Harvest Time – Oh, that Pumpkin!

The leaves are falling, the clocks went back but my garden and I are still here…

IT’S HARVEST TIME!!

This Autumn, I was back in my little greenhouse picking my tomatoes…they’re gg-4-2 so much better off the vine than from the shop! The taste of them is hard to describe, if all you’ve had is the ones that are trying so hard not to age – as you may or may not be aware, natural produce is not always so natural.

Think about all the transportation links food goes through, just to get to your dinner plate, if you did not grow it yourself. It has to last long enough, right? Shelf life!

Anyway…

If you have tomatoes, it’s time to take them in.

Pumpkins too. I’ve grown a few of my own actually. My granddaughter did not beliegg-4-3ve me until she saw it for herself – I mean is it really the norm to grow them yourself here in the UK? It’s such a big fruit! (All fruits have seeds)

Many people, especially given the recent end of October, use Pumpkins for Halloween. Not only do I not celebrate that holiday but the thought of carving out my well-grown and precious pumpkin, just to put a face in it, grieves me.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking that tradition – to each their own.

Besides, I cannot be sure if people waste the Pumpkin they remove before sticking a candle inside – but I eat it…all. Pumpkin often forms a great base to those sat’day soups I told you about.

Finger lickin’…

Although that last reference was not about chicken. The soup is super tasty with pumpkin in it though – just ask one of my family members, they’ll confirm it! It also serves as a side element to a dish, as was the case last Saturday. We had curried chicken with rice, and pumpkin was there for those who wanted some.

So…if you are still growing a pumpkin at this time, take care of it, if it is not yet indoors. You can cover it with leaves or newspaper cuttings, to protect it from the ferogg-4-4cious frost.

To be honest, only plants and flowers that can handle harsh winters should still be out now. ‘Dead head’ (remove the dry leaves from) any plant that you leave out. I bought some pansies and planted them in the front lawn, to edge the drive to my house – I’m a bit of a decorator you could say – so that the bulbs can germinate during the Winter.

gg-4-5Likewise, I put in some Crocuses too! These come from the same family as daffodils and tulips, and should be ready for the early Spring. But all delicate plants should be in a cool shed for protection.

I’m yet to bring in my Angel Trumpet because that thing still seems to be flowering. Nevertheless, I’ll share the process for taking care of that:

  1. Carefully take it out of the pot
  2. Shake off the excess soil from the roots
  3. Trim the roots. Remember: trim, not cut – There’s a difference (Don’t forget the lesson about thyme…it applies here too)
  1. Have some fresh compost ready to replant it. Either I buy or use my own compost, which is made up of paper, grass cuttings, leaves (in my first post I mentioned removing these from the lawn during this time – believe me, I have a big tree in my back garden and the fall clutters), and other biodegradable items.
  1. Prune (cut) back the trumpet, where necessary.

 

As a final note here for this October-November climate transition, clean your garden tools! The weather could ruin your tools, if you don’t take care of them, especially that hosgg-4-6e.

Water + Cold temperatures = Bad combination

Remove what is left in it, to avoid freezing, and take it indoors – the shed, not the living room.

That’s basically what is happening in my garden right about now, all the preparation for potential snow – the ultimate level of frost.

I have some tips about dealing with insects and bugs too but I’ll share that in my next post, so make sure you check back here – Follow the blog and you won’t miss anything.

I appreciate you taking time to shiver in my garden, to pick up a trick or two.

Until I pop out of my shed next…Enjoy your harvest!

Grandad

Thyme cannot be resurrected

Thyme is one of those herbs I love to use in cooking; from Soups to Rice and Peas to Meat dishes. Hence why I grow it…in my garden. It is right there for ease and something I simply cut, as and when I need it.

rice-and-peasThat’s what today’s post is about…timing, with thyme.

A while ago I shared some with a young boy, who is the son of a dear friend of the family. I’m a sharing person and thought I’d impart some cooking knowledge to the next generation. Caribbean cuisine loves spices, and thyme is key.

thyme-gg-1Following my last post, the mother of the young boy, let my granddaughter know that he still has that same little branch I gave him – only now it has grown much bigger than it started. If cut right, the thyme won’t be wrong.

