Self Sufficiency Update – October

What a superb weekend weather wise.  I’ve just spent two days outside, planting, hoeing, sowing and harvesting, and although I heard we’re not had as much rain as expected at this point in the calendar I’m not complaining and neither are any of my plants.

October’s Update

Raised Beds

A rather strange thing appears to have happened to my runner bean plants.  As I cut the plants down, and pulled the support canes up from the raised beds I noticed a few of the canes had raggedy holes near the middle and tops of the canes.  Upon closer inspection it appeared to show ants, lots of them, like a nest had been been created within the canes.  Not only that but some of the beans had been hollowed out to show many more ants too.  It looks rather bizarre.  I’ve never seen this kind of vandalism before.

The ants didn’t appear to be eating anything of the beans other than to make the holes to burrow in.  Usually ants tend to carry up and down the plants to suck up the aphid sap (don’t ask it’s disgusting behaviour) but I couldn’t see any signs of aphids and why use the canes as a travelling tunnel?

The best runner beans this year were grown in pot.  I had a couple of spare plants and decided to just put them in a pot with a couple of canes and see what they did and they did really well.  I harvested at least 60 beans off the plants.

It’s always worth having a go at growing in pots.

The savoy cabbage plants are holding their own and getting bigger, as are the swede plants too now the caterpillars have gone off for the winter.  Plus, I’ve even managed to harvest a pickle cucumber in one corner of the beds, something I thought might be too late to plant.

Grow House

The last of the bounty of green and red tomatoes were harvested and I said good by to those plants.  The chilli plants are still holding their own with the good weather but still taking far to long to get to the flowering/pod stage.  The grow house has been really useful this yr.  I’ve been able to grow far more under cover than in previous year.  Of course, there is never enough space and could do with double that.  However I’m learning more about seed varieties and how they cope growing in different conditions.  I think, due to the fact the house is unheated I need to be more mindful of what varieties I do grow. especially as the size of the chilli plants this year have been so big, space is at an optimum!

Patio

While the fruit may have gone from this area for the yr it’s in no way less colourful.  I’ve now added a Japanese acer tree to the pot that was growing the runner beans and have surrounded it by daffodils so that come early spring flowers will bring lots of colour.

Fence

The apple tree is now set up and espaliered as required, along the new wire supports.  It looks really healthy and has grown quite considerably since it was planted in February.

Other areas

I’ve pruned away last yrs cane growth (this yr fruit).  While some of the new canes are small, three plants have 4ft canes already for next years fruit which I am pleased about.  Rather than set up a standard wire and wood support system for them I’m going for just single supports until next year as I’ve still got to get the soil right for their perfect growing conditions to get the rest of the canes to grow strong.

Front Garden

Apart from the usual hoeing and tinkering, with some added watering sessions, this area is now going all quiet.  I’ve got to line the final bed and add compost.  Once this is done I intend to sow some spinach to keep the beds worked all season.  The swede plants in the other bed are doing well, they too appear to find growing much easier without the caterpillars munching away at them!

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