In Mid Autumn there is a distinct chill in the air and the days are becoming much shorter .The growing season is almost at and end and vegetation dies back and trees and shrubs lose their leaves.
Despite occasional sunny days, ground frosts are much more likely and there have already been a few over the last couple of weeks. Strong winds and heavy rain are now also a distinct possiibility with rain in particular causing localised flooding and causing clay rich soils to becomewaterlogged.
It is wise to prepare for frosts by moving prized plants into the safety of the greenhouse or a cold frame.Slightly tender plants will need a protective covering of fleece or sililar material .A thick layer of mulch over dormant crowns of tender crops wil ensure that they come forth again next Spring.
Vegetables for growing now -
Sow outdoors - Winter lettuce and soinach in mild areas
Sow under glass - Early peas, spinach,winter lettuce, salad leaves
Plant outdoors- garlic, winter onions,spring cabbage
If you are fortunate you will still be harvesting your own leeks,beetroot,cabbages,brussel sprouts,carrots,celeriac, onions,parsnips,peppers and maincrop peas.
I was pleasantly surprised by the crop of tomatoes I have harvested over the last 2-3 weeks .Earlier in the summer I had thought that the plants would all be consigned to the compost heap after the dissapointing growth due to poor summer sunshine , however a late spurt of growth has given me a tasty crop of various varieties and I am pleased to report that they do have a far superior flavour to many of the supermarket tomatoes I have purchased this year.
My garapevine now in its second year in the greenhouse has produced several bunches of grapes however due to the poor summer the grapes although a nice black colour are very small and will probably not amount to much before the end of the season.I am looking forwards to next Summer and hoping for many more days of sunshine to give me a decent crop. In a similar vein my brown turkey fig has produced a lot more figs this year however they look as if they have a long way to go before they will be ripe and I am very doubtful that they will ripen fully before the end of the season.
It seems that my potato crop was affected by blight due to the very wet summer we have had and this means that I will not be able to grow potatoes on the allotment for several years.My plan is to grow potatoes in heavy duty plastic sacks containing compost which will prevent the potatoes from being contaminated with the fungus from the soil.
Finally, now is a good time to lift and divide old rhubarb crowns abd to plant new strawberry plants before the Spring.