On occasion, I ‘split’ the thyme I have and put it in different containers, and that’s what I handed to him. It is important to cut it where the roots are still living, as otherwise that’s where it starts to dry…and die.

That’s what happened to the thyme my daughter bought.

I visited her earlier this week, for another matter, and she asked if she could do anything to bring more life to the thyme she had bought. I couldn’t hold back my laughthyme-ggter, as I looked at the poor thing…it’s time was surely up!

I told her honestly:

“You cannot resurrect that…It’s not Lazarus!”

(Bible reference)

So I’ll leave you with a couple of tips for growing thyme, over time:

  1. Make sure you plant it as soon as possible if there are roots visible and it’s out of the ground/soil in a tub
  2. Once planted, only cut it fresh, to use as needed
  3. Given that we are approaching colder climates; you might not want to cut it as frequently, as its growth slows in the Winter

 

We all know that time is precious…well so is thyme.

Until your next visit..

Thanks for taking another step in my garden.

 

Grandad

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I’m not a Gardener…

jamaica-mapEver since I was a young man, back home in Jamaica, I was always fascinated by nature and how things grew. I grew up in the country and liked to plant different things. Never did I ever have the intention of becoming a gardener and I still would not call myself one…although that’s where I like to spend most of my free time. But it’s my happy place.

Moving to England, I did not know what to expect. Yes, theGarden.jpg basic elements of nature are the same, in all regions of the world but here, the climate was so different, and so was the produce. The trees I used to pick various fruits from in St Catherine, Jamaica, were so ‘exotic’ in comparison to what is here.

I thank the sunshine.

It was my biggest learning curve, figuring out how English plants grow, change, die and repeat that cycle. Want to know what I did? Left them. Yes, that’s right.

Rather than play with them in my back garden, I would leave them but all the while, I am watching, studying how they behaved. What season do they flourish in? What characteristics do they have, that tell me how they react to sunlight and water? Do they flower? Also, how long do they last…when is their time up?

This took time. I mean, I am no expert now but I know more from experience. Nature has been my greatest teacher, with regards to how looking after something natural and showing it love, can be so fulfilling and rewarding.

I’m not a gardener but I do love my garden…

And I guess it shows because my family admire it and I have the odd spectator or two, when they walk past my home on a day-to-day basis. Everyone sees the flower beds, all neat and tidy (I’m a bit of a perfectionist), and not forgetting the giant egg-shaped plant in the front yard. That I’ll introduce to you at some point.

As a change of season is takiangel-trumpetsng place right now, I guess I can share some tips with you for this Autumn time, as we leave the Summer (at least what England could best offer us this year) and head towards the Winter.

These are in no real order, just what I and other fellow garden lovers may be doing this September.

 

Here are 7 tips that come to mind:

  1. Prepare your plant pots for those that cannot tolerate Winter. I have Angel Trumpets in mine that I need to take inside now. Bring indoors those that need to be in a frost-free environment
  2. Clear the lawn of dead leaves but leave a small area for insects to hibernate, such as ladybirds/ladybugs. These will be needed for the Spring and Summer months to eatbees-and-flowers aphids (plant lice). I have learned a lot about the ecosystem over the years, so I look forward to sharing more on this later on.
  3. Create a place for frogs and tadpoles. These will come in handy soon enough, as they can protect your plants from insects.
  4. Tidy up your flowerbeds from dead leaves too.
  5. You can plant wallflower, daffodils and tulips around this time, to give them time to germinate before the Spring.
  6. Pansies can be potted (or tubbed) if you are looking for a bit of colour.
  7. Take out your potatoes and pumpkins. On Saturdays, I make soup for my family, so pumpkin is definitely a yes-yes ingredient.

Wallflower.jpg

You really just learn as you go along. That’s basically what has happened to me and I’m still nature’s student.

Sharing is caring, so…Welcome to my Garden!

Grandad