Fronds to the fore
Autumn means leaves will be falling from the trees soon but in terms of vegetable growing it’s a time when the emerging crops bring lots of new leaves. It amazes me that seemingly delicate leaf crops like lettuce, spinach and pak choi thrive in these cooling temperatures. I have short rows of each of those and all are doing well, with little pest damage so far.
Less hardy is the lemongrass, which is currently in one of the mini greenhouses but doesn’t survive cold, so will have to come indoors in the near future. This has done remarkably well since I started off with seeds in the propagator back in March. There are probably forty or so stems, so at some point they may need separating out into several clumps and pots, to give them room to thicken up into proper hefty stalks.
In the next mini greenhouse are a few sweet pepper plants, two pots of basil and, on the left and winding its way round the inside, some Yard Long Red Noodle bean plants. They’ve been reluctant to flower so a couple of weeks ago I ripped the tops off them in the hope of forcing them into survival mode and setting flowers. Sure enough they’ve produced some flower buds at last.
If the temperatures can just hold up a little while longer they may make beans. I really hope to get a reasonable number, if for no other reason so that I can write a post titled ‘oodles of noodles’.
An equivalent rhyme for tomatoes would be useful as there are lots and lots of them finding their way into the kitchen just now. There’s definitely a demarcation line this year between cooking tomatoes and those best for eating raw. Tomatoberry are delicious, strawberry-shaped snacking tomatoes, perfect for eating au naturel. But the Principe Borghese and Tigerella seem better cooked, either roasted into an intense sauce, or oven-dried.
Tigerella on the left, ideal for cooking; Tomatoberry on the right, ideal for munching
The drying option won the day today. Sprinkled with salt, pepper, oregano and olive oil, in the oven they went. 120 degrees centigrade for four hours and they were done. The taste is sensational: piquant but sweet and very tomatoey – unsurprisingly. They don’t last forever so I’ll just have to eat them all in the next few days. The things you have to do sometimes … 😉