depending on where you are with the free range tomatoes. I run the mower over the oak leaves before adding to the bin as they would never break down otherwise.


  5. Fascinating to read (in UK) of your end-of-summer-season clearing up – it never fails to fascinate me that our seasons are in reverse! Something that social media makes so much more vivid than just reading it in a geography textbook. And my goodness, your garden looks so prolific – all those pumpkins and grapes! Just a little bit envious – here in the very northernmost part of England I can’t grow those things outside, but I do know that you have had (perhaps I should say endured) a scorching summer to get these crops. I wonder what you do for watering? Very interested to see your compost too (something else dear to my heart). We transfer the contents of one compost bin to another once a year in an attempt to shake it all up, and I always find interesting things – yes, bits of plastic, but also spoons, knives …. and I think there are some secateurs in there too! Think you’ve earned your autumn and winter – I hear many folk down under say autumn is their favourite season, and if that is the case with you, enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Kay, most of the veggie beds are wicking beds but even they have had trouble keeping up this year with so much hot wind and little rain. It is mandatory to find secateurs in the compost along with a couple of spoons and a potato peeler! It is a bit surreal thinking different parts of the world are in different seasons but really nice to know the cycle is continuing. Autumn, is usually stunning even though we have so many leaves to contend with. This year it’s the driest and hottest its been for ever so long. Thanks for visiting! Cheers, Maree.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hull there. Your garden is amazing. So lush at this time of year you must have to water like crazy. We are just pulling ourselves up out of the winter so it is an inspiration to see your work. Love the bread. Very vigorous! c (popped over from Celias)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I was looking at your garden pics and thinking I was sorely lacking in homemaking skills and then saw the dough and realized you’re still one of us. I loved this post!


    1. Hi Maureen, if only you knew of all the stuff ups that happen around here! Quite often people will say “they have done a Maree” when it’s a beauty! Cheers.


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