Autumn is certainly here (but I guess that it is allowed to be, at the end of September) with the nights drawing in fast & much cooler weather - in fact, a frost this morning at Bag End in Cumbria.
Nothing like that nonsense here, yet, but I was armed with a jumper when I went to the Hill yesterday. On the List was:
- dig the final eight maincrop potatoes & sow green manure in their stead
- get rid of the horrible collapsed pea frame - save some pea pods of each for next year
- clear another variety of dwarf french beans, saving pods
- pick courgette + anything else for tea
Well, that all look fairly achievable, & I got off to a great start by forking up the potatoes. The variety is Setanta - 'a floury allrounder with red skin & excellent blight resistance'.
It also yields - although this was not referred to in any of the info that I read about them - absolutely MASSIVE tubers. About 8 to each plant, all about football size. This does cut down on potato peeling, of course, as you only have to use a single potato when you are preparing a shepards pie for - say - ten people. I weighed them later when I'd put them in a sack to store - nearly 40lb of potatoes from just eight potatoes sown.
I cleared the early warwick dwarf french beans from where they were nicely dried out on the plants, then was having a half hearted go at trying to work out which peas were which from the tangle of dead plants on the collapsed frames in order to save a few pods for next year when I was happily distracted by John Badger (from the bottom) coming by.
We admired the luxuriant growth of the green manure in the front bed - photos of this bed taken mid Aug, and now, 4 wks later - and JB suggested that I don't leave it overwinter, but dig it in now whilst it is young & sappy & will rot down easily.
"It's nearly a foot high now, it'll be a devil of a job to dig in if it gets much bigger," he advised.
Well, that is where he was wrong - it was a devil of a job to dig in as it was. Much too tall to neatly turn in, & the rows I'd so carefully sown to make the digging in easier were grown over & virtually non existent. It was a hateful, heavy going job which I did badly - with sticking up bits and blades of grass scattered everywhere.
I ended up a slightly strange colour in the face, & was completely not happy with the job I'd done - if the rye grass is not turned over properly it was not rot, but regrow where it can. I scowled & muttered & stamped over to the manure skip to haul muck in tub after tub across to cover the bed over - right, rye, grow back through that if you dare.
Having learned a valuable lesson about green manure, I roughly raked the two old potato beds & sowed more rows of rye seed to leave in over winter - or until it makes a bid for world domination, whichever is sooner.