Now that many of the summer crops are finished there are empty pots to fill. The big raised bed made with Air-Pot wall material grew some lovely squashes and is now planted up with over-wintering onions, I planted Senshyu, Elecric and Radar in concentric circles as soon as the bed had been cleared. These onions are most easily grown from sets, I started them in modules just to break their dormancy and make some early growth before the cold weather. The small plants were then moved into the cleared raised bed and should provide early onions next year.

The extra large pot sown with carrot seed in late summer is now providing regular pickings of baby carrots, these are really just thinning to give the remaining plants space to develop but are still very welcome. Pulled while small the skin is paper thin and eaten straight away they are unbelievably crunchy.

A pot of Mizuna Greens is now a mass of healthy leafyness which is tender enough to eat raw as salad or it can be wilted in a wok at the end of a stir fry. It has been happy outdoors but I am fairly sure this would have suffered from pest damage in the ground, slugs and flea beetle seem to massacre Oriental salads when sown directly in soil. Cold weather will nip these leaves eventually but by moving under glass they will stay appetising for much longer.

Another plant which is looking good as we near the end of the year is Fatsia japonica with its glossy evergreen hand-like leaves. Now that it is in flower it is easy to see similarities with its close relative ivy. Both flower in Autumn and the fatsia is quite a handsome pot plant through the winter when most of the garden is leafless.

Capsicum pubescens are a species of chilli from high altitudes of South America which tolerate cold better than types such as the Caribbean Scotch Bonnet. These Alberto”s Locoto plants from Bolivia still have lush dark green leaves and their large glossy egg shaped fruit are continuing to turn bright red.

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