Late summer

Even though many have had a wet summer crops in pots still need lots of watering, especially as the plants get bigger and more thirsty. A drip irrigation system in a greenhouse can be a big help, even allowing trips away from home if connected to an automatic timer. The irrigation tubes and drippers are just about visible in some of these pictures from the greenhouse. The egg-like white aubergines are ready to eat and are a good choice in cooler climates as there is no need to wait until they fully ripen.

The tomatoes are hitting the roof and touching at the ridge to form an arch. Top varieties this year are Ferline and Crimson Plum which have been productive indoors and out. They have the advantage of being blight resistant, so even stand a chance of cropping outdoors during warm wet spells when blight destroys most outdoor tomatoes.

The big Pink Fir Apple potatoes in an Air-Pot tower are showing signs of natural dieback, suggesting the first flush of tubers will be fully developed below ground, but as a lot of fresh new haulms have appeared harvest will be delayed in the hope that the total crop will bulk up further. Meanwhile an experimental late potato planting in July is pushing up healthy growth, I doubt these will continue until Christmas as frosts will nip the foliage before then, but given a bit of protection with fleece on cold nights this might produce some Halloween potatoes.

A Chinese Golden Lotus Banana (Musella lasciocarpa) has thrived since moving into a 20 litre Air-Pot. It has produced lots of tropical looking foliage and about 15 pups. Enough to divide next year and risk planting some out in the ground where they might grow big enough to flower – if they survive a winter or two. There is always a danger that borderline tender plants like this might be killed during a hard winter outdoors so it is nice to have a productive ‘mother’ plant somewhere warm to restock outdoor plantings if required.

Garlic / Chinese Chives are growing better in an Air-Pot container than on the plot so there are plenty of succulent leaves for stir-fries and salads, and there is a good showing of pretty white flowers which are the tastiest part of the plant.

Also providing good pickings are mixed salad leaves in an Air-Pot tray. Sometimes I am not sure what leaves I am eating but they add a bit of interest to a lettuce salad and can provide an almost continuous supply if a second tray is sown to take over when the older tray is finished. Many Oriental salad leaves actually grow better in the cooler part of the year and herbs such as coriander will last all winter.

